Community Forums updates - March 2009

The Ujamaa Community Resource Trust in partnership with TNRF facilitated a visit throughout Longido District to introduce the Community Forums initiative to local women's groups. The visit received a positive response from the women in Longido and will start to establish women's leadership forums.

Led by the Ujamaa Community Resource Trust (CRT), the Community Forums team visited all wards in Longido District to introduce an initiative to support women's groups to engage more effectively with local decision making bodies, including customary leadership institutions and local government. The effort to increase the participation of women in decision making aims to strengthen long term goal of reducing the double marginalization of women due to domestic violence and lack of political involvement. Women are often on the frontlines of natural resource management, because women are responsible for water and firewood collection by virtue of the traditional household labour divisions. As water and forest resources become scarcer, the direct involvement of women in resource allocation and management becomes crucial to conflict management. In Longido's villages key issues of concern identified for further debate by the women residents included domestic violence caused by alcoholism among men and the lack of land rights for women. The general response of the women to Community Forum's proposal was positive and steps are being taken to lay the groundwork for women's leadership forums at the ward level throughout Longido District. The women's leadership forums will have links to the customary leadership institutions of men at the ward and district levels.