On 1st October 2021, Her Initiative in partnership with TWAA launched a program dubbed Stawi Lab focusing on strengthening youth-led organizations working on girls and women’s rights. Stawi is a Swahili word that literally means ‘grow or sprout’ – the program aims at building and improving youth-led organizations structures, systems, and access to enough resources that will enhance and advance their work on girls and women rights

Stawi Lab delivers on its objectives through strategies such as capacity building, mentorship, and seed funding.

The program has within a short time received immerse support from like-minded individuals and organizations. Over the course of one month, we are proud to have attained partnerships from well renowned Executive Directors and Officers from prestigious institutions such as Msichana Initiative, DOT Tanzania, Bright Jamii Initiative, Tai Tanzania, Boshant Consultancy Ltd, ITM Tanzania Ltd, Startup Grind Dar in training and mentoring the selected organizations in the project.

Our primary beneficiaries were very glad and eager to start their journey to institutional growth with Stawi Lab and their reactions proved the viability of the Stawi Lab project in so many ways, we’re able to capture some of their comments on the project during and after training sessions:

“The last week session was amazing, I have learned so many things concerning organizational development and structure, I have shared what I learned with our team members in our organization, we believe it’s going to sharpen and strengthen our organization work. And we are looking forward to learning more and more for the betterment of our organization and the community we are serving.” Said Hortencia Nuhu, the founder of Her Movement. 

On the same note, the representative from Msichana Imara Foundation, Eliwimina shared how the training has benefited her and her organization.  

“The first training of STAWI LAB has really impacted our organization, it helped me to review the vision mission objective, and goals of our organization. After the session, we had a meeting with the Msichana Imara Foundation team to discuss our organization! We believe after the program; we will be able to address many of our challenges.” Commented Eliwimina. 

Another beneficiary who shared with our team about how the program has been beneficial is Jessica from Dreams Defenders. Jessica told our team that if it was not for the training facilitated under the Stawi Lab program her organization would have continued missing a lot of very important aspects for growth and development. 

“We continue to learn a lot of things from STAWI Lab training and the trainers. This week we learned about Monitoring and Evaluation and Human resource systems. We have learned that these are very important aspects to consider in an organization as it contributes not only to its growth but ensures the success of its intended programs/activities.” Said Jessica. 

The overall aim of the program is to foster an inclusive environment for girls and young women to have equal representation and contribution to development through enhancing access to knowledge, skills, and resources to youth-led organizations supporting women’s rights. Participants benefited from training and mentorship on various topics including financial sustainability for resilient and sustainable organizational growth. Training and mentorship on financial sustainability were delivered by the Executive Director of Tai Tanzania, Ian Tarimo. Tarimo shared his insights on how he as a young leader of the youth-led organization has managed to make Tai Tanzania stand the stiff competition and thrive.

“Financial Sustainability is the root of organizational sustainability. An organization should not only depend on donor funding but rather should create partnerships to impart skills, network, and find other income-generating activities that will help sustain the organization for a long time. I am glad to have shared my inputs on sustainability with youth-led organizations from Stawi lab, I strongly believe when they work on it, it will greatly reward them.” Said Tarimo.

Speaking during one of the mentorship sessions, Sekela Yona, Gender Expert for DOT Tanzania insisted on the importance of paradigmatic changes for organizational growth and sustainability. Ms. Sekela insisted on the importance of overcoming barriers such as gender stereotypes that hinders women’s emancipation in leadership and carrier.   

“Immediately after we are born, there are certain things that are provided to us according to our sex, for instance, a girl is given pink clothing and there are certain games for her to play, how to act and she has to follow that. Such stereotypes should be avoided in an organization. I advise all participants in Stawi Lab to consider this as they will make a major shift in their organizational values, you can lose great talent, just because of sexism.” Said Sekela. 

Stawi Lab is an initiative by TWAA in partnership with Her Initiative to address challenges that small scale youth-led organizations face when fighting for girls and women’s rights such as insufficient sustainable and scalable model, competency regarding the target community and interventions, inconsistent results, and accountability mechanisms that can help them grow their institutions.

The program has reached 20 youth-led organizations in its first months of implementation.

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