Mini Kilimanjaro event has brought over 100 representatives of smallholder rural women farmers from ten regions of Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar who climbed Mt Uluguru in Morogoro as a symbol of solidarity and raising voices to demand for land rights.
The event is part of the public sensitization on Kilimanjaro initiative and preparations towards the actual climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro in early October and will be followed with the mass assembly. The event was organised by Actionaid and TGNP in collaboration with other Kilimanjaro national steering committee members who are Haki Ardhi, WilDAF Tanzania chapter, PELUM Tanzania and Morogoro paralegal.
Before climbing the mountain, discussion forums were organised focusing on agri- business, land rights, land conflicts and compensation, land and climate change and women rights. The discussions aimed at generating issues and affirm the women charter of demands. Women were grouped into zones representing their regions and further identified and developed their key demands which need to be addressed by respective government authorities.
In presentation of their demands, women explained that the new government is currently putting emphasis and efforts on transforming Tanzania into an industrial economy country hence the rural women demand for plans to consider agri- industries that can directly benefit rural women farmers. ”We are putting a lot of effort and cost to produce crops but we don’t have processing industries to consume them". explained Flora Mlowezi farmer from Mbeya.
Among other demands from rural women includes, abolition of all customary laws which hinder women to access and control land including the use of English language in District Land Tribunals where the hearing is in Swahili but the documentation is done in English. In this case women are forced to hire legal consultants for interpretation which is costly. “Preparing land cases rulling in English language denies our rights to legal remedies…, most of us rural women cannot read and understand English language”. said Bi Rhoda from Chamwino
In addition, rural women urged government to make sure that all agro investments agreements related to agricultural land in the villages should be open and transparent and should consider the interests of all parties because there has been a major challenge for the payment of compensation and land valuations which leads to violation and denial of women land rights.
On the effect of climate change, rural women asserted to government and other stakeholders to educate women in the villages about the effects of climate change and put in place adaptation measures to climate change including promoting use of climate smart agriculture and energy alternatives. This is due to the fact that women are the most affected by the effects of climate change.
Other demands includes government allocation of 10 % in agriculture budget as per Malabo agreement and should reach smallholder women farmers, availability of agriculture inputs, effective policies related to markets and inclusion of women in planning priorities in agriculture and budgeting.
While receiving women demands Mr Sudi Mpili (Morogoro District Executive Officer) on behalf of Morogoro Regional Commissioner commended the work done by AATZ and TGNP for organising the event in Morogoro. He insisted that, the government is ready to ensure the challenges of land issues are addressed to lift the economy of all categories. “I promise you, we are ready to receive, listen and act on all aspects of land and agriculture issues brought us….What is important is cooperation from all stakeholders” said Mr Sudi
On his side, the representative from the Ministry of constitution affairs Mr Charles Mmbando (Principal State Attorney) said that he has taken note of the demands relating to his ministry and will submit them so that they can be worked.
Rural women from Tanzania will join other women from different parts of Africa in October in Mass Assembly at MS-TCDC Arusha in which all their demands will be presented to African leaders for them to Act. Kilimanjaro Initiative is a rural women’s mobilisation from across Africa towards an iconic moment at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro.