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Women Microenterprise Project

Tanzania history show that in Northern Tanzania Women represent 47% of those people worldwide who live in absolute poverty. In the rural areas of Northern, thousands of women live on less than $2.3 USD per day. With the increasing spread of HIV/AIDS, thousands of women are becoming widows and are now trying to support themselves and their children on this income, without the assistance of a husband and his associated income.

Women Development

women development
Women Microenterprise Project
Tanzania history show that in Northern Tanzania Women represent 47% of those people worldwide who live in absolute poverty. In the rural areas of Northern, thousands of women live on less than $2.3 USD per day. With the increasing spread of HIV/AIDS, thousands of women are becoming widows and are now trying to support themselves and their children on this income, without the assistance of a husband and his associated income.

It is very common in northern Tanzania for women to form communal groups to support member needs through group loaning, merry-go-rounds, and general mutual support. Since these groups are already formed, they are the ideal basis on which to start a micro-enterprise business. The groups are well-organized with executive committees, written rules, and monthly meetings. They are made up of hard working women with vision and determination, but they lack one very important tool' capital and business education.

How Does Cultural Life Tanzania help women in Karatu.
Cultural Life Tanzania is assisting the women of rural Tanzania by providing the necessary seed capital and advice to start small business enterprises. Our Program aims to assist in the reduction of poverty through the establishment of income-generating activities for women. Since 2009, we have been funding and advising microenterprise projects, with each group consisting of 20 to over 100 women.

We believe that assisting micro-enterprise programs for local women will go far in fighting the increasing feminization of poverty. Through micro-enterprise development, we are helping women gain economic independence, allowing them to fill a more active and assertive role in the society of Northern Tanzania.

Through funds raised by overseas volunteers and individual donors, Cultural Life Tanzania provides start-up materials, equipment, capital, training, and consulting services to women's groups in order to establish small income-generating group businesses. Most of the enterprises that have supported are:

 Fine art such as hand craft,wood curving, Sewing and tailoring shops that sell school uniforms, dresses, table clothes, etc;
 Vegetable and gardening projects that grow and sell different varieties of vegetable fresh and processed such as lettuce ,spinach,tomatoes, squash, and other cereal crops crops;


Our seed capital is not used for consumable assets but rather is used to purchase productivity enhancing technology and resources. Each business is set up through an initial grant of $300 to $400 that is used to purchase start-up equipment, materials, tools, and training. The program provides a long-lasting impact on the women and the community due to the newly acquired tools, machinery, and knowledge which enable the women to increase their efficiency, productivity, and output. Stepping to more profitable type of assistance

Micro enterprise opportunities
Over the last two years the reach of our program has grown so dramatically that our financial resources are now only able to help a very small percentage of the groups who have joined our network. Thus, in order to reach and provide a beneficial impact to a broader spectrum of groups, we have begun to focus less on simply giving grants to the "self-help" groups, but more so on assessing the progress of the groups we have financially assisted in the past, as well as provide advice and consulting services to newly forming groups.

There are now over 80 micro-enterprise groups in our network and we have learned a lot from the successes and failures of one of these groups. The volunteers and our field coordinators in the WMD use these "lessons learned" and "best practices" to help other groups further develop and improve their income-generating activities. We also act as a bridge between this network of micro enterprise groups by facilitating the sharing of resources and knowledge between them.

We now see the future of our program to be more focused on helping the groups become self-reliant from the start through the point of profitability. Through this expansive network of micro-enterprise groups, we are able to link up newly forming groups with nearby, successfully established groups who have created innovative and cheap solutions to the problems faced in their particular kind of business project. By facilitating this knowledge and resource sharing between the groups, we are able to help more groups design, develop, and implement an income-generating activity without the need of outside financial assistance.

All of the micro-enterprise groups are independent of Cultural Life Tanzania We take no role in the day-to-day operations of the projects, nor do we exercise any type of managerial control over the group's activities. They are completely independent groups, with the ability to use their income for whatever purposes they deem worthwhile.

The groups do not pay Cultural Life Tanzania any type of fee for joining the network (aside from the occasional pineapple, papaya, and egg gift baskets given to volunteers who visit their projects), and, likewise, we derive no other financial benefit from helping the groups.

What do the women Benefits from the Program
The Tanzania women we assist are all from very rural villages and farms and usually have no or very little source of income. Many of them have been widowed by AIDS or are themselves HIV positive. Having previously experienced tremendous struggles in gaining access to capital, these women are incredibly grateful to the overseas volunteers who come to meet with them and help start a group business.

Profits received from the businesses are generally used for one of following purposes:
- Reinvested in their business
- Used to pay school fees for the members children
- Pooled into a group bank account that members can take small monthly loans from ($5-$20)
- Used for agriculture products such as seed and fertilizer to help produce higher yields
- Used to support the groups HIV/AIDS community assistance programs

The benefit of the Micro-enterprise Development Program is not only the new access to capital that the income-generating activities provide to the group, but also the sense of hope and empowerment that the women gain from organizing and running their own business.

Volunteering
our network of micro-enterprise groups is always very eager to have volunteers come work with them in Tanzania Volunteers in the WMD spend almost all of their time out in the field meeting with micro-enterprise groups on a daily basis. They work on updating our progress assessment reports for each group, discussing their current project problems and needs, and taking a hands-on approach to learning and improving how each type of micro-enterprise is run. Volunteers can focus their time working in detail with just one or two groups or they can spend their time rotating around to many groups.

If volunteers are able to raise extra money before their trip, they can help start a new micro-enterprise project or help grow one of the existing projects that they have been meeting with during their time in Tanzania, The volunteer will be involved in buying the material, equipment, and tools in Tanzania and will then personally handle the donation of this equipment to the women's group, which is usually a very festive celebration ceremony organized by the women.

The atmosphere of excitement, joy, and gratitude is incredibly moving during the start-up celebration. The women are so grateful for the donations, which now enable them to take charge of their future and help provide for their families.
These groups are very eager to learn from volunteers - and they will listen and follow

Contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to volunteer with women development project
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