In a four-day training we work with the entire village leadership of 30 women and men, supporting them to become better listeners and be more appreciative and facilitative in their interaction with others. Transformative leadership skills are developed and maintained through reflective training and coaching. Participatory, appreciative and image-based learning channels (Alternative Language Channels) are used to enable people to “see” their leadership questions, surface early socialization on gender roles and understand how they have been using power at work and with their families. UZIKWASA uses a variety of reflective tools, all of them fostering self-awareness and responsibility-taking for personal development. The purpose of coaching is to provide follow up support to village leader groups and to individual leaders around challenges they have faced as they tried to change their leadership practice and address their personal leadership challenges. Coaching is done in a cascade process supporting each individual leader to continuously work on his/her previously identified individual change objective. At the same time, the approach provides space for collective learning among the entire village leadership group and planning the way forward based on new emerging questions.
- Minna Dada Camps facilitate the integration of school- and village-level strategies for promoting gender justice through a powerful four-day event that starts with gathering testimony from some of Pangani’s most vulnerable: school children. After a participatory session with students to learn about the abuse and violence challenges they face first-hand, our team facilitates parents, school, religious and village leaders, and community members to work with these issues. This carefully organized group of stakeholders are uniquely positioned to effect change in responses to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and intimate partner violence (IPV). Seeing the challenges in the community through the eyes of children is a powerful catalyst for stakeholders, from mothers to head teachers to village council members, to reflect deeply on their personal role in finding solutions to SGBV and IPV.
- Two days of planning produces meaningful steps toward gender justice: leaders committed to issues through new understandings of violence and abuse in general, and in their community in particular, and aggressive strategies for ensuring the safety of women and children in reporting different forms of abuse. The final two days of the Minna Dada Camp engages the broader community in the dialogue through theatre, village cinema and coverage of the issues uncovered and response planning on Pangani FM. Minna Dada camps effectively close systems gaps previously identified by UZIKWASA in addressing different forms of abuse, and reinvigorate the commitment of leaders to ensure rights violations are addressed. As we implement Minna Dada camps in all of Pangani District’s villages, we are seeing government leaders join hands with school committees and other leaders to put protective measures in place.
Through a four-day participatory planning process that involves the entire village community, UZIKWASA facilitates each village to identify pressing social challenges, understand their root causes and develop strong action plans for effective responses. Our Village Participatory Planning Tool which we created in 2005 has been adapted to our deepening focus from community level HIV/AIDS planning to leadership challenges to abuse and violence inside people’s homes. These action plans are regularly reviewed to continually deepen the approaches taken by communities to address social problems by building on previous success and on newly identified development challenges. Currently, the process involves facilitating effective action to all forms of intimate partner violence and sexual abuse of children.
Each year, village leadership groups compete for an Excellence in Leadership Award based on a set of performance criteria which were put together by village leaders themselves, in collaboration with district leaders and UZIKWASA. During the year, village leaders conduct exchange visits to learn from each other and develop in-depth understanding on how well-performing villages have been successful. The award has been a tremendous motivation for villages to perform better. Since the first award in 2010, leadership performance has improved across the district with an increasing number of well performing villages every year. The award celebration has become a huge event, bringing together thousands of people and their leaders from every corner of Pangani district. Pangani FM and national TV stations broadcast the event live.
Most components of the intervention package facilitate men and women leaders to surface deeply entrenched gender norms and understand how these norms influence the use power across gender. Through the mentorship program women leaders receive additional support that builds self-efficacy and confidence among women toward contesting for and effectively fulfilling leadership positions. The aim is to strengthen women leaders as they pursue female specific development agenda including GBV, IPV and gender justice. This provides them with a comparative advantage to male leaders when they present themselves to female voters during the election campaign.
Pangani FM has become one of UZIKWASA’s strongest media tool, reinforcing every other component of our intervention package. The radio covers Pangani District, parts of Zanzibar, and will soon reach most of Tanga region. Through live broadcasting of community events and through interactive radio programs Uongozi wa Mguso (Leadership that touches) Sauti ya Mwanamke (Women’s Voice) Leaders Talk and Youth Talk, Pangani FM provides a platform for communities to engage in a continuous dialogue about pressing social issues.
