In this season of giving in 2016, we have been taking some time to reflect on how we can help those around us, and we wanted to share one way that we philanthropically support women’s empowerment, which you can see first-hand on our Tanzania trip in May 2017.
Judi Wineland, AdventureWomen owner, also serves on the Board of Directors of Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FoTZC). FoTZC is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes community development projects in Tanzania, with a focus on education, healthcare, and women’s empowerment.
This year, FoTZC launched four community conservation groups (COCOBA), which are helping Maasai women in northern Tanzania start environmentally-friendly businesses including raising chickens, gray-water gardening, beekeeping, and beading. Local elders, many of whom are men, cited women’s empowerment projects as among the top three priorities for their communities. The Tanzanian women participating in the COCOBA groups are increasing their incomes and are now able to pay for school fees, uniforms, books, and additional food for their families. The women also contribute during their weekly meetings to education, social, health, and environmental funds to help support causes in their communities.
Witnessing the weekly meetings of these women is astounding. These women run a tight ship! The group has a large metal lock box for cash proceeds supervised by a designated “treasurer”. The box has three padlocks, with the keys held by three members of the group, so four women must be present to open the box. At each meeting, two women count the money, and, along with the secretary and treasurer, they accept purchases of new shares in the group. This is incredible to witness as many of these women are traditionally uneducated but due to their participation in these growing businesses are new learning math! During each COCOBA meeting, women who speak out of turn must pay a small fine to the group. These meetings are SILENT – and anyone who has ever spent time with Maasai women knows that this just doesn’t happen!
Judi will be taking our guests on our May 2017 AdventureWomen Tanzania trip to spend time with these remarkable women. These women welcome our help raising funds for these COCOBA groups. AdventureWomen is honored to be able to help support such an important economic development project for these Maasai women, and we look forward to showing you their progress in May!