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Equality in Tourism Director, Tricia has just returned from a long-awaited trip to Tanzania. After several pandemic-related postponements, she was delighted to be back and reconnecting with the incredible team that have kept our Empowering Women Farmers through Tourism work alive throughout the pandemic. So what do things look like for the women involved in Wamboma Cooperative at the moment? It’s a vibrant and hopeful picture.

Ready to get back to business

“With tourism now getting back into full swing and people arriving by the minibus load to climb the mountain, we’re getting excited at the prospect of being able to resume business. Thankfully, hotel partners are keen to resume supplies from the Co-op and we can be creative about how we further increase Wamboma’s business opportunities.

A happy customer in the Wamboma shop
Cleaning the weekly harvest of tomatoes on the Namwai communal farm

Future plans

We’re now exploring the idea of developing visitor excursions to the two Wamboma villages we’ve been working in. Namwai is up high on the west side of the mountain, and Mailista at the base of Kilimanjaro. Having spoken to a couple of tour operators who see the potential and are keen to develop it with us, we think this might work. Activities could include visiting the demonstration farm and greenhouse, going with a farmer to her home and shamba, having a meal (mtori, rice and beans, cooked bananas, a small portion of ugali), hearing stories about the women’s lives as farmers and about the local Chagga culture, why our partners KWIECO are there and about how the project started and what improvement it has made to their lives.

Tricia with a focus group

Welcoming Kimushuku Village to the project

We’re also expanding the project: we’re now into a new second phase. Mary, who is the ward executive agricultural officer, approached Betty, our co-op manager, to ask if the women in the village of Kimushuku could join the project. We’ve now got two women’s groups there. What they wanted as a starter was for Betty to teach them their marital rights. Although she’s the co-op manager, she’s also a lawyer focused on women’s empowerment.

Betty training the members on their marital rights: women suffering from gender based violence, receive counselling support and help from Kwieco our partner organisation 
Lily, the project’s enterprise development officer, carrying out the baseline survey , Kindness, a new co-op member

It’s a privilege for me to be involved with this work. I love the challenge and my colleagues’ passion and commitment. Stuart, the project manager, is working without a salary at this time and all the team took a voluntary cut during the pandemic.  I didn’t ask them to.  I love the energy and goodwill and commitment from the women. Their laughter, frankness and lack of complaint.

Asante Sana,

Tricia”

To find out more about our project in Tanzania, click here.

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