Panda Digital Movement is a project that aims to create a platform for young women entrepreneurs to explore knowledge, share skills, and resources pertaining to their business activities. The movement also intends to stimulate debate and conversations around issues that affect prospects for their business growth such as sextortion, business formalization, and mobilizing capital.
Youth unemployment continues to rise in our country and the world at large and this has led young women to encounter different challenges including sextortion, abuse, and neglect. For instance, according to Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA), up to 89 percent of women in the public sector have experienced sextortion while looking for a job, a promotion, or while requesting a service. And most of them are young women.
Section 25 of Tanzania’s Anti-Corruption Law of 2007 states that:
“Anybody being in the position of power or authority, who in the exercise of his authority, demands or imposes sexual favors, or any other favors on any person as a condition for giving employment, a promotion, a right, a privilege, or any other preferential treatment, commits an offense and shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine of not exceeding five million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.”
Despite the fact that the laws of Tanzania are strictly against all forms of corruption, the problem is still continuously affecting young women especially those in search of employment and those who have self-employed. As part of addressing the problem, the Panda Movement deploys various initiatives including training, mentorship, and awareness campaigns.
Panda Digital is part of the solution introduced by Panda Movement, the platform is solving these problems by creating a safe space where female entrepreneurs can access information about market opportunities. On the other hand, Panda Digital is also a space for female entrepreneurs to vent about the challenges they experience on their journey to financial freedom.
To realize the objectives of the Panda Movement, Her Initiative has formed a group of young women champions who are willingly volunteering to speak out against sextortion, educating and providing awareness on their social media platforms. Recently, some volunteers shared their stories on their social media platforms as captured and translated below:
“There was a time I used to sell cashew nuts and I went to a supermarket to ask for tender. When I got there, the boss asked me to sleep with him in return for the tender that would pay me Tsh 800,000 for supplying the cashew nuts, I said no and that’s where our agreement ended. I didn’t get the tender for supplying cashew nuts at that supermarket.”
“Sextortion does exist and a lot of people are experiencing it, but the society is still not ready to open up for change and we need to put in some extra effort in order to change the stigma around sextortion in our society. Because a lot of young women find it normal for them to receive requests for sexual favors as long as they receive something that will benefit them, something that they don’t have to work and sweat for in order to get it. We should keep on giving out education to change the stigma around sextortion. I am grateful to be a part of this great movement”
~Dorice Kaijage, Sextortion Champion
Together with online campaigns, Her Initiative held discussions about sextortion on (date) hosted by VOYOTA a non-governmental organization in Dar es Salaam. During the discussion one of our sextortion champions, Glory Kimario presented our campaign at the meeting highlighting the importance of educating society and the need to join hands in fighting against sextortion.
Her Initiative hosted 4 online forums with topics ranging from “Ways that Sextortion is Killing Young Female Entrepreneurs’ Dreams” to “Ukatili wa kijinsia unachochea vipi matukio ya Rushwa ya Ngono” to “Harakati za kupinga ukatili wa kijisnia unachochea vipi mapambano dhidi ya rushwa ya ngono” and lastly “Kuku kwa Sekta ya Ujasiriamali ndani ya miaka 60 ya uhuru kuna changia vipi ongezeko/ kupungua kwa rushwa za ngono” with guest speakers Dr. Katanta Simwanza, who is a gender expert, and other speakers including Given Edward, CEO of Mtabe and MyElimu, Khadija Kimaya an entrepreneur, Kennedy Mmari CEO of Serengeti Bytes, Lucy Moto communications officer at Her Initiative, Evans Rwamuhuru National coordinator MenEngage, Happiness Itros, Joseph Marekela, Lilian Lema, Ummylkher Yassin President of TIMUN 2021, Godlove Isdory SRHR and GBV consultant of Youth choice of change, Obadiah Fredrick, Frida Musilimu Sextortion Champion, Mwalimu marwa, Vera Program Officer of Wildaf, and Fellizcollection sharing important insights with participants.
In Tanzania, nearly nine in every 10 women in the public sector are estimated to have been sexually harassed. Panda Movement seeks to contribute to creating a safe space for female entrepreneurs in Tanzania for more women to attain economic freedom.