France has a long history of fighting for gender equality but President Emmanuel Macron decided to make gender equality a top priority of his agenda. France is now working at all levels to promote ambitious measures through a real feminist diplomacy.
In Tanzania, together with civil society organizations, France is both, funding projects to foster women economic empowerment and advocating in favor of gender equality.
France international commitment as a gender champion
26 years after the Beijing Platform for Action, no country can claim to have achieved gender equality. Though this event underlined the necessity to think women rights as human rights, the commitment made in 1995 to make this world a fair place for women, where both women and men can live as equal has failed.
Remaining systemic barriers still need to be overcome. Convinced that all stakeholders should fully seize this unsolved issue, France has co-organized the Generation Equality Forum together with Mexico and UN Women. This historic global gathering took place in Paris from 30th of June to 2nd July 2021, with the Vice-President, H.E. Dr. Phil-ip Mpango, representing President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Tanzania’s commitments to gender equality. The forum brought together governments, youth organizations, feminist movements, civil society and inter-national organizations, activists and the private sector to enhance gender equality.
The Generation Equality Campaign defined 6 priorities: gender based violence, economic justice and rights, bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights, feminist action for climate justice, technology and innovation for gender equality, feminist movement and leadership. Joining the momentum of the Forum, H.E. Samia Suluhu HASSAN person-ally committed herself to the “Economic justice and rights” coalition for action, to accelerate women economic empowerment in Tanzania, setting up bold engagements for the next 5 years. In line with this official commitment, the Embassy of France is funding a project fostering women economic empowerment through organic agriculture in Tanzania.
Tanzanian women actors in the fight against climate change
As women’s economic and social empowerment and gender equality are prerequisites for sustainable development, France’s development programs are increasingly oriented around gender. In Tanzania, 60% of the female population is living in extreme poverty, 80% of the smallholder farmers’ labor force are women.
They face difficulties to access land and credit and to benefit from their production. The feminization of poverty is therefore a real challenge, particularly in the agricultural sector. The 2-year innovative project GAPE, “Girls Empowerment through Agroecology and Permaculture”, was launched this year by the Embassy of France with a grant of 1,669,531,299 TZS.
It aims to enhance gender equality while contributing to the development of an organic agriculture, also called agroecology. Agroecology is a holistic and sustainable farming, promoting agricultural techniques respecting the environment and nature. It preserves biodiversity, natural resources and soil fertility while achieving food security. The training of women’s groups in agro-ecological practices and the support in developing their micro-enterprises are real factors for their affirmation and independence.
This project also promotes both a personal and a social emancipation of women by building girls’ confidence and ability to assert and defend their rights. With this project, the French Embassy is financing 4 Tanzanian civil society organizations to support 2,000 vulnerable women and girls in the regions of Dodoma, Zanzibar and Tabora.
The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS), Msichana Initiative (MI), Practical Permaculture Institute of Zanzibar (PPIZ) and Sustainable Agri-culture Tanzania (SAT), long standing partners of the French Embassy, are working in close collaboration to bring to this project their respective capacities in agroecology and women and girls’ empowerment. National and local authorities are also involved in order to mobilize the stakeholders at all level and to improve women’s condition.