Pastoral Womens Council

Unleashing Potential, Transforming Lives: Empowering Maasai Women through Economic Independence

Economic Empowerment

Our Programme

Maasai women have experienced high levels of marginalisation for many years. Examples of this can be seen in their lack of property ownership (including livestock), high mortality rates, low levels of education, forced marriages, heavy workloads and physical suffering. The Maasai community is very patriarchal, with minimal opportunities for women to challenge these circumstances or influence community decisions. For these reasons, Maasai women are among the poorest in Tanzanian society.

PWC’s economic empowerment programs aim to address gender inequality, poverty and marginalisation of women by enabling them to become self-reliant. Programs focus on empowering women to take control of their own development through solidarity and collective and individual income generating activities. 

Our Approach

Through economic empowerment support, Maasai women are becoming financially secure and contributing to their families’ wellbeing and access to important social services such as education and healthcare. Click to read about PWC’s projects that empower women and improve their economic circumstances:


The Women's Solidarity Bomas (WSB) facilitate their members to gain property rights and generate income through the ownership of property and revolving livestock projects. This is important in the context of Maasai society where women currently do not ordinarily own cattle in their own right. WSBs function as a revolving livestock exchange, where one woman receives goats and then later passes along an equal number of goats to another woman. The WSBs also crossbreed cattle to improve the health of cows in the area. WSBs promote property ownership, income generation opportunities, and it helps gain community respect by demonstrating women’s abilities. PWC currently support 5 WSBs across two districts. The WSBs are a testimony to solidarity among the women, and have become a basis for their mobilization for the purposes of development action. Women talk about increased respect from their men as a result of the boma, which has demonstrated to the men that women are capable of creating and managing wealth, redefining property relations within the community. According to one WSB member “... the solidarity boma has empowered the women and changed how they see themselves and even how the men relate with them. We are now able to stand up and talk in community meetings and be listened to.”


IGGs bring women together to collectively invest and share in the management and workload of income generating initiatives. PWC leadership in the Ngorongoro District supported the establishment and strengthening of 120 groups in 2015, resulting in more than 1,000 Maasai women improving their households’ livelihoods through collective cattle rearing and small business establishment. In Longido district, VICOBA groups supported by PWC held over 195 million TSH ($89,450 USD) in savings at the end of 2016.


Our Water Projects, including the construction of earth dams and drilling of boreholes, instantly benefit thousands of people who receive access to safe drinking water. Beyond that, they significantly lessen the burden on women who previously had to walk long distances to fetch water, enabling them to dedicate time to income generating activities. In 2016, PWC supported the drilling of deep boreholes in four remote villages in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, benefitting over 10,000 community members.

VICOBA Microcredit Project

PWC’s Microcredit Programme started in 2000 with 20 women in Loliondo. VICOBAs (Village Community Banks) are savings and loans groups which are established as self-sufficient schemes led and sustained by the women members. VICOBAs provide women with financial support to fund initiatives that enhance the wellbeing of their families through income generation, land and home ownership, and security for the future. 

Expanding the VICOBA project was PWC’s economic empowerment focus for 2022. In establishing a VICOBA, PWC provides training on financial management and guidance for how micro-savings and loans work as well as resources for VICOBA management including membership guidelines, cash safe-boxes and pass-books where saving investments and loans are recorded. As at 2022 PWC now supports 575 VICOBAs, serving almost 13,000 women. 

With a 90% repayment rate, women are demonstrating discipline about saving to meet loan repayments. The impact of the VICOBAs is rapidly being seen. More pastoralist women are achieving economic independence thus allowing them to invest in what is important to them: education for their children, especially girls; and to improving their family’s nutrition and overall well-being.


Impact Stories

Witness the Power of Education: Transforming Communities One Story at a Time.
Hear from Pastoralist Girls as They Share Inspiring Tales of Change.

Livelihoods Through Livestock

Watch this video about the impact of PWC's livestock programmes.

Recipe for Success

Meet Furaha and the 'Ebeneza B' entrepreneur chefs.

Engaresero Start-Ups

Read about the women of Engaresero, who are changing their own lives with a little help from PWC.

“My husband now values and trusts me more than before I had a business. I think it is because I am now contributing to the family earnings. Our relationship has grown strong because we now share all of our concerns.”

- ​Nasha Ikoyo

Nanyorri Econommic Group Member, Ketumbeine Village