Jiendeleze is a Swahili word meaning to develop oneself.
The Jiendeleze Women’s Organisation (JWO) consists of Tanzanian women of all ages from the rural town, Rau. (Just outside Moshi and near Mount Kilimanjaro.) Under the leadership of founder, Jesca Oluto, the organisation was established to help women facing discrimination and oppression in their communities. JWO strives to empower themselves through education and entrepreneurship #GirlPower
JWO provides a safe space where these women can come together, receive training and education, and set up small business initiatives that will help them to become self-sustaining. With the women coming together through JWO, it has helped them overcome the feeling of isolation and powerlessness in their community.
The Jiendeleze women
I say that these women are inspiring as this group of 40+ women are determined to make a change in their lives. Not only does JWO help to bolster the confidence of these women, it also helps to assist them in breaking out of the cycle of poverty.
JWO aides to help the women to become self-sustaining financially to support themselves and their families. For many of these women, they live on less than USD $2 a day – that’s less than your cafe latte. If these women were to live off USD $10 a day, that would be considered comfortable living.
These women are facing all different kinds of perils; struggling alone (their partners have either died or left them), or are in polygamous relationships. The latter puts them at risk of neglect from society, abuse and/or facing sexually transmitted infections.
Their living conditions do not fair better either. Many of the women live in poor housing, consisting of one or two rooms. It is more common than not that multiple people or families share the rooms also. Some of these women even live with their farm animals; they are fearful that someone may steal their living and breathing livelihood away from them at night. Forget the creature comforts of electricity or running water as many of them have to finds means to both. Most spend what little money they have just on kerosene to provide some light.
Agents of change
Being a part of JWO does not just allow these women to help themselves but enriching the community around them. Through educating these women, they are able to teach others in the community. By assisting them with farming, they are able to pass on their skills and be self-sustaining. By teaching them business practices, they are able to learn how to manage a business and product development.
These women continue to inspire with their determination, great enthusiasm and loving nature to help assist with one another. As for me, they continue to motivate me to help bring a positive change in people’s lives around me with their can-do attitude, despite the hardships around them that they face.