Training Grassroots Journalists
Pangani FM’s professional journalists and media trainer alongside UZIKWASA facilitators have been building the capacity of young people from Pangani through a unique training that combines basic journalism and reflective leadership training. By the end of 2016, almost 70 young people completed their training and many of them have become highly competent professionals. That is why we are now making efforts to develop our successful training program into an accredited media training center.
The messaging power of media has been an integral part of UZIKWASA’s programming for over a decade. But we don’t just distribute films and literature with positive messages in the hopes that something will stick. We use our intimate knowledge of the communities we work with to tell their stories on the screen, over the radio and in print. Using local actors, shooting on location in Pangani District, and writing context-centered content, our communities quite literally see themselves reflected in stories that in turn make them reflect on the social problems faced by their neighbors, friends and family members.
Our latest film, AISHA, tells the story of a girl who is gang raped as retributive violence by men who think she’s too proud. Aisha’s story, told from the perspective of the victim herself, asks audiences to deeply reflect on victim blaming, and on their own roles in the community that allows this to happen. The film also shows why systems so often fail to prosecute perpetrators. Film showings in every village in Pangani start a dialogue that continues on dedicated interactive radio programs on Pangani FM and in people’s homes in the pages of illustrated AISHA books. From concept to execution to distribution, our films, theatre, children’s literature and radio programming are focused on the communities we know best.
UZIKWASA offers special AISHA Film workshops targeting development practitioners and gender activists to reflect and surface their own perceptions related to GBV in order to work with communities more consciously and more effectively.
How do we monitor success?
UZIKWASA’s approach to fostering lasting social change is complex, and its outcomes are nuanced. That’s why our M&E system collects a variety of information in Pangani communities, from indexed case studies to police data, and from community diaries to participatory surveys. We integrate process monitoring with continuous impact tracking, and weekly reflective team meetings maintain the relevance of our intervention package as it unfolds across the district.
To complement our M&E system with deeper research and learning, we partner with social scientists to design and conduct peer-reviewed research that helps us see deeper into the issues we address. In 2014, an evaluation found that UZIKWASA’s innovative approaches are working to effect change on multiple levels. In 2017, the results of our five-year study of community diaries showed dramatic changes in the way Pangani community members discuss violence, childhood, gender justice and leadership.
Our interventions are staying in Pangani District, but our learning is not.
UZIKWASA Learning Site
As a learning organization, UZIKWASA values collaborative learning and sharing within the organization and with partners and stakeholders. While we are keen to visit others to learn about effective approaches and what works in different settings, we also provide space for others to share with us, visit our communities and spend time and participate in reflective leadership workshops and trainings.
We believe in the transformative power of reflective methodologies and the need to instill an organizational culture of reflection to become credible change agents.
Would you like to be inspired by this culture? Welcome to UZIKWASA, and welcome to Pangani.
Our Culture and traditions are subject to a dynamic process of change. UZIKWASA engages people in a dialogue guided by the concept “holding on and letting go” and the question “what is still dear to us and what do feel we would like to let go? We believe that through an in-depth understanding of traditions and practices among all community groups they are enabled to build a new cultural identity for all Pangani residents, a progressive culture that respects the rights of each community, women and men, girls and boys.
UZIKWASA facilitates community members to learn and share together. This exciting process of change will eventually be displayed in the heritage centre. It will form the basis of a dynamic platform for Panganians to share their diversity, learn from each other as they move on to a brighter future of peace and mutual understanding.
With the help of community artisans the historic 19th century Rehema Abdul House in Pangani town was restored to its old glory and turned into a Heritage Centre for the People of Pangani. A panel exhibition illustrates Pangani‘s early days as an ancient trade center up to the late 20th century, the history of the building and the people who lived there.
Since it’s launch in March 2015 the center has attracted over 3000 visitors per year, over 80 per cent from the local community. The Centre houses a photo exhibition from the 19th century and an archaeological exhibition of artifacts from the building. People’s involvement in the restoration work, their contribution to archaeological excavation and the history of the building has stimulated a lively dialogue about Pangani culture and heritage. Pangani FM community radio plays a crucial role in maintaining this dialogue and in generating an increasing body of information and knowledge from the over 20 diverse ethnic groups in the district and their diverse perceptions and traditions.