Tanzania Microfinance Program Reflection By: Ahmed Al-Remeithi
Throughout the program, I have learned about the importance of Microfinance in developing countries and how it plays a huge role in a country such as Tanzania. Specifically, the main insight of this internship had privileged me with knowing about AJISO (Action For Justice In Society).
The Action for Justice in Society Organization (AJISO) was founded in 1998 with the goal of promoting women’s and children’s rights and access to justice in society. It promotes women’s and children’s empowerment by providing access to justice and hosting public awareness events on human rights, legal education, and gender-based violence (GBV). In order to eliminate all forms of violence in society, AJISO also trains paralegals, ward protection committees, and child rights clubs.
I had the privilege of also knowing the program’s mission which was to promote Human Rights, access to justice, and socioeconomic empowerment of women and children in Tanzania. In-depth relating to microfinance the Microfinance program introduced me to (VICOBA) which is known as the community village bank in Tanzania. Each group had 30 members, and they were given entrepreneurship training and skills to help them improve their livelihoods. AJISO encourages them to start small businesses and other income-generating activities so that they can save money to buy VICOBA shares and, eventually, to take out loans to expand their economic activities.
Along with this, I have also learned about the social justice program occurring in Tanzania and how AJISO supports social justice prevailed in the community, they also ran programs that aided in this goal by advocating for children, women, and PWLDS rights. This advocacy is carried out through the establishment of children clubs in primary and secondary schools, public meetings and dialogues about the consequences of violating the rights of marginalized groups, particularly children, women, and PWLDS, and the formation and training of community-based child protection teams.
Furthermore, this program showed me opportunities it offers towards the scholars of Tanzania, Such as the PEP program which will facilitate the development of a positive mindset towards empowering youth to learn by doing the enterprise culture and to expose students to build effective networks with a view of empowering youth to become global citizens in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and national development initiatives.
Lastly, it will create a common understanding with different and relevant actors on implementing PEP program in the pilot phase. Since most villagers in Tanzania relies on the environment surrounding them, and their environment and biome aids towards their economy model, it has been one of AJISO’s goal to create initiatives helping and preserving the environment. AJISO encourages VICOBA members to plant trees and use environmentally friendly energy sources in conjunction with students in schools. In dry areas, we encourage them to adopt farming techniques that allow them to produce enough yield for their own consumption as well as for sale to supplement their income.
Staff at AJISO has also received environmental capacity building to ensure that they are not only familiar with all of the terminologies used in climate innovation and transformation, but also with the opportunities relating to the field.
Overall, I had a great time taking this internship and I would recommend any student to take this opportunity which he will learn from a lot.