Posted on 18 March 2019

To mark the 2019 International Women’s Day celebrations WWF has supported Mtwara District Council to launch its Women Platform.
The goal of this platform is to discuss and resolve a wider variety of issues facing women, including access to economic opportunities, benefit sharing, properties rights and promotion of women as leaders and economic contributors in the community.
The non-political voluntary platform was launched on Wednesday,6th March 2019, at Msangamkuu Ward by Union of Women Of Tanzanian (UWT) Chairperson ,Mtwara Region Ms.Zuhura Farid . In Her remarks, she appreciated women in fishing community applauding them for playing major role in their family development. Once a fish monger herself, Ms Zuhura insisted on the importance of conserving the ocean ecosystem for better livelihood options.  Finalizing her remarks, she called upon women to work together and invest smartly in their business.
The idea of Women Platform can be traced back to 2016, the Vice President, Hon.Samia Suluh ordered all District to establish platform as a measure to empower women.
 According to Mtwara District Community Development Officer (DCDO) Ms Athumin Omary, the goal of this platform is to ensure appropriate, timely and sustainable response to women and girl’s socio-economic issues. And, the platform will work with all partners including national and international NGOs, UN agencies, government, human rights and community-based organizations.
“To address gender issues including gender equality we need collective efforts as well as holistic approaches. I am happy today WWF supported us to launch this platform, it’s a major step forward. This is a safe space for women where they can talk, came up with solutions on issues they face and implement them. For the district, this platform will allow us to build capacity of women and promotes ownership of solutions. Further, the platform will facilitate more women to access, use and benefit natural resources as well as the women development fund, which currently is channeled to women groups.
Emphasizing on the importance of women economic empowerment from natural resources, Ms Athumin said majority of women are responsible for conservation work in marine, thus it’s important to recognize and rewards their effort through equal benefit sharing and equal representation in decision making spectrums.
According to the DCDO Report: “To date WWF has establish 46 Village Community Banks (VICOBA) groups with 1340 women member out of 1370 members. Provided conservation and entrepreneur trainings to 180 women who are selling octopus. Moreover, 30 women received training in seaweed processing which include producing innovative products for the food and cosmetic industry.”
Speaking at the launching ceremony WWF Sida  Leading the Change Programme communication officer, Ms Diana Shuma said WWF  value women  contribution in conservation and expects the platform will present sufficient spaces for women to exercising their rights, controlling decisions and equitably receiving benefits from natural resources.
“WWF will continue the implementation of and support for human rights-based approaches and gender mainstreaming for sustainable management of natural resources (NRM), conservation of biodiversity, and a sustainable development path that has the potential to alleviate poverty,” she said. 

During the launch 42 women from 21 Wards of Mtwara DC, who participated elected their leaders and received trainings on Gender, Entrepreneurship, Women Leadership and Conservation of marine ecosystem.

International Women's Day activities in Mtwara were supported by funding form Sida Leading the Change Programme

Newley elected Women Platform leaders
© Diana Shuma