UNFPA and UN Women partner with Korea to advance gender equality
- Ikungi, Singida. Today, UN Women and UNFPA have launched a US$ 5 million Joint Programme “Realizing Gender Equality through Empowering Women and Adolescent Girls” with funding from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
With KOICA’s support the Joint Programme will reach over 48,000 of some of the furthest behind households, targeting women and girls in Tanzania’s Ikungi District, Singida Region and Msalala District, Shinyanga Region, over its three-year lifespan.
Through the tripartite agreement KOICA, UNFPA and UN Women will combine their strengths to improve the social and economic resilience of women and adolescent girls in the two project districts by addressing the crucially intertwined socioeconomic challenges that women and adolescent girls face in rural Tanzania which act as barriers to women’s economic and social empowerment and place them at risk to gender-based violence (GBV) and harmful practices.
UNFPA’s efforts will focus on empowering girls and women and upholding their rights to live a life free of violence including GBV and harmful practices through Adolescent Girls’ Clubs, Community Knowledge Centres, Women’s Protection Committees and vocational training which is already underway at some project sites. Strengthening GBV prevention and response systems including through District and Regional Councils, the construction of one District Police Gender and Children’s Desks and One Stop Centres and increasing the capacity of the National Child Helpline is also a priority to ensure that protection services meet the specific needs of women and girl survivors and also provide them with the support they need to rebuild their lives while holding perpetrators to account.
At the same time, UN Women through various interventions will focus on empowering women smallholder farmers, including young women, to enhance agricultural production.
UN Women’s support package will advance collective marketing to establish a strong link between farmers and buyers; facilitate the construction of one warehouse to improve post-harvest treatment and handling; financial training to enhance access to finance, in partnership with local financial institutions; and entrepreneurship skills in sunflower and horticulture value chains; alongside strengthening land tenure security. A total of 6,000 women and men in four villages in Ikungi District will benefit from the land tenure security initiative that will support them to acquire Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCROs) – an intervention that will engage male village leaders and women and men in Ikungi to allocate plots to women. The programme will also promote initiatives that can help to reduce the burden of unpaid domestic work on women and girls through labour-saving and climate-friendly technologies such as fuel efficient cooking stoves.
Community commitment to uphold women and girls’ rights in Ikungi and Masala will be harnessed through extensive outreach campaigns expected to reach more than 40,000 people in both project districts that achieve sustainable and positive shifts in social norms around women’s economic agency, land rights and GBV and harmful practices, including child marriage and female genital mutilation.
Accelerating progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 5
Dr Wilfred Ochan, UNFPA Deputy Representative in Tanzania, and Ms. Hodan Addou, UN Women Representative, said that barriers to women’s economic productivity, in particular in the agriculture sector in rural economies; a lack of decision-making powers and access to productive assets such as land; and GBV and harmful practices are all manifestations of gender equality and discrimination. With the support of KOICA, the partners will be able to leverage their comparative advantages to improve the lives of women and girls and to accelerate the achievement of gender equality, as expressed in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, by 2030.
The Joint Programme is part of the United Nations Development Assistance Plan II – the UN’s overall business plan in Tanzania which supports the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to achieve its objectives in its national visions. Creating a better and more inclusive future for women and girls in Tanzania is an integral part of the UN’s interventions in Tanzania. UN Resident Coordinator Zlatan Milišić said that the Joint Programme will contribute to advancing gender equality efforts and leverage the strengths of sister agencies to ensure that rural women and girls are not left behind.
Gender equality has been a top priority in Korea’s development cooperation. The country has been a staunch supporter of adolescent girls and women’s rights, recognizing that their empowerment and well-being constitute a powerful indicator and accelerator of sustainable development.
KOICA has also worked closely with multilateral partners, such as UN Agencies, to address some of the critical challenges women and girls face in health and education. For the past five years, KOICA has strived to empower adolescent girls and young women through education in four regions of Tanzania reaching both in and out-of-school girls and provided vocational and life skills training. KOICA has also worked extensively to improve the health of Tanzanian mothers by creating friendly hospital environments with improved infrastructure, equipment and skilled health care workers.
Coordinated and sustained efforts
At the national level, UNFPA and UN Women will work with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government, the Ministry of Land, Housing and Human Settlements Development, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Tanzania Police Force, and other stakeholders to implement the Joint Programme; and with Ikungi and Msalala District Councils and selected non-government organizations at the subnational level.
The District Executive Director of Ikungi District Council, Mr Justice Kijazi, said the Government recognizes the importance of enhancing women’s participation in the agriculture value chain, and expanding awareness-raising campaigns and survivor-centred services to both prevent and respond to GBV. “Singida is one of the poorest regions where the main source of livelihood is crop and livestock production, a sector that employs the majority of women. Supporting women farmers to own land and training them to approach agriculture as business enterprises can be a game-changer that can spur production and income,” Mr Kijazi said, adding that the Joint Programme came at time when the local authority was in need of support to strengthen ending GBV initiatives.
“Currently, there are 121 Women Economic Groups with a membership of 2,449 women in 28 Wards. Through these structures, we look forward to a strong partnership that will help us to scale-up anti-GBV interventions,” Mr. Kijazi emphasized.
The Joint Programme supports ongoing efforts by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to advance gender quality and women’s empowerment in line with the Agriculture Sector Development Plan (ASDP) II, the National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children (NPA-VAWC 2017/18-2021/22) and the Village Land Act as well as regional and global development aspirations including the 2030 Agenda and SDGs.