Programs in Tanzania

WODF implements the following programs in Tanzania:

1. Enhancing the capabilities of young and middle-aged widows (economic and social empowerment) 

Under this program, WODF supports widows and destitute women in Africa, mainly in Tanzania by building economic sustainability and resilience amongst them so that they can support themselves and their children in a sustainable way. It does so by:

• Providing entrepreneurship training for them to acquire skills that will help them undertake small income-generating projects/activities.

• Helping them to obtain land for farming since the majority of them inherited small pieces of land or never inherited one after the death of their husbands.

• Providing a forum for information sharing on available opportunities and resources for women empowerment, awareness on their human rights, and health information.  

2. Human rights awareness and advocating against harmful traditional practices

WODF sensitizes widows and rural communities on the human rights of widows so as to prevent violation of such rights and take action whenever they are violated.

It advocates against traditional cultural practices that perpetuate injustice against widows such as widow cleansing which violates the dignity of a widow, disinheritance issues, property grabbing, and related issues.

The organization will establish information centres in selected villages which will serve as resource centres and platforms for rural widows to receive and share information concerning human rights, sexual and reproductive health, as well as available opportunities for their empowerment.

3. Support for old widows and destitute women

 Old widows need special care and support. Due to their advanced age or physical and health conditions, their ability to fully undertake income-generating activities is compromised. In such carefully considered cases, WODF provides both direct and indirect support to old incapacitated widows.

Direct Support

The physical and health conditions of old widows limit their ability to engage directly in income-generating activities. Where possible, WODF provides direct support such as food and other life necessities to older indigent widows while also encouraging other family members to continue supporting them.

Indirect Support

Majority of old widows in rural areas depend on other family members who also live in poverty, and who can hardly afford two meals a day.
WODF helps in skills-building for their caretakers so that they can support the dependent old widows in a sustainable way. 

Destitute women

Destitute women who are heads of household also need to be empowered and supported in multiple ways that include enhancing their capacity through skills training as a sustainable way towards building their resilience and where possible helping with the basic needs as the case may be.

4. Education support for orphans and destitute children

"A common consequence of widowhood in traditional societies is the withdrawal of children from school. Girls are likely to be the first affected; they are needed to care for younger siblings while the widowed mother begs or works, or they must find work themselves. Girls who leave school too soon are more likely to become child brides and child mothers, potentially causing damage to their reproductive health and limiting their chances for economic autonomy." (United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, 2001).

Widows who live in poverty and destitute families withdraw their children from school for two main reasons. First, because they cannot afford to provide the educational needs for their children such as uniforms, books, school fees, and other related needs. Secondly, because they need their children to help them (mothers) earn an income to support the family.

In order to help widows and destitute families headed by women reduce the burden of taking care of the schooling costs of their children, WODF provides material support to orphans and destitute children as a way of retaining them in school.

In addition to educational material, girls are provided also with sanitary materials that will help them when they are in their monthly cycle which affects the school attendance for the majority of girls in rural areas. Missing classes because of lack of protective gears during their monthly period might affect their performance in school in the long run.

With this kind of support, the money that their mothers will serve from the schooling costs of their children will be used for other family necessities thus relieving the mothers from the burden of costs to some extent.

Orphaned children are in need of support to facilitate their retention in school.

Donating for Orphans' education

Recently, WODF donated schooling materials to the orphaned children at an orphanage in Bicha village, Kondoa District, Tanzania.

Most orphanages in rural areas lack support for basic needs of the children such as food, medical care, clean and safe water and education supplies.

5. Orphans with special needs

Widows taking care of vulnerable orphaned grandchildren

There are many widows who are caregivers of orphaned and vulnerable grandchildren (orphans with special needs). This widow (pictured) is a guardian of her grandchildren whose father died and their mother is unable to take care of them.

Widows in such a situation need support in various forms which include equipping them with skills that will help them undertake income-generating activities, and providing direct support such as food, clothes and health care (health insurance) for them and their grandchildren.

For this particular widow who is taking care of a grandchild with albinism, special health care support is needed such as sunscreen jelly/lotion, sunglasses and other gears which help to prevent skin cancer for people with albinism. Skin cancer affects many albinos in tropical countries as a result of extreme sunburn.

Taking care of a disabled double orphan

This woman represents many others who are caretakers of double orphans. For this woman, her grandchild has lost both parents.

More challenging is that this orphan is physically and mentally handicapped. She has therefore become a full-time caregiver of her grandchild thus limiting her time to undertake a full-time income-generating activity since she spends most of the time looking after this orphaned disabled child.

Such a caregiver needs support in many ways, skills building support for herself as well as direct support such as food, clothes and medical care for the orphaned grandchild.

6. Access to safe and clean water

"Water safety and quality are fundamental to human development and well-being. Providing access to safe water is one of the most effective instruments in improving health and reducing poverty."
(World Health Organization, 2020).

According to the United Nations Water Agency (UN Water), water has to be physically accessible to everyone within, or in the immediate vicinity of the household, educational institution, workplace or health institution. It points out that the absence of safe drinking water affects women and girls disproportionately since they bear primary responsibility for collecting water, which is often very time-consuming, tiring, and may affect their other roles such as girls' attendance in school. In some places in rural areas, availability of a reliable supply of safe and clean water is still a challenge.

WODF is seeking collaboration with other stakeholders to facilitate the availability of safe and clean water for the needy rural populations mainly in schools. This will involve the drilling of deep water wells for the needy rural communities to serve them from the health hazards of using contaminated water.

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