2017 Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow Judith Bagachwa is currently completing her fellowship with HelpAge International Tanzania (HAITAN). She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Hubert Kairuki in Tanzania and is the founder and director of the Jb Geriatric and HIV Center in Dar Es Salaam. In this blog post, Judith describes her experience working on the “Afya Kibaha - International Health Ageing through a Life Course Approach” project to promote healthy living practices across generations of community members in Tanzania.
Pictured above is Judith in discussion with a community member from Bamba village about the village's 2-acre farming activity.
As a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow with HelpAge Tanzania, I have learned and gained a lot from working on the "Afya Kibaha 2025" project, a community-based approach designed to promote healthy living practices across all ages. This project takes a life course approach to health in view of the role that intergenerational relationships, families, and communities have in promoting health across all ages. It integrates a community-based approach to “reduce modifiable risk factors for non-communicable diseases and underlying social determinants through creation of health-promoting environments.” The project further seeks to increase a sustainable youth engagement and strengthened intergenerational partnerships to support healthy living practices.
The goals of the Afya Kibaha 2025 project are to:
1. Support health promotion and improve health among all ages
2. Prevent/delay the onset of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
3. Support the health and functioning of older persons with non-communicable diseases.
Project Training and Community Life Competence Approach
During the project, we conducted a total of five training sessions involving 240 participants from 10 communities: Mlandizi, Mtambani, Mwendapole A, Mwendapole B, Boko Mnemela, Mnemela Kibaoni, Mharakani, Bamba, Picha ya Ndege and Kongowe. Through the use of our CLCP approach (Community Life Competence Process), community members were trained and asked to come up with their own health projects that would benefit their communities. The CLCP process aims at promoting self-reliance by stimulating older persons to appreciate their strength and abilities. The CLCP facilitates the empowerment of people and communities to discover and use their own strengths to address life concerns.
Participants planning and strategizing about their community dream
Family Health Mentors
During the trainings, six intergenerational family health mentors from each community were selected and given the task of educating their respective communities about health issues, especially on non-communicable diseases, and guiding families to live healthy lives by visiting health clinics, doing regular exercises, and setting up vegetable gardens. The aim of the trainings was to ensure that healthy lives are promoted and advocated to all ages (Children, Youth, Adults and Older Persons). Community dreams and action plans therefore focused on promoting intergenerational healthy practices to better protect communities from health risks. As the participants who attended the trainings represented their respective communities, they were able to identify challenges within their communities and later come up with ideas on how they can solve the health-related issues. As a team, these community members explored all the opportunities and developed action plans towards achieving their community dreams.
Community vegetable garden at Mtambani
Community members from Mwndapole A, doing regular exercises in the early morning before sunrise
Outcomes from the project observed to date:
- An increasing number of people are understanding the importance of doing physical exercises and joining the active ageing groups.
- Community members had been encouraged and motivated to have vegetable gardens, both at family level and community level; as a result, family members are now eating nutritional food staff from their own gardens.
- More youths, adults, and older persons are going for health checkups.
Celebrating at the Learning Festival
In March 2017, all ten communities were invited to come and share their experiences at a learning festival. During the festival, video clips from the different communities and their projects were shown. Through these and the testimonies of how the Intergenerational project had helped children, youths and older persons, all were able to see how the CLCP approach had a positive impact on people’s lives in Kibaha. The CLCP approach required people to use their own resources and strengths to achieve their goals at both the family and community level, guiding them on how not to be dependents and instead to seek out and apply their own resources. The festival helped people realize that they can do something better for themselves and improve on their lives.
Women from different communities displaying their own initiative -- handmade products -- at the Learning Festival in Kibaha
Bibi Elizabeth Nkwela checking her blood pressure at the health desk during the festival
Participants from Mtambani village at the Learning Festival
I am so thankful I was able to conduct this project. I have been able to see how a young generation can work with an older generation and bring change in the community. Through HelpAge and the Hilton Prize Coalition, a door has been opened for me and my organization.
Ms. Eunice Musubika is currently a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow with HelpAge Tanzania, an organization that supports older people in more than 65 countries to lead full, secure lives and overcome discrimination. Originally from Uganda, she holds a degree in Guidance and Counseling from Kyambogo University in Kampala. In this blog post, Eunice writes about her field research with intergenerational households in Tanzania to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and support overall health promotion.
Stimulating Intergenerational Households in Rural Tanzania through the Community Life Competence Process (CLCP)
by Eunice Musubika
In June 2016, I began work as a mentor and facilitator with HelpAge Tanzania on a project entitled “Extending Healthy Aging through Life Courses: Community-Based Interventions in Rural Tanzania.”
This project took place in the Kibaha district of Tanzania, which I visited in August 2016. The purpose of the visit was to provide technical assistance in the areas of Community Life Competence Process (CLCP) facilitation. CLCP is based upon the core belief that communities can respond to their own issues. They are able to envision, to act, to mobilize resources, to assess progress to adapt, and to share their learning with others.
Alongside a team of partners, I monitored and provided field mentoring support to Family Health Mentors (FHMTs), a group of community members who have been trained to support families in living healthy lifestyles and link them to health care services. I also delivered FHMT training in five communities in order to facilitate the development of a family and community-centered approach to support health promotion. This approach improves actions among all age groups, prevents and delays the onset of non-communicable diseases, and improves the overall health and functionality of older persons.
A SALT visit is the first step of CLCP. The SALT approach (Stimulate Appreciate Link and Transfer) reveals the capacity of the community to build a vision for the future, to assess the community's situation, act, adapt and learn. It helps in building relationships with communities and promoting community self-reliance by stimulating intergenerational households to appreciate the strengths and abilities of the family members to live healthy lifestyles. We practiced SALT by stimulating families to start vegetable gardens in their compounds for their consumption and easy access. We also encouraged them to complete physical activities and seek health care.
