Programs in Tanzania
WODF implements the following programs in Tanzania:
1. Enhancing the capabilities of young and middle-aged widows (economic and social empowerment)
Under this program, WODF supports widows and destitute women in Africa, mainly in Tanzania by building economic sustainability and resilience amongst them so that they can support themselves and their children in a sustainable way. It does so by:
• Providing entrepreneurship training for them to acquire skills that will help them undertake small income-generating projects/activities.
• Helping them to obtain land for farming since the majority of them inherited small pieces of land or never inherited one after the death of their husbands.
• Providing a forum for information sharing on available opportunities and resources for women empowerment, awareness on their human rights, and health information.
Required support for an income generating project
€300 can enable a widow in rural area or small town centre to establish a small income generating project and be able to provide the basic needs for her family in a sustainable way.
2. Human rights awareness and advocating against harmful traditional practices
WODF sensitizes widows and rural communities on the human rights of widows so as to prevent violation of such rights and take action whenever they are violated.
It advocates against traditional cultural practices that perpetuate injustice against widows such as widow cleansing which violates the dignity of a widow, disinheritance issues, property grabbing, and related issues.
The organization will establish information centres in selected villages which will serve as resource centres and platforms for rural widows to receive and share information concerning human rights, sexual and reproductive health, as well as available opportunities for their empowerment.
3. Support for widows with special needs
The physical and health conditions of some widows such as widows with disabilities limit their ability to engage in income-generating activities.
WODF provides direct support such as food and other life necessities, enabling them to pursue income generating activities and also helping them to obtain mobility equipment such as wheelchairs.
Emilia Elias, a widow with disability from Bariadi district has this to say:
“I became a widow in 2014. Later on I was involved in a road accident whereby I was knocked by a speeding motorcycle and became severely injured. Due to my disadvantaged economic situation, I could not afford specialised medical treatment therefore the lower part of my body paralysed and left me physically disabled. I can no longer walk by my feet, instead, I crawl using my hands.
Despite my situation, I live with my orphaned grandchildren. My son who lived in the city died and his children were brought to me to take care of them. I am living in a very difficult economic situation because with my disability, I cannot work in the field like before where I used to cultivate food crops.
Now I depend on my small business of vending sardines from which I earn a profit of TZS 5,000 (about € 2) in three days after selling one bucket of sardines. This income is too little and insufficient to meet the basic needs of myself and my grandchildren. I will appreciate any financial support that will enable me expand the capital base of my business so that I can have more income to support myself and my grandchildren.
Also because of my mobility problem, I kindly ask WODF to help me with the wheelchair to easy my movement so that it can help me do more in terms of economic activities and support better my grandchildren.
However, I appreciate so much the support rendered by WODF because one of my grandchildren can now attend school regularly unlike before."
Destitute women with special needs
Destitute women who are heads of household also need to be empowered and supported in multiple ways that include enhancing their capacity through skills training as a sustainable way towards building their economic resilience and where possible helping with the basic needs as the case may be.
Apart from economic empowerment, this destitute woman from Bumbuta village in Kondoa district living as a single mother is in need of a wheelchair to facilitate her mobility in carrying out her livelihood activities.
Required support for widows with special needs (handicapped)
Apart from the resources required to enable them start income generating projects, handicapped widows needs additional support in the form of mobility equipment such as tri-cycles or wheelchairs that fit the rural terrain of unpaved roads. Such equipment will help ease their movements and enable them pursue livelihood activities without much difficulties.
A manual tricycle or wheelchair can cost up to €250.
A tricycle powered by a fuel-run engine costs €700, and one litre of fuel can go 40km.
4. Direct support to the orphan families
Some of the widowed mothers and grandmothers who take care of the orphaned children including children with disabilities need direct support for basic needs such as food and clothing for their children.
Pictured on the right is a widow with her twin grandchildren. She is unable to meet the basic needs for her family including these children's education.
Required support to supplement food costs
A monthly stipend to supplement food cost can help relieve the care takers of orphans from the burden of food budget.
€30 per month can provide basic food supply for a rural family of a widowed mother / grandmother of a maximum of four children.
5. Orphans with special needs
Widows taking care of vulnerable orphaned grandchildren
There are many widows who are caregivers of orphaned and vulnerable grandchildren (orphans with special needs). This widow (pictured) is a guardian of her grandchildren whose father died and their mother is unable to take care of them.
Widows in such a situation need support in various forms which include equipping them with skills that will help them undertake income-generating activities, and providing direct support such as food, clothes and health care (health insurance) for them and their grandchildren.
For this particular widow who is taking care of a grandchild with albinism, special health care support is needed such as sunscreen jelly/lotion, sunglasses and other gears which help to prevent skin cancer for people with albinism. Skin cancer affects many albinos in tropical countries as a result of extreme sunburn.
Taking care of a disabled double orphan
This woman represents many others who are caretakers of double orphans. For this woman, her grandchild has lost both parents.
More challenging is that this orphan is physically and mentally handicapped. She has therefore become a full-time caregiver of her grandchild thus limiting her time to undertake a full-time income-generating activity since she spends most of the time looking after this orphaned disabled child.
Such a caregiver needs support in many ways, skills building support for herself as well as direct support for her orphaned grandchild such as food, clothes and medical care.
The child is also in need of a wheelchair to facilitate his movement.
5. Education support for orphans and destitute children
"A common consequence of widowhood in traditional societies is the withdrawal of children from school. Girls are likely to be the first affected; they are needed to care for younger siblings while the widowed mother begs or works, or they must find work themselves. Girls who leave school too soon are more likely to become child brides and child mothers, potentially causing damage to their reproductive health and limiting their chances for economic autonomy." (United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, 2001).
Widows who live in poverty and destitute families withdraw their children from school for two main reasons. First, because they cannot afford to provide the educational needs for their children such as uniforms, books, school fees, and other related needs. Secondly, because they need their children to help them (mothers) earn an income to support the family.
In order to help widows and destitute families headed by women reduce the burden of taking care of the schooling costs of their children, WODF provides material support to orphans and destitute children as a way of retaining them in school.
In addition to educational material, girls are provided also with sanitary materials that will help them when they are in their monthly cycle which affects the school attendance for the majority of girls in rural areas.
Missing classes because of lack of protective gears during their monthly period might affect their performance in school in the long run. With this kind of support, the money that their mothers will serve from the schooling costs of their children will be used for other family necessities thus relieving the mothers from the burden of costs to some extent.
Required support for orphans' education
€45 covers the cost of a complete set of school uniforms per orphan per year (two shirts, two skirts or two pairs of shorts, two pairs of shoes, two pairs of sox, one school bag, and school supplies namely note books / exercise books, pens, pencils, and mathematical set) .
€27 can cover the cost of sanitary pads and under pants per girl per year and ensure an orphaned girl does not miss school when she is in her monthly period.
€25 is enough to cover health insurance for an orphan per year.