People with disability advised not to give up

Some People with Disabilities (PWDs) in Tanzania have been advised to stop begging in the street and instead work to reduce their seemingly poverty situation.
This was said recently during a dialogue that brought together PWDs in Dar es Salaam to discuss rights of PWDs as well as advocacy measures to include PWDs’ rights in the country’s development plans.

Speaking his mind, one participant of the dialogue, Ally Ngurungu said apart from giving views for the new constitution and calling for the protection of rights of PWDs, there is a need for some PWDs to stop begging and look for something to do.
“Amongst us PWDs, there are many individuals who have the ability to do great things in this country, it is better to use our skills and talents so that we can run away from poverty and over dependence.
On her part, Community Social Welfare Officer in Dar es Salaam region, Flora Masue who opened the dialogue, has asked PWDs to make sure that their issues are included in the new constitution.  She said, time has come for PWDs to fight for their rights so as to reduce stigma and to give the group an opportunity to contribute in country.
She also mentioned issued that PWDs should put an equal emphasis for inclusion into the new constitution as: education, health and agriculture.
At a later stage, Secretary of the Association for the PWDs in Dar es Salaam, Mohammed Chazi, heaped praise on the dialogue, which was funded by the Foundation for Civil Society - saying that it would help amplify their voices to concerned authorities.
He said during the period of collecting views of the first draft of the constitution, FCS enabled more than 48,000 PWDs across the country to give their views, and 70% of their views were included in the first draft of the new constitution.

FCS supports sign language training to ease communication barriers

Police officers, medical doctors and ward executives in Ilemela District, Mwanza region have completed a seven-day training on the sign language in mid February conducted by experts from the Tanzania Deaf Association (Chavita) through funds from Foundation for Civil Society.

The training facilitator, Mr. Henry Mtasiwa, said the training was aimed at empowering the officers with skills that would enable them to communicate easily with people with hearing disability in the course of their duties.

“We are not dumb or deaf as what many people tend to refer us. The best way to call us is people with hearing impairments and we are human beings too, therefore this training will also help the officers to campaign for us against this stigmatization,” said Mr. Mtasiwa.

Additionally, Devotha Mtesigwa, a teacher at Bwiru Boys Secondary School, said the training on sign language should involve schools teachers since often times they face communication barriers when dealing with students with hearing impairment.
“There are over 50 students in my school with hearing impairments. We need sign language experts to help them understand what their teachers teach them,” she said.

On her part, Ilemela District Commissioner, Amina Masenza, said district authorities will look into the possibility of establishing a special school for people and pupils with hearing impairments in the district.

Women in Chamwino challenged to wake up

Chamwino Non-Governmental Organisation Network (CHANGONET) has challenged women of Chamwino District in Dodoma region to wake up and contest for various positions in decision-making organs so as to reduce gender inequality in the district.
The remarks were made by Chamwino social welfare officer, Jaina Msangi during a dialogue organized by CHANGONET at Majereko village in mid February. The dialogue dwelt on “equal distribution of public resources based on gender equality”, and was funded by the Foundation for Civil Society.

She said it is better if women contest for various decision-making positions so as to increase their proportion in leadership. “We do not have even a single woman as a leader here, this is not good”, she said.

On her part, District Administrative Officer, Juliana Kilasara, noted that apart from recent efforts done by women to empower themselves, there is also a need for the community to provide opportunities to women for their self-development.

She further that there are still some traditions and customs in the country, which discriminate woman, assuming that woman do not have rights to ownership of resources. 

The three-day dialogue had brought together more than 150 residents of Majereko and provided them with an opportunity to share their views and experiences on equal distribution of public resources based on gender equality.

CSOs call for increased support on the Most Vulnerable children

Civil society organisations have called upon the government to cooperate with them in their efforts to support orphans and most vulnerable children in order to reduce the growing number of street children.

The plea was made by the project coordinator of Huruma Aids Concern and Care (Hacoca), Mr Johnson William, during training on how to empower vulnerable groups in society held in Morogoro, in mid February. Hacoca is a civil society organisation engaged in supporting People Living with HIV/AIDS and vulnerable children.

“I would like to call upon the government and other institutions to cooperate with CSOs in making sure that these vulnerable children are getting the necessary support for their future,” he said.
Mr William said the training workshop, funded by the Foundation for Civil Society Organisations (FCS) aimed at building capacity for civil society stakeholders to facilitate their efforts to reach the entire community.

He said it’s high time the government considered taking care of vulnerable children including orphans especially those living in rural areas. On his part, workshop facilitator, Mr Hamis Kiloya said civil society organisations lacked sufficient cooperation from the government in executing their duties, urging the government to maximize their support to the organisations.

“It is obvious that in many areas the government has been slow to support CSOs, we all understand that there are various challenges including shortage of funds, but we still believe that the government can assist CSOs in this matter,” said Mr Kiloya.


Widows in Morogoro stand up to fight for land ownership rights

Widows of the Magole ward in Kilosa District have shed tears in front of leaders of Greenbelt School Trust Fund organisation (GSTF) soon after been educated that they have legal and customary rights to own land up to 50 hectors.

They found themselves crying during a training organised by GSTF through funding from the Foundation for Civil Society. The training was on the 1999 Land Act and Village Land Act NO. 4 and 5, while issues of their involvements in the management and administration of land rights in villages councils and land conflict resolution also came into the limelight.

Speaking on her experience, a widow from Magole ward, Anna Chilangile, whose half hector of land was taken by the village land council after the death of her husband, says at the beginning she thought it was all a right decision but after the awareness she decided to take the issue to court.

“Many times we are being deprived from our lands rights. I am a widow with four children and my husband died a while ago but village leaders have grabbed a portion of my land and reallocated it to a businessman claiming that my land was so big for ordinary use. I did not know what to do, but thanks God now I have the knowledge to claim it back. I will fight for what is mine, till I get it back," says Anna.


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