#ImpactandCommunitySeries: “I formed Mwanamke Simama as a basic tool to improve the wellbeing of women development status in Tanzania” – Violet Kitundu, author, philanthropist and MD, Mwanamke Simama

Who is Violet Kitundu?

Violet Kitundu is an entrepreneurship expert, content producer, author, philanthropist and managing director at Mwanamke Simama, an organization aiming at providing social, health and economic empowerment to women that will have an impact to their quality of life as well as co-operating and co-align with other agencies and NGO for the achievement of specific goals.a

Violet Kitundu is a 29 years old woman advocating in women empowerment, and provision of entrepreneurial education to the community. Due to the big rising number of women entrepreneurs in my community, I realized that there are more truths that small and medium enterprises women need to know and understand so that their business flourish. 

Empowering women is not all about financial support as it is mostly known, financial support is one among many categories of women empowerment but there are many different areas that undermine women performance in different sectors that are vital to their development and it is high time that any woman that may have access, will and space to stand for other women should take the lead.

 Background Story to founding “Mwanamkesimama?”

“Mwanamke Simama’ was not a coincidence, my desire for serving my community was a dream come true, the desire kept burning inside me ever since I was taking my secondary school, and at that time I was taking few steps to serve my community through writing. I took my ample time to write different articles on various social issues that were of impact to readers who were advocating change in different ways. 

In 2018 I finally decided to focus on women, and it is because I noticed that I need change in different areas so that I can attain my life goals, and because I need change, other women need it too. It was then I decided to register an NGO called ‘Mwanamke Simama” a Swahili word which means “WOMAN ARISE”. “Mwanamke Simama” is an NGO that believes that through acquired skills, experience and modern technology we can work together to the best of our abilities to fight against poverty and engage women in Tanzania to help them improve their development status in all aspects of their lives. 

The origin of The Alumni of Mwanamke Simama comes from a commitment, governed and managed with vision and leadership made with an agenda to fight against low development status of women in my community. Our community can have greater impact when its members are able to act together, in coalition and partnership with others, at all levels from local, national to global.

 

Motivation and Inspiration behind your organization and what you do. 

Traditionally founded, Mwanamke Simama aims at producing positive outcomes at local levels, this is certainly not sufficient to eradicate poverty, and ensure that human rights of the poor and excluded people are sustainable. Most NGOs have not been able to address the causes of massive and increasing low level in development status to women. The solution lies in women ‘s movement, with inclusion of the poor and excluded people, for action against poverty and injustice that cut across national boundaries. I was resolved to form this organization as a basic tool to improve the wellbeing of women  development status in Tanzania.

Measured impact and achievements with Mwanamkesimama

Since its origin we have been able to reach more than 3000 women through different projects and campaigns, “Simamia Lengo” (stand for your goal) was a project that aimed at providing rural women groups with entrepreneurial education and how to raise business and manage them successfully, the project was a result of simple research on the impact of government loans that are given to community groups for the aim of supporting their business and development processes.

But unfortunately I observed that some women groups used their loans for their own personal unproductive reasons like traditional ceremonies and buying themselves luxuries. This miss allocation of government loans made them loose their important assets like land when they had to return interest for their loans because the did not use their loans profitably.

For that reason “Simamia Lengo” gathered women groups and provided with financial education on how to utilize well government loans as well as other loans from credible sources, as well as providing them with entrepreneurial education that helped then in starting businesses as well as managing them.

Challenges and Lessons Learnt.

Among the challenges that many women face is proper understanding of their rights, “Mwanamke Simama” uses its credibility to organize events and trainings that offer women skills and education in different areas, and “Women rights are human rights” was among one successful event that aimed at giving women proper understanding of rights that touch women in their roles in the society. “The land act” “ penal code cap 16” “the marriage act” “the probate and administration act” and “employment and labor relation act” these laws govern women rights in these areas and we chose to highlight these acts because women rights in these areas are mostly denied knowingly or unknowingly. Women in all parts of Africa should have a keen understanding of these rights. With a successful collaboration with legal entities we managed to offer women these educational content that will support their day to day development.

I am mostly motivated with how women themselves are raising up in wanting to attain their rights and stop all oppressive acts against them, women now have seen the importance of making their voices heard, that is a very big step to attain a world where women will be respected, given equal opportunities as men in all areas necessarily. It’s a huge inspiration to work and stand for people who want to help themselves, this is because there will always be a positive response in anything that you raise for their interest because their hearts and minds are ready to receive change.

What led to the establishment of Boresha Radio? Plus, what do you do?

Everyday I take my time to think of ways on how I can reach women, and that’s why I came up with a radio program called “Woman UP” as a producer and presenter of the program aired through an online radio called “Boresha Radio” www.boresha.online I basically highlight different challenges that women face in their day to day development processes and I invite professionals who gives us possible solutions of these challenges, it’s because I have realized women face a lot of challenges in which makes some of them quit their development process.

We all understand that challenges are inevitable in any development processes but we may use any space we get to always remind ourselves that challenges are there to make us stronger and to make us quit. I use this platform and opportunities to reach thousand women and provide them with possible solutions to our day to day challenges.

I have never done any issues concerning broadcasting, so at beginning of my radio program it was not easy but because I knew what I want and what I am aiming at I did not let that fear take over my dreams, my failure would have proven to a thousand women behind me, I would not let that happen, so i used my time to learn and make sure that I present what I have to the community. Through this process I have learned that do not choose to quit, because you never know how many people are saved with your steps, and recommend this to be a lesson to other women too in Africa.

My journey is a success, and it is because I set plans and I don’t quit until I achieve them, challenges make me stronger and prove to me that I can possibly aim higher than I think I can. I work hard, I know we need a world of women who are aware of what is good for them and stand for them, I believe in changes, and for I need change another woman needs them too.

With how far you’ve come, and your success, what achievements do you hope for in the next 5 years?

In the coming five years I am looking forward to having impacted more women locally and internationally, I have great plans to achieve this and I am praying that God stand by me to let this happen because without him we can not take a step. With support from agencies and organizations that aim at providing better room for women we can achieve this, and I am open to any agency that would wish to collaborate with me in supporting women in Africa. 

Some women you consider mentors?

I am inspired by Oprah Winfrey though I don’t know if I should consider her as my mentor, but her work and dedication to her community inspires me, and in Africa Dr Omotolla J. Ekeinde is a definition of a hard working woman, among many other African women she inspires me by her devotion and self respect, as women we can not go anywhere if we do not set grounds for self respect.

Do you have a life philosophy or personal mantra that keeps you steady when the going gets tough?

Everything is possible only if you work hard on it, and everything happens for a reason, so when an idea comes to your mind remember that it did not get there accidentally its because you have the power and will to let it happen so stand and collect yourself to action. That is my life philosophy and it helps me to attain most of my goals. I advise other women to use them too. I believe it will bring positive change to your goals.

 

The LLA Grassroot Series is a monthly interview series that highlights the achievements and journey of African female who has demonstrated exemplary initiative at the grassroots level.

The vision is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through impact at the community level.

It is an off shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.

If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things at the grassroots level, email lead@leadingladiesafrica.org, and she could possibly be featured.

 

 

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