Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Gender equality in Tanzania is relatively advanced, compared to it’s neighbouring countries. However, while there is a higher number of women in school, work and even in politics, women are still hugely under-served in rural communities and face many inequalities in their daily lives.

  • About 14.6% of all women and girls aged between 15 and 49 have been subjected to female genital mutilation
  • 41% of girls transition to secondary school education. However, only 3% complete the cycle, mostly due to pregnancy
  • The percentage of women aged 20-24 who were married before the age of 18 is 38%
  • Salaries paid to women are on average 63% lower than those paid to men
  • When women own businesses, they make 2.4 times less profit than men

In the town of Moshi, at the base of Mt Kilimanjaro, African Impact run education, public health and enterprise projects to target some of these issues, and have more recently developed a gender equality initiative in conjunction with The Girl Impact.

These gender empowerment projects focus primarily on empowering girls through education and skills development initiatives, while engaging all members of the community, including boys.

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How are we fighting for gender equality in Tanzania?


African Impact run a variety of after-school clubs at local schools in Kilimanjaro that focus on different educational topics, from English language instruction and health, to HIV.

Within these sessions, The Girl Impact run specific workshops that focus on sensitive topics that are not usually covered under the Tanzanian education system. By educating young girls about menstrual health, sexual and reproductive health, family planning and helping them to make healthy choices for themselves, they will grow up to become empowered adolescents within their community and role models for their friends and siblings.

While it is important to focus on boys and girls separately, it is also vital to educate them together and have mutually informed conversations and debates about gender roles in their community today.

The general health club that we run in Kilimanjaro looks at puberty for both teenage boys and girls, issues relating to drugs, tobacco and alcohol, sexual and reproductive health and peer pressure relating to sex before marriage. Volunteers, under the guidance of the African Impact project team, prepare and lead sessions each week that are in line with The Girl Impact curriculum.

A local NGO, the Network Against Female Genital Mutilation (NAFGEM) assists girls who are in danger of genital cutting or forced marriage and have a shelter in Moshi, Kilimanjaro. African Impact – in conjunction with The Girl Impact – run several education and empowerment sessions with the girls from the shelter throughout the year, working with various age groups on a variety of topics, including adolescent health, puberty, drugs and alcohol, confidence and self-esteem and the roles of men and women in society.

The shelter itself is an inspiring facility who provide a safe place for vulnerable girls and women. As a team, our volunteers and the staff of NAFGEM ensure the girls feel protected, educated and empowered to continue with their lives.

Early pregnancy and early marriage is a harsh reality of the context we work in. We have also realised with clear evidence, that girls cannot be empowered in isolation; without engaging and educating boys and the entire community, girls cannot make their own decisions or may be placed in danger if they do so.

Part of engaging the community means bringing boys into the conversation, so along side our girls’ clubs, our boys’ club also focus on topics such as peer pressure, sexual and reproductive health, equality of choice and the concept that “no means no.” We prepare the sessions for the boys’ club, as well as a similar program for girls’ club, with the support of the African Impact project team and are responsible for leading the workshops and classes on these topics.

The women of Kilimanjaro are extremely inspiring and entrepreneurial. To channel these aspirations in the most productive way, we work with a women’s group on a variety of education, empowerment and income generation activities that hone their skills and allow them to work on sustainable business ideas.

Not only do we promote the women’s individual skills and find ways to market and channel their products, but we also work with the women on how they can help empower the younger girls in their community, too, becoming guardians of the future female leaders of their community.

Self-confidence is an essential ingredient for a girl to feel empowered and able to face the daily challenges they experience in Kilimanjaro. Whether it is standing up to challenge social norms,  confronting injustices made against them or even getting the courage to follow their dream career, having confidence and trust in one self’s abilities is key.

Throughout our programming, whether it is during the women’s support group, health talks or after-school clubs, our main aim is to build confidence in our group of young men and women. We help improve their English language skills, knowledge of sensitive topics, ability to articulate themselves and ultimately give them the tools to make better, more informed decisions as they reach adulthood.