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! We loved this tea cup pin cushion – Lucy is constantly on the look out for new ideas that will be marketable. Lucy 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.
Quotes take from Comic Relief.