How forests have empowered rural women in Tanzania

Hadija Makokoto - "I know the value of the forest, so I will protect it."

Thanks to forests, these women don't have to walk as far to collect water for their families.

These rural women are just three of more than 205 expectant mothers who have been subsidised with money towards maternal care in one village.

We trained these three women to combat fires in their forests. In doing so, they protect local timber stocks and prevent forest fires from spreading into farms and settlements, where they destroy crops and pose a safety hazard.

“Before, local people weren’t aware of the importance of the forest, now they are more conscious, because of education in the village... I know the value of the forest, so I will protect it.”

- Hadija Makokoto, aged 46, Nainokwe Village.

Today is International Day of Rural Women, and Hadija is just one of 25,000 rural women in Tanzania that we have reached through our work. We have supported them and their communities to take control of and generate sustainable income from forest products to support their livelihoods and economies. We provide regular training to ensure that the income generated from communal timber sales is used in the most effective way possible, so that the benefits are felt widely within each community.

These funds have been used to build and repair wells to that women don't have to walk as far to collect water for their families. One village decided to put some of their forest revenues towards a support programme to subsidise expectant mothers with money towards maternal care.

Forests also provide a means of part-time employment for women in the villages we support. An estimated 2,000 rural women in 11 villages generated direct income from participating in forest management activities in 2014, including fire control; clearing, marking and patrolling forest boundaries; and attending meetings.


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