Gender equality and the inclusion of vulnerable populations in the electoral process have been essential to Tanzania’s development in the recent past. UN Women supports Tanzania as a Member State of the United Nations in the implementation of international standards as well as providing technical and financial support at the request of Tanzanian partners.
‘Wanawake Wanaweza’ is being implemented by UN Women through strategic partnerships with a wide range of organizations and institutions, the office of the registrar of political parties, government, parliament, NGOs, and civil society.
Through the Wanawake Wanaweza project, UN Women has engaged, as is its mandate, to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. UN Women is the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and it partners with government, development partners, civil society and academic institutions.
The UN Women Tanzania country program is part of United Nations Delivery as One UNDAP. More specifically, the project has supported the Legal frameworks such as the Constitution, advancing electoral and political participation laws to promote women’s rights and gender equality in political participation.
The project also supports participation of women, youth and people with disabilities in political party structures and electoral processes, and building capacity among female members of parliament, Parliamentary Committees and the House of Representatives.
The aim was to promote discussions on gender equality, women’s rights, and gender-responsive budgeting. The Wanawake Wanaweza project complements the UNDPled Election Cycle Support Project: “The Democratic Empowerment Project”, which is implemented by UNDP, UN Women and UNESCO in partnership with the electoral management bodies, the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) and other partners.
In addition, a specific window for informing and advising women on job availability and other opportunities has been established within the National Gender Machinery. But the main challenge remains that of transforming the mindsets, especially those of “private sector employers who do not often abide by all the standards that promote equality at places of work”.
Empowerment of women through small and medium enterprises is effected through increasing their access to financial services such as credit, training in entrepreneurship, training in business management, and access to markets. Moreover, efforts are being engaged by the government to enable women gain standard certification of their products and increased access to both local and foreign markets.
As part of efforts to sustain and expand access financial services to women, plans are underway to establish a women’s bank. Women Entrepreneurship Development (WED), remains an example of a semi autonomous micro credit organization operating within the Small Industry Development Organization, a unit of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing.
Finland provided €1.5m while the United States allocated US$10 to the project. UN Women signed tripartite partnership agreement with the Embassy of Finland and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to support women’s leadership and political participation projects in Tanzania.
Since then, ‘Wanawake Wanaweza’ project has supported women through the development of legal frameworks and capacity building of key players especially during the general election last year. Its purpose is to empower women politically, socially and economically with the aim of creating an informed women population that is in a position to prevent and deal with conflict.