Congratulations Peace Corps Tanzania, International Women’s Week was a HUGE SUCCESS!
Hearing stories from men and women around the world celebrating International Women’s Day gives me chills. Some used it as an opportunity to celebrate what women have accomplished to date, with men as strong allies. Others used it as an opportunity to teach gender equality and women’s issues and to draw attention to the things we need to improve upon. Here in Tanzania, International Women’s Day is a known holiday, even in the smallest villages. In my closest town of Masasi, I was wished a Happy Women’s Day by three different people, all of them men. My smile could not have been bigger.
Within the Peace Corps Tanzania community, USAWA held a small competition to encourage Women’s Day celebrations and events. And celebrate you did! During this competition, over 1,900 Tanzanians were reached with gender-focused educational activities. I want to give a huge shout out to the Volunteers who held all-day events, to those who brought men and boys into the celebration, and to those who used the day as a teaching moment for gender equality. Whether you sang songs and did skits, talked about safe sex, encouraged women in the sciences, brought together women and men to talk about difficult gender issues, or simply wished a mama in your village a Happy International Women’s Day, you made USAWA proud!
We in Mtwara region held our second annual Ndanda Women’s Conference. We spent the weekend with secondary school girls from five villages all over the region, celebrating International Women’s Day in style! We traveled to Ndanda Hospital to tour the wards and speak to female doctors and nurses about their career paths. Then we attended a panel discussion at Ndanda Nursing School, where our students heard from young women just a little older than themselves on how they came to be a nursing student and the barriers that they faced. The rest of the weekend focused on confidence-building through the arts, hands-on science, sexual health education and life skills. We finished the weekend with a talent show, complete with a last-minute fashion show featuring Masaai women, shamba dresses, school uniforms, football players and women in amazing headwraps.
Celebrating women and men as allies keeps the conversation going. How far have we come? What can we still do? Are steps being taken backward? And remember, International Women’s Day is a celebration of what should be an everyday conversation. USAWA would like to thank all of you for your continued gender empowerment work, ASANTENI SANA.
LET GIRLS LEARN.
International Women’s Day Competition Results:
1st Place: Chris Valleau from Shinyanga region with 16 points!
Tied for 2nd place: Megan Keil of Njombe, Clara Hull of Njombe, and Rachel Calcagni of Mtwara with 8 points!
Total Participating PCVS: 5 males, 14 females
Total Number of Participants Reached: approximately 856 males, 1078 females
*Self-reported totals from Volunteers*