A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Friday, 7 March 2014

Go Team Honk - International Women's Day 2014

Team Honk is about bloggers raising money and awareness for Comic Relief. To celebrate International Women's Day #iwd2014, Tanya, Annie and Penny are in Tanzania finding out how donations to Sport Relief last year have created female entrepreneurs and #lastingchange for women, their families and communities and beyond.

Read more about the Team Honk trip to Tanzania here   

This is the fabulous digital postcard I've been sent to share with you...

This is a Bertha. She is a food producer in Dar es Salaam who has received support from the Gatsby Trust. Bertha makes three different types of wine, garlic paste and a flour used to make porridge. In addition to making products she is also now training other women to do the same. Bertha works from a processing plant that she built herself at the back of her property, with room dedicated to each part of her business.

She now employs 4 other people and when profits are available, she expands the business even more. Team Honk were lucky enough to purchase garlic paste, flour and wine during their visit.  

Why The Gatsby Trust?

Comic Relief has awarded Tanzania Gatsby Trust a grant of £264,959 over three years so they can continue helping women in Tanzania.
The number of women running small businesses in Tanzania has increased dramatically in the last 20 years; but these women have faced many challenges, for example, harassment, and demand for bribes from police and officials.

They also face challenges as a result of their gender, a culture that sees them primarily as wives and mothers rather than businesswomen, the demands of being primary carer, their lack of influence in decision making at home and beyond. Loans and finance are harder to access as a woman. Lack of education leaves women without essential literacy and numeracy skills they need.

The Gatsby Trust helps 1000 female entrepreneurs by educating both women and their partners about women’s rights and providing support and training, it has been around since 1992.

Why Women?

The stastistics speak for themselves:

  • 70% of the world’s poorest people are women and they own only 1% of the world’s property.
  • Nearly 50% of all sexual assaults worldwide are against girls aged 15 years or younger
  • Domestic violence is the largest cause of women’s injury and death – leading to more deaths and disability among women aged 15-44 than malaria, war, traffic accidents and cancer.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that female genital mutilation (FGM) has affected as many as 138 million women and girls in Africa, and the numbers continue to rise every year.
  • Many women and girls have poor access to education and about two thirds of all illiterate people are women.
The UK Government matchfunded the £16 million which Comic Relief had already committed to spend helping change the lives of women and girls across Africa, using money raised through public donations for Red Nose Day 2013.

This combined total of £32 million from DIFD and Comic Relief will:
  • help girls get a better education
  • address violence against women
  • make childbirth safer for both mothers and babies
  • make it easier for female farmers to make a better, more sustainable living and empower women to become leaders in making decisions that affect their lives.

Why Tanzania?

Tanzania is a politically stable country, but, it is still one of the poorest countries in the world with one third of its population living below the poverty level and over half of the rural population living with no access to an adequate water source.

We will be in Dar es Salaam, one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Unfortunately, this rapid urban expansion also means Tanzania has one of the highest rates of slum growth in Africa. The UN estimates that 70% of the population of Dar es Salaam now live in slums.

Tanzania has spectacular nature and wildlife including Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, and national parks such as the Serengeti. The country’s main exports include gold, sisal, cloves, coffee, cotton, cashew nuts, minerals, and tobacco. Yet trade is still an issue. If Africa could regain just an additional 1% share of global trade, it would earn $70 billion more in exports each year – more than double what the region currently receives in aid.

Since Comic Relief began it has funded 128 grants to organisations working in Tanzania to the value of over £46.8 million.

  • 28% of the population is living below the poverty line.
  • 5.1% of the adult population is living with HIV—that’s 1.5 million people.
  • 1.2 million children have been orphaned by AIDS.
  • 1 in every 19 children dies before they reach their 5th birthday.
  • Nearly one third of the adult population is illiterate.
  • 42% of children have had their growth stunted due to poor nutrition.
  • 16% of children are underweight.
  • Only about half of the population has access to clean water.
  • Only 12% of the population has access to adequate sanitation.
  • Only 49% of births are accompanied by a skill birth attendant.
  • 1 in 5 children is involved in child labour.
  • 1 in 4 girls aged 15-24 is illiterate.
All stats thanks to Comic Relief

How can you help?

5 MINS - Please RT, share and support any updates you see with the #lastingchange hashtag.

DONATE You can help create #lastingchange by sponsoring #teamhonkrelay for Sport Relief

GET INVOLVED Join up for your local Sport Relief event here.

I'd like to wish Annie, Tanya and Penny a safe journey and l look forward to reading all about the entire trip when they arrive home.

And finally, thanks for helping to create #lastingchange


  1. Ah I love this photo - 3 inspiring women in it, Sophie from Comic Relief, Penny and Bertha. Bertha's planning for the future was so immense - she's got 10 acres for growing maize and groundnuts which she's cultivating ready at the moment - her hope is to grow her own ingredients so she can produce more and lower her prices, making her products cheaper and more competitive.

  2. Fabulous post - Bertha sounds like a really inspiring woman. Great to read all the extra info about Tanzania, but sad to hear there is still opposition to women running their own businesses.

  3. I bet it felt like such a privilege for Team Honk to meet women like Bertha - battling to create a better life for themselves and their communities. And I love the sound of garlic paste!


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