Bristol charity to help Tanzanian disabled women to become entrepreneurs

Bristol charity to help Tanzanian disabled women to become entrepreneurs

Bristol based charity African Initiatives awarded £180,000 to empower African women


Bristol-based international development charity African Initiatives has been awarded £180,000 from
the Big Lottery Fund to fund a two-year project to bring economic empowerment to disadvantaged women.

The focus will be on disabled women in the Kilimanjaro Region of northern Tanzania.
This funding will enable African Initiatives to help set up village community banks and deliver
vocational, business and financial management training to women suffering extreme gender
inequality – in particular, those living with a disability and others surviving on less than 75 pence a day.

“This award is life-changing,” said African Initiatives’ CEO José Sluijs-Doyle. “Financial independence
is paramount to ending the cycle of poverty. In Kilimanjaro Region, women and girls are routinely
denied the right to an education and the right to own land, property and the means of production.
They have no way of generating an income. Women with a disability face additional barriers to
access their rights.

In some communities in Tanzania, people with a disability are not even considered human. “This funding means some of the world’s most disadvantaged women and girls will be able to start their own businesses and enjoy a more dignified standard of living.” African Initiatives is based in Brunswick Square in central Bristol. The charity works via grassroots partner organisations in Tanzania to give girls access to an education and women access to economic opportunities and sexual and reproductive health services. African Initiatives will be partnering with the Tusonge Community Development Organization, a Tanzanian NGO, on the project.

“As well as introducing women to village community banks and entrepreneurship, the project will raise awareness of women’s rights and understanding of disability rights among religious leaders, teachers and the police,” said Sluijs-Doyle. “Additionally, through working in close liaison with local Disabled People’s Organisations, the funding will enable African Initiatives and our partner Tusonge to improve our organisational capacity to deliver disability-inclusive livelihoods projects so that we can increase our impact in this area in the future.”