A Salamia from USAWA’s Newest Members

Salutations from the newest members of USAWA!

Habari za kushinda? We are here in Dar, the city that never stops sweating, for our first ever USAWA committee meeting. Three of us have just joined USAWA from the Health/Agriculture 2015 Peace Corps class and we are thrilled to be there for our fellow volunteers to help promote gender empowerment projects throughout Tanzania! Let us introduce ourselves and show you the creative interpretations of what USAWA means to us (a part of our committee applications).

Chris Biles

That Moment (a poem)

It’s when you walk out at midnight
wide awake because you need to pee
only to stop with a new urgency
to stand tall, tilt your head back
and take in all of the stars.
Just as you’re about to give in
as your leg begins to twitch
with your original purpose,
just as you start to look away,
you see the start of something
that catches your breath
– in a new way.
Stop and stare again
because there above is a pin prick
shooting its solemn way
from one horizon to the other,
making a journey that lasts only
two seconds, but seems
to have the longest of lives
as it seeps into your consciousness
and makes you forget everything
besides the wonder and majesty
of the possibilities that lie
waiting for you in the stars.
But what really makes you smile,
what grounds you once again,
is when you realize your neighbor
stands outside too, looking up
with his mouth slightly open
just like you.

Chris is an Agriculture volunteer living in Njombe region. Her main project will be Maua Mazuri, a program that teaches life skills and promotes empowerment through art.

Emily Beggins


Emily is a Health volunteer who hails from the Dirty South region of Mtwara. She will be organizing international days, programs and activities such as International Women’s Day and Day of the Girl.

Frederick Livingston



Frederick is a small-holder farmer who was born 44 km outside of Njombe in a little, hilly village of wildflowers. He will be focusing on Mazingira Mazuri, a new program that modifies the Maua Mazuri curriculum to teach boys about life skills and the environment.

During our first meeting, we talked about what USAWA means to us as Peace Corps volunteers in Tanzania.The main mission of all USAWA projects and programs emphasizes the need for youth empowerment. What is empowerment? It involves providing choices, opening the doors for both boys and girls, helping them to realize that there are different paths they can choose in life, and, most importantly, that they have the ability to choose. This mission can be realized by focusing on Tanzania’s next generation, the youth, through education both at school and throughout the community, promoting gender issues in the everyday life of a volunteer and even in projects not necessarily focused on gender, and by addressing gender equality issues through the cultural lens of Tanzania.

We would love to help fellow volunteers incorporate gender empowerment into their work and we are here to discuss any projects, new ideas, challenges and successes that you have!


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