I carried out fifteen SALT home visits to intergenerational households in Kibaha to support the FHMTs. The families I visited were growing vegetables to sell because it is a very lucrative business. Many older persons said that they were able to look after their families by selling vegetables, and that the activity didn’t consume much of their own personal well-being.
(Visiting a vegetable garden in Mlandizi, Kibaha district, where older persons grow vegetables as an income-generating activity)
One household the facilitators and I visited was in Mwendapole, Tanzania. Asha, a 74-year-old woman, has her granddaughter and daughters who stay nearby and visit her often. Asha’s husband passed away some years ago due to diabetes, and she is sometimes bedridden due to body pains and heart disease. Asha felt a lot of responsibility and stress about taking care of the family. Recently she felt that the stress was increasing her blood pressure, but she has not managed to walk to the pharmacy due to body pains. For the past few years she used to cultivate their garden, which is far away, to ensure the family has access to basic goods, but she can no longer go to the garden because of her back and joint pain. Her daughters give her support once in a while when they come to visit, and she will sometimes stay with her granddaughter Lailati, and other children check on her often. During the visit we practiced SALT in the following ways:
S- We stimulated Asha to walk around her house and also start a vegetable garden; we stimulated the granddaughter to massage her grandmother with oil to reduce the back and joint pain.
A- We appreciated Asha's efforts to bring up her children. Despite being a widow, she had been able to build a house and pay school fees for her children from selling vegetables and other food stuffs.
L- We learnt of her skills and strengths that helped her manage to look after her family. We linked her to medical care and encouraged her to go the Health Centre, accompanied by the FHMT.
T- We transferred knowledge to the family about healthy lifestyle activities, for example eating vegetables, doing physical exercise and going for medical checkups.
(Aisha moving around with the support of the chair)
It is clear that older persons have many strengths and are willing to take actions to improve their health and well-being using their own local resources. They require less support from the NGOs and others if they are stimulated and empowered to change their attitudes from being recipients of care to taking the lead in providing care to themselves.
Thanks to my Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship and to HelpAge Tanzania, I was able to use my skills to reach out to the Tanzanian intergenerational community and share knowledge about how the older persons and youth in Uganda, my home country, are managing their health and livelihood through CLCP. I have been practicing CLCP now for four years, and it is truly empowering to see intergenerational households in Tanzania taking action and using their own strengths to improve their health and well-being.
Ms. Gloria Jimwaga is currently completing a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship through Landesa, a Seattle-based land rights NGO and Hilton Prize Laureate. Gloria is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Rural Development and Natural Resources Management from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and also holds a degree from the University of Dar es Salaam. In this blog post, Gloria writes about her experiences as a Spring 2016 Fellow in Seattle through Landesa’s Center for Women’s Land Rights.
Advocating for Women’s Land Rights in Tanzania
by Gloria Jimwaga
My passion for women’s land rights began in 2010 when I began working for HAKIARDHI, The Land Rights Research & Resources Institute, a non-governmental organization that advocates for secure land rights in Tanzania. During my training, I visited a village in Kilindi, Tanzania, home to a patriarchal society where men have greater decision-making power than women. I asked a woman about the land that both she and her husband had owned for years. She replied, “What land? My husband’s land!” I asked her how she would define her land rights, and she said, “It belongs to my husband; if I’m to be divorced I would leave with the bags which I came with.” This conversation made me aware of some of the injustices that women face. I worked at HAKIARDHI for the next four years, driven to support land rights for women and communities.
Tanzania’s land ownership system is among the most progressive within Africa. Legally, Tanzanian women have the same rights as men to hold property and land. The challenge, however, is what happens in practice. In rural areas in Tanzania, women’s land rights are often insecure. Despite women being the drivers of agricultural production in Tanzania, they tend to be alienated and separated from their ownership of land compared to men.
The problem becomes even more complex when dealing with women’s inheritance practices. For example, many women, especially in rural areas, depend on access to land through a man—a father, brother, uncle, or husband. This can become complicated if the man dies, and the issue of inheritance is raised.
(Women participate in land use plan process in Kidabaga, Iringa, Tanzania; photo credit HAKIARDHI)
Women are also too often left out of the household decision-making related to the income generated by their land. Although Tanzanian law protects a woman’s right to participate fully in household decisions, their rights are often circumvented by customary practices. As a woman myself, I would like to see to it that all women in my country have secure land rights that are protected within the legal system and implemented without gender discrimination.
The global food and oil crises have led to an increase of large-scale land investment in Africa. As agricultural investment continues to grow in Tanzania, my fear is that women’s land rights will continue to be swept under the rug, which will have devastating effects in the future.
(Bioshape farm left unattended by investor at Mavuji Villlage Kilwa District, Tanzania; photo credit HAKIARDHI)
As a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow, I am working with Landesa through the Center for Women’s Land Rights. Landesa has a wealth of experience and knowledge on women’s land rights, and through my fellowship I am conducting research on large-scale land-based investment and its implications for women’s land rights in Tanzania. The research output will identify gender gaps as well as any successful models that exist for supporting women’s land rights, and will include recommendations and opportunities for future initiatives. The fellowship is a great way to learn how to incorporate gender relations within the issue of land rights.
There is an opportunity to further strengthen women’s land rights in Tanzania by addressing both legal and customary gaps. This can be done through legal reforms, research, community awareness building, strengthening of farmers’ associations and by improving the agricultural value chain so that women will be at an advantage. These interventions and strategies will support many women in the realization of their land rights by providing mechanisms to make these rights possible and retainable: Women will no longer state that their land “belongs to my husband only,” but instead will recognize and claim that land “belongs to both of us.”