UN Women Executive Director visits Tanzania, calls for investment in women and girls
UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous conducted a four-day mission in Tanzania, where she met with government officials, civil society groups, and partners, to strengthen partnerships, ignite public discourse towards Generation Equality and galvanize action for gender equality and women’s empowerment in the country.
One year ago, on 6 October 2021, Sima Bahous took the oath of office to become the Executive Director of UN Women. Among her top priorities is to continue building the momentum of Generation Equality, especially at a time when the world’s women and girls are facing the persisting impacts of COVID-19, a raging climate crisis and a global rollback of women’s rights.
The meetings undertaken during the mission underscored Tanzania’s progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment, while also providing an opportunity to share recommendations to further strengthen Tanzania’s efforts in safeguarding women’s rights.
In 2021, Tanzania committed, under the Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition of Generation Equality, to create more jobs for women in the care economy, to expand decent work, to broaden women’s access and control over productive resources and to develop gender-responsive economic plans. Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan has launched a National Advisory Committee on implementation of the country’s Generation Equality commitments.
In a meeting with President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Ms. Bahous commended her for establishing a new Ministry of Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups and congratulated Tanzania for its recent appointment to the Generation Equality Multi-Stakeholder Leadership Group. For her part, President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced Tanzania’s intention to cohost the next Generation Equality Forum, which will be a midpoint meeting next year.
Ms. Bahous continued to build momentum for Generation Equality at a reception hosted by H.E. Nabil Hajlaoui, French Ambassador to Tanzania. At an informal event that brought together stakeholders working on implementation of Generation Equality commitments in the country, Ms. Bahous’ announcement of Tanzania co-hosting the Generation Equality Forum was warmly welcomed.
On the occasion of International Day of the Girl , 11 October, the Executive Director interacted with adolescent girls and young leaders, attending events including the Girl Agenda Forum and the High-Level Meeting “Championing the Priorities of Women and Girls in the HIV Response”. At the high-level meeting,she launched an intergenerational collective of African women leaders to ensure that the voices of women of all ages inform decision-making around the HIV response.
“I am proud to launch today a collective of women leaders—both established and emerging – working hand-in-hand, rallying for better lives for young women and adolescent girls,” said Ms. Bahous.
The high-level meeting in Tanzania is part of a UN Women programme supported by PEPFAR, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, to offer leadership, training and mentorship opportunities to empower young women and increase their access to decision-making spaces in the HIV response. Over the last year, close to 200 women aged 18-24 from 15 countries received training.
His Excellency Kassim Majaliwa Majaliwa, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, delivered the keynote address at the conference and expressed the Government’s commitment to invest in girls’ education and health.
While in Dar es Salaam, Ms. Bahous visited the Sitakishari Police Gender and Children’s desk run by Tanzania Police. The Desks provide holistic and expert support to women and children survivors of violence—helping to render access to justice safer, more inclusive and more effective. UN Women Tanzania has partnered with Tanzania police to strengthen the availability of quality services for survivors of violence. Currently, there are 417 Gender and Children’s desks across Tanzania.
At a meeting with African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) Tanzania members, Ms. Bahous discussed issues faced by women in the country. AWLN is a groundbreaking movement of African women leaders, and AWLN Tanzania has 256 members from 205 organizations.
Ms. Bahous also traveled to Zanzibar to engage with women parliamentarians, launch a joint programme on rural women’s economic empowerment and visit women farmers supported by UN Women Tanzania.
At the meeting with women parliamentarians and equality champions in the Zanzibar House of Representatives (ZHoR), Ms. Bahous commended the House for their achievements in advancing women’s leadership and their role in addressing gender equality and women’s empowerment issues. She also reiterated UN Women’s support to continued efforts towards parity through partnership with UWAWAZA, the Association of Women Members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives. In partnership with UN Women Tanzania, UWAWAZA is currently implementing a project to strengthen the capacity of its members to implement gender mainstreaming, focusing on promotion of women’s rights in ZHoR processes, legislation and budgets.
Ahead of International Rural Women’s Day, the Executive Director, along with Suleiman Masoud Makame, Minister of Blue Economy and Fisheries of Zanzibar, and partners launched a joint programme on rural women’s economic empowerment. The project is a joint initiative of UN Women Tanzania, FAO, WFP and IFAD, which is worth US$ 5 million through funding from Norway and Sweden. The project seeks to empower rural women by securing their livelihoods and rights and enhancing their resilience in the agriculture sector and will benefit more than 8,000 Tanzanians.
Reviewing the implementation of UN Women’s work on empowering rural women in the country, Ms. Bahous visited women farmers who benefited from UN Women’s Climate-Smart Agriculture programme supported by The Korea International Cooperation Agency. Altogether, 232 women sunflower farmers and 300 horticultural women farmers have benefited from the programme and have received 5050 land certificates of customary rights promoting women’s land ownership.
As a conclusion of the mission, Ms. Bahous visited the office of the Tanzania Media Women’s Association and had a chance to interact with beneficiaries of the Wanawaka Wanaweza project (Women’s Leadership and Political Participation). She confirmed UN Women’s commitment and strong support as the country continues to advance women’s leadership and participation in decision-making.