Meet Lucy, one of the inspiring women creating #lastingchange in Africa #iwd2014


If Africa could regain just an additional 1% share of global trade, it would earn $70 billion more in exports each year – more than double what it receives in development assistance.

Today I saw first hand that creating #lastingchange in Africa is about investing wisely in women who can take lots of other women with them on their journey to a better world.

Lucy is a woman with a mission. She wants to help others. She is a teacher by profession, like me she fell out of the profession when her husband needed to move with work, they moved from the country, to the city of Dar el Salaam, Tanzania.

She wanted to continue to teach and to further the charitable work she was doing in the country, helping orphans. But she felt lost after the move.

The UN estimates that 70% of the population of Dar es Salaam now live in slums.

Then she found the Tanzanian Gatsby Trust, a project funded by Sport Relief and received training and mentoring in business and entrepreneurial skills. There were threads in Lucy’s story I could relate to, she is a teacher by profession, she was uprooted and changed jobs, she wanted to be self employed, she wanted to meet like minded women and she wanted to help people and make a difference.

Many women and girls have poor access to education and about two thirds of all illiterate people are women. In Tazania 1 in 4 girls aged 15-24 is illiterate.

Lucy is incredibly creative, craft and textiles are her business, but she adapts her creative skills to meet demand.

Lucy invited us into her home and showed us so many beautiful things she has made, from handbags to aprons, table runners, painted safari animal sets. We couldn’t resist a nosy in her amazing craft cupboard/shop. – it just kept giving!DSC01510-001 DSC01525DSC01516We loved this tea cup pin cushion – Lucy is constantly on the look out for new ideas that will be marketable. DSC01500-001Lucy also tailors stunning clothes, her son was quick to show us some shots of him modelling them, further proof of her new marketing skills. Someone so skilled, with teaching skills, is going to make a real difference to other women’s lives in Tanzania.

I asked Lucy what difference the project had made to her life, she replied confidence, and her husband agreed that she is a changed woman, ready to make change in the world.

Lucy has incredible creative skills, her training and coaching from the Tanzanian Gatsby Trust, has enabled her to grow her business and fulfil her dream to help other women. She has learnt about record keeping, registering her business, bank accounts, markets and advertising – critical skills to pass on to other women.

70% of the world’s poorest people are women and they own only 1% of the world’s property

In order to create #lastingchange, this TGT project selects women who have been in business for two years already, then mentors and trains them so they can take their business to the next level. These women then take other women with them, as employees, or by training and mentoring women keen to start their own business.

Lucy showed us a skirt she has made using Batik made by another project beneficiary.

When women are able to network their businesses thrive.

Tanzanian women face challenges as a result of their gender, a culture that sees them primarily as wives and mothers rather than businesswomen, the demands of being primary carer, their lack of influence in decision making at home and beyond.


The number of women running small businesses in Tanzania has increased dramatically in the last 20 years; but these women have faced many challenges, for example, harassment, and demand for bribes from police and officials.

TGT has a long and proven track record of creating #lastingchange in Africa. 3000 women applied for the first round of business training, 800 were selected, a control group received just basic tips, a second group business services plus entrepreneurial and technical training and a third group the full training package plus mentoring/coaching. On evaluation the control group lacked real skills and entrepreneurship, there were clear gaps in the second group in terms of their organisation, marketing strategy and skills. The thrid group however were either able, or in a good position to pass supermarket guidelines or to export outside their country.

TGT had a blueprint for #lastingchange. The grant from Sport Relief means they can now offer more women from the control and first group training, and help women who have completed their training train and mentor others.

Sport Relief has funded over 140 women’s training and mentoring in Tanzania, empowering them to create change that ripples through their community and country. Can you imagine what the ripple effect of that is? Just amazing.

We met three inspiring women today, do read about Bertha on Mummy Barrow and Claudia on Mammasaurus too. Can’t wait to meet three more incredible women tomorrow.

Quotes take from Comic Relief.

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  • Reply Mammasaurus

    It’s been such an inspiring day – so positive to see the changes in peoples lives from money raised for Sport Relief – and just how many people it can effect. Can’t wait till tomorrow – but for now – bed – quick!

    06/03/2014 at 10:05 pm
  • Reply Carolin

    So incredibly inspiring. It’s amazing to see how the money raised is not only changing the life of one person, but an entire community or village. Thanks so much for sharing all your impressions. You must be absolutely shattered x

    06/03/2014 at 10:23 pm
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      That’s been the big shift for me Carolin, I think I expected to meet women trying to escape extreme poverty, but we have met the women transforming whole communities and building a future for them. Another strand of Comic Relief’s work and a really sound investment 🙂

      06/03/2014 at 10:25 pm
  • Reply HPMcQ

    3 inspiring women meeting 3 inspiring women x

    06/03/2014 at 10:33 pm
  • Reply Amanda

    So fantastic to hear all about Lucy (you were right, I LOVE what she is doing!!) And thanks so much for finding out the answers to my questions 🙂 Can’t wait to hear more about the women you meet tomorrow xx

    06/03/2014 at 10:34 pm
    • Reply Amanda

      I completely forgot to say how amazing I found it reading that TGT had different groups who received different support so that they could really see what each aspect of the training and support meant and how a complete package was the most helpful and successful. That’s a fantastic way of monitoring how effectively the funding is being spent!!

      06/03/2014 at 10:41 pm
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      Pleasure, thanks for having a clear head!

      07/03/2014 at 4:40 am
  • Reply Jenny Paulin

    it is so great to see that the money raised really is making such a huuuge change to people and how it enables them to change their lives around! thank you x

    06/03/2014 at 10:41 pm
  • Reply Amanda

    Absolutely amazing, well done ladies. Such a fascinating insight into where the money is going and the amazing enterprise of these entrepreneurial women. Loving the videos, keep them coming. Will share now x

    07/03/2014 at 9:02 am
  • Reply Katy Hill

    LOVE Lucy! She ROCKS and I officially want one of those bags in her shop! Love her comment about how the trust has given her confidence. Truly inspirational woman. x

    07/03/2014 at 9:47 am
  • Reply Kirsty

    Lucy would totally rock Pinterest! It is really heart-warming to see how the money raised for Sport Relief is changing lives, investing in key people who have a positive and lasting effect on their community and families. Great to see women working hard for positive change – including you xx

    07/03/2014 at 11:34 am
  • Reply Katie Albury

    Amazing post…I am absolutely loving reading your journey throughout this project and I have shared your links on my blog feature today. So inspiring to hear Lucy’s story.

    Katie x

    07/03/2014 at 4:52 pm
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    […] Through mentoring and training the Gatsby Trust gave Lucy the confidence to develop her business and to network after moving from the countryside to the city, She is an inspirational creative who brought out so many beautiful, imaginative handcrafted items to show us. More than that she is a teacher and looks forward expanding her business by training other women who want to start up craft and textile businesses. Visit her craft cupboard here. […]

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    What beautiful things she makes x

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