Pastoral Womens Council

Codifying equitable norms in pastoralist communities



Indigenous women and girls in Tanzania face multi-layered, intersectional marginalization due to the overwhelming cultural biases towards men. These women have limited personal and economic independence, limited access to productive resources, services and assets and have little scope to influence decision making at any level. Over the past few years, PWC and our partners have engaged with traditional leaders and community members in Longido District to develop a formal and legally binding Declaration on the Rights of pastoralist women and girls which reflects their universally recognized and accepted rights. This Declaration was developed through extensive consultation and in consideration of pastoralists traditions and practices in an effort to promote positive equitable norms and practices.
The Declaration was formally adopted by the Longido District Council in August 2021 and has been presented to the Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs to become a legal document to protect and promote the rights of pastoralist women and girls in Longido.

“I would like to plead to my fellow men, husbands and fathers to take a keen look into women rights to own property including inheritance. In this meeting we are being taught and asked to respect these rights for women. The law is very clear that we must respect these rights- because if we do not, the law will take its course.” Laigwanani (Traditional Leader) Peter Sangeti

In another innovative gender rights intervention, an interactive gender transformative course called Secure Your Family’s Future (SYFF) has been facilitated by PWC. 670 pastoralist women and men in Ngorongoro and Longido districts have been reached with information contained in the curricula. Designed for men and women of East Africa, it aims to change behaviours and mediate social norms related to women’s land and property rights, including ownership, decision-making on land management and land inheritance.
We recently conducted an evaluation to assess changes in knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, future intentions, and perceptions of peer norms related to women’s land and property rights among participants in the SYFF courses. The evaluation used most significant change stories to document changes in norms and practices on women’s land and property rights. Findings indicate that in the areas in which the course has been undertaken, men are allocating land to daughters (regardless of marital status) as they do to sons, including women as joint owners of the land and bequeathing land to daughters and wives and that land management structures ensure gender quality in membership, and include women’s priorities (e.g., agriculture, grazing, etc.) in land use plans. Check out the findings and links to the SYFF curricula here
“The value of engaging women in decision-making is already bearing fruit” Oltimbau Nuiya

As part of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, Pastoral Women’s Council spent a week traveling from village to village meeting with over 700 women, all members of our Women’s Rights and Leadership Forums and raising awareness on GBV. These forums bring champions together to learn about and advocate for the rights of women and girls in their communities. Each member received a sheep or goat to celebrate her achievements and support her continuing work as a change maker and role model for others in her community