Rhobi Samwelly selected for Marianne Human Rights Defenders Award

Rhobi -Samwelly image Human Defenders Award

Hope for Girls and Women’s Founder and Director, Rhobi Samwelly, has been selected by France’s President Macron for a prestigious Marianne Human Rights Defenders Award.

Rhobi will travel to Paris, France, in February with the awards ceremony taking place in March 2022.

The Marianne initiative for Human Rights Defenders was launched in December 2021 and will provide collaborative support and resources to help those involved do more and do better.

As stated in the launch announcement in December; The initiative’s international pillar will support on the ground those committed in their countries to defending fundamental rights and civil liberties. 

We are very excited for Rhobi and Hope for Girls and Women to be involved with the initiative and look forward to bringing you further updates in due course.

In light of Rhobi being in Europe for 6 months from February, we are recruiting for a coordinator to join the team in Tanzania with immediate effect. The role and application requirements can be found below:

Job Opportunity for Coordinator Hope for Girls and Women, Tanzanian NGO

Our founder and director, Rhobi Samwelly, has been awarded a prestigious Human Rights Defender Award from French President Emmanuel Macron. This will necessitate her spending six months in France. Therefore, Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania is hiring a coordinator to assist her and be responsible for day-to-day management of the organization, ideally beginning in February 2022. 

Job role overview

Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania is a non-profit, human rights organisation fighting against female genital mutilation, early child marriage, and other gender-based violence. Our organisation organises outreach and capacity building work promoting women’s rights across Mara and beyond, coordinates a digital champions programme in Serengeti and Butiama districts and runs two safe houses in the Butiama and Mugumu, which shelter and support girls fleeing FGM, child marriage, and other forms of gender-based violence. 

Qualifications: 

  1. Bachelor’s degree in relevant field
  2. Extensive management experience, ideally in an NGO
  3. Fluent in English and Swahili- speaking and writing. Ability to speak Kuria an advantage
  4. Understanding of and commitment to Women’s Rights
  5. Excellent IT skills and ability to use programs such as Zoom, ODK, Word and Excel 

Roles and responsibilities:

  1. Responsible for day-to-day management of the organization, overseeing staff, and ensuring girls’ wellbeing, reporting to the Director
  2. Overseeing project implementation, financial and administrative oversight, reporting, and monitoring and evaluation of the projects.
  3. Helping develop the organization’s strategic plan, budget and fundraising strategy 
  4. Building staff capacity and leading on performance management
  5. Helping liaise with local and national officials, donors and project partners
  6. Ensuring the organisation complies with all relevant national and international legislation and good practice. 

Locations: The role will require the coordinator to work between;

1.         Mugumu, Serengeti, Mara

2.         Kiabakari, Butiama, Mara

Salary: Negotiable

Application deadline: January 28 2022 or until a suitable candidate is identified

Application process: Interested candidates should send their CV and letter outlining why they are a suitable candidate to: hopedirectortz@gmail.com 

Hope’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

16 Days of Activism runs each year from 25th November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and culminates on 10th December, Human Rights Day. This is an important 16 days during which people and organisations around the world participate through various means to raise awareness of and eliminate the issues of violence faced by women on a daily basis.

Between November 25th and December 30th 2021, Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania worked with the Serengeti District Office (District Community Development Officer, District Social Welfare) and Gender Desk Police Officers to create awareness through:

  • Meetings
  • Roadshows
  • Village outreach
Rhobi talking at community event during 16 Days of Activism

These sessions were organised to bring awareness to Mugumu-Serengeti villages such as Itununu, Rung’abure, Manyata, Gesarya, Kebanchabancha, Gwikongo, Merenga, Tamkeri, Mbilikiri and Bisarara which have been identified has having a high number of Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases recently. Our work during this period was focused on educating them on the impact of GBV and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and Alternative Rites of Passage to the community. There were a total of 9,723 men and 15,009 women were reached through the sessions.

A collaborative approach to ending GBV and FGM

Hope for Girls and Women managed to organise a forum in collaboration with Serengeti District Office (District Community Development Officer, District Social Welfare officers), Gender Desk Police, Serengeti District Commissioner and District Judge, which a total of 100 people attended.

The forum attendee list included retired cutters, retired elders of tradition, Digital Champions, church leaders, village executive officers, community members, and other partners. The purpose was to have a dialogue on the best approach to mitigate FGM and GBV  by law, in order for communities to abandon these tradition, which hinders the safety of girls and women and their rights.

The discussion was held as dialogue for both sides to share their insight about the situation of GBV and FGM in our community from the District level to the community level. The Dialogue was led by the District Commissioner.

The outcome of the FGM and GBV forum

We all agreed on working closely together to make sure education about the impact of GBV and FGM can be given to the community starting at a family level, church, schools, and even through the media, so that our community can understand the impact of GBV and FGM and the importance of sending their girls to schools.

Police and court officers, village executive officers, and community members were encouraged to work together to ensure all parties are working closely to rebuke GBV and FGM in our community and when such cases appear they have to be resolved without hesitation.

Encouraging girls to stand up and say no

On December 15th 2021, 150 members of Tanzania and Zanzibar Gender Police Desk accompanied by the Regional Police Commander visited Butiama Safe House and spoke to the girls to encourage them to stand up and fight for their equal rights. They shared insight on how we can work together on helping the fight against GBV and FGM in the Mara region.

Tanzania and Zanzibar Gender Desk Officers

If you would like to make a donation to help us continue with our important work in Tanzania, please find out more here.

If you are interested in sponsoring the education of girls in our care, please read more here.

If you wish to get in contact, you can find out contact details here.

By Rhobi Samwelly and Herry Kasunga

Hope for Girls and Women awarded a micro grant to help map Tanzania

Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania is among seven organisations that have be awarded an Open Map Development Tanzania (OMDTZ) Community Impact Microgrant of $5,000. OMDTZ selected recipient organisations with the intention;

The grants provided will support these communities to leverage the use of OSM and mapping to help solve different community challenges.

Mapping is playing a key role in our fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and the empowerment of Tanzanian women as remote villages are made more accessible to authorities.

Hope will use the grant to expand the existing Open Street Map (OSM) Community around Mugumu, Serengeti. By improving our maps of the district, we are able to provide better support and advice to girls and women in Mugumu.

The grant will help our work to recruit 25 new OSM community mappers around Mugumu who will be trained on different tools that support mapping, including:

  • Maps.me application
  • ID editor
  • JOSM

They will also receive training in how to use Open Data Kit Collector for Data Collection.

The goal is to map all of the health centres available in 30 villages, showing the services provided at each, and whether each centre’s facilities are adequate in relation to the community population they need to support.

The grant will additionally help us to buy equipment such as laptops, smartphones and routers.  We will also be able to rent a hall for workshops and training, provide transportation for data collection, and support other logistical requirements for a period of six months.

Mapping training using smartphones in Tanzania

At this point, we will present back our findings to the community and also create a map of each village, showing the health centre facilities that are available there.

75% of those recruited will be female, which helps to promote and encourage the inclusion of women in technology and OSM in Tanzania. We are seeing increasing numbers of women wishing to train and contribute to maps, and they are also getting a lot of enjoyment seeing the benefits of technology on their daily lives and that of the local community. You can read about our recent training of Digital Champions in Butiama District here, including how their work will help the fight against FGM in Tanzania.

We are excited to be welcoming to the workshop and training Mara Red Cross and SETCO Youth mappers who will be involved to learn more about how mapping can help solving community challenges.

We look forward to bringing you further updates on this Microgrant and the project in general.

If you are interested in donating to Hope and would like to know how contributions are used, you can find out more here.

New Digital Champions recruited and trained by Hope, with funding from UNFPA Tanzania

By Herry Kasunga

In June, Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania and Masanga Center recruited 59 Digital champions in Butiama District, Tanzania. Each village has one Digital Champion who will educate girls and women in their communities about the impact of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The Digital Champions were given smartphones, with access to apps to support their work to promote gender equality in their communities. The phone apps include:

  • ODK for reporting GBV cases happening in their villages, this data is then submitted to Hope and Gender Desk Police for investigation and rescue of girls at risk;
  • Maps.me for mapping features such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, schools, police stations, churches and safe places around their villages.

The event was attended by Butiama District Social Welfare, with Butiama Gender Desk Police contributing to training the Digital champions on GBV, whilst also sharing their own experiences.

The Training was conducted over two days in June 2021. Day one covered the purpose of Digital champions and expectation of their works, an introduction to and types of GBV, and FGM.

For many of the Digital Champions, it was their first time holding a smartphone, so we showed them how to:

  • switch the phone on/off
  • make a call
  • send texts/SMS
  • view and interact with apps

Day 2 included a recap of day one’s training in the morning, followed by training on the ODK tool, collating the required information and how to send this to Hope. We went through all of the questions available in the forms to ensure the Digital Champions were clear on appropriate and helpful responses.

We also demonstrated how to use WhatsApp for communication and support, in case there are any challenges.  A WhatsApp group was set up on the day, allowing all of the Digital Champions to get support from their peers.

Digital Champions taking notes in training

At the end of the training, all of the digital champions signed a contract confirming receipt of their smartphones and that they are ready to work as Digital champions and help fight GBV and FGM in their villages.

Special thanks to UNFPA Tanzania, through their funding, this training was made possible.

Read more about our Digital Champions programme here.

Facilitating the creation of female entrepreneur groups in Serengeti and Butiama

Rhobi teaching entrepreneurs

The Hope team recently organised a gathering for women and girls in Serengeti and Butiama, Tanzania, to learn important skills to help them generate income. The entrepreneurship training included the sharing of information on how to work economically, ensuring a profit can be made from their industry of choice.

We tasked the women with identifying a business initiative that they wanted to explore in more detail, and we helped them to plan out how best to make this venture a success. Support in numbers can be important for a new business, with different skill sets and strengths coming together to build an even stronger solution.

Hope facilitated the women forming mutual interest groups, and provided seed capital of TSH 500,000 (Approx €182 Euros / $216 USD) to help them to start their project.

Talal Rafi explains in his article, Why Women Entrepreneurs Are Critical To Economic Growth, for Forbes “…the immense potential of women when given a more level playing field, such as mentoring, capacity building and access to credit, as well as their inherent leadership skills critical to success in entrepreneurship.”

One of the purposes of helping these girls and women to form their new businesses, is the independence it provides.

The income will help them to support themselves and their families, and will play a role in reducing gender based violence from their husbands and other family members.

Women receiving entrepreneurship training

Running the businesses will give the women confidence and a sense of empowerment, allowing these new entrepreneurs to realise that they can fulfil their dreams.

As well as providing two safe houses for girls escaping from FGM, GBV, child marriage, and rape, Hope also organises a number of event and initiatives, such as this entrepreneurship training. You can read more about these projects in our monthly updates from Hope’s founder and director, Rhobi.