“TGNP Gender Festival crucial in East Africa for gender equality”

The South Africa Development Community (SADC) Envoy Emma Kaliya at the 14th TGNP Mtandao Gender Festival in Tanzania has challenged women across the region to jointly act on tangible measures for fighting against gender oppression, violence and other challenges that still holds back the struggle for gender equality instead of speaking only.
Ms Kaliya stated that “there is a bright highlight where progress has been made, but no country has achieved gender equality”. She labeled the Gender Festival of WfWP member TGNP as “one of the most crucial points of reference in the East Africa region on consolidating the status for gender equality since 1996”.

The Tanzania Gender and Network Programme Gender Festival was held from 5-8 September at the Dar es Salaam office grounds of TGNP. This 14th edition focused on assessing the achievements reached so far as well as the existing challenges frustrating the road to gender equality.

​Sub Themes included: Beyond numbers: Claiming and transforming leadership spaces for women and marginalized people; Social exclusion: Women and economic empowerment; Ending the Silence: Documenting ‘Her’ Story in capturing our achievements (Women success stories), and; Economic marginalization: How do we finance gender equality? ​

Executive Director of fellow WfWP member Women Fund Tanzania (WFT) Mary Rusimbi also attended the festival and called for strategic plans to lift up women groups in the country.
She said that women entrepreneurs in Tanzania are still facing lack of loans and reliable market information, which is holding them back from progressing to external markets. Rusimbi added that the government should give priority to small and medium entrepreneurs to boost activities that support local markets.

Women farmers at the festival addressed the existing oppressive customary laws that deny them the right to posses land and other resources. They told the laws undermine them to have access to the agriculture and mining sector despite the fact that they are able to work in the sector.  “The struggle for gender equality in society cannot be attained if there are no policies and regulations advocating women rights to own and poses land and other resources”, stated one of the farmers, Sophia Mtweve from Morogoro.

Emma Kaliya Chairperson for SADC Gender Protocol Alliance and FEMNET speaking during the Gender Festival 2017

 

The 1996 Gender Festival was the first of its kind to be organized by TGNP, with over 400 people from nearly every region of Tanzania and different countries. The gender festival has been a  four-day event from the start. The general theme: Gender, Democracy and Development, as adopted for the 1996 Festival remains since as the overall theme for all subsequent festivals.

The festival is an open forum for likeminded individuals and organisations to come together to share experiences and knowledge, to celebrate achievements and assess challenges ahead, to strengthen networking and coalition-building, to build capacity and to contribute to public debate and plan collectively for social change from a feminist perspective.

​The Festival provides a unique space for activists from all walks of life to come together from every region of Tanzania, including Pemba and Zanzibar, as well as from neighbouring countries of Africa and beyond.