Pastoral Womens Council

Catalysts of Transformation and Equality

Rights & Leadership

Our Programme

Since 2011, PWC has supported pastoralist women in Ngorongoro to establish Women’s Rights and Leadership Forums (WRLFs) which work at the community level to educate about and defend women’s rights, strengthen women’s leadership and public participation, and enhance women’s economic empowerment.


Building on more than a decade of community engagement and development, PWC established the WRLFs as a platform for communities to discuss and resolve a wider variety of issues facing women and girls, including land and property rights, domestic violence issues, instances of child marriage and the inclusion and promotion of women as civil leaders and economic contributors in their communities.

WRLFs comprise elected groups of local women who commit themselves to:     

  • increasing women’s representation in local leadership and government positions;     
  • reducing and preventing instances of gender-based violence and forced marriage and;     
  • resolving gender disparity and rights violations relating to ownership of land and property. 

In 2022 PWC supported the work of  180 members of WRLFs in eight villages in Ngorongoro District. 10 village councils and 240 WRLF members were trained on property and land rights, case reporting and court procedures. 70 groups, village leaders and traditional leaders in Longido District were also trained on gender rights. To date, more than 350 women have applied and received plots of land, increasing food security for families and challenging cultural norms about women’s ownership of property.

Our Approach


We believe it is essential to equip women with the knowledge and skills that will allow them to defend and protect their basic human rights.
PWC aims to educate women on their rights and empower them to defend their rights through the following projects:

to defend their rights through the following projects:


We have been working to ensure that communities are empowered to manage, make decisions and claim the benefits from their natural resources. We been building capacity at different levels; helping to form natural resource committees, holding meetings with councillors, traditional leaders and young people and forming women’s forums across two districts. In 2016, with PWC's support, 160 vulnerable women in Ngorongoro District secured plots of land for housing and farming.


We have established a girls’ rescue centre in Loliondo which provides safety and educational support for at-risk girls in the NCA area. Girls aged 13-25 years who are vulnerable or at risk of gender based violence such as forced and early marriages can be admitted to the centre, which provides safe accommodation for up to 30 girls per year. Support programs within the centre encourage and enable the girls to continue schooling and provide employment preparation to enable their independence. In 2016, PWC rescued 29 Maasai girls who stayed at the centre and were subsequently sponsored to enroll in Form 1 at Emanyata Secondary School.


Gender-based violence remains an issue within patriarchal Maasai communities. We work through WRLFs to provide education to women in on their legal rights of protection and security and empowerment for them to report and resolve these issues. In 2016, 27 cases of domestic violence were reported to local authorities and successfully resolved.


We educate community members on the importance of education and in particular education for girls to increase student enrollment and change societal stereotypes and gender norms that create barriers to educational access and participation for girls. We also sensitise women about the importance of having basic literacy skills and mobilise local schools to provide adult literacy classes. In 2016, over 3,000 people were sensitised about the importance of education for boys and girls. Over 100 women are currently attending adult literacy classes thanks to our intervention.

Impact Stories

Rights & Leadership: Empowering Voices, Transforming Futures.
Explore our videos that highlight the journey of individuals who have embraced their rights and emerged as powerful leaders, driving positive change in their communities.

Independent Review

Read a review of our WRLFs by independent development org Maliasili Initiatives.

Leading the Way

Read about Esupat's journey from WRLF founder to elected local leader.

Strengthening Women's Rights, Empowering Communities

Enjoy this short film about Women's Leadership Forums in northern Tanzania​

Now women stand and speak directly to the meeting about matters that they think should be discussed, or make arguments for their views to be considered, or present issues that they have decided on.  This effects a positive change, especially in regard to the community regaining control over the land and trying to own it. Woman are particularly strong on this, stronger than men.

- ​Merwoyo Nepapai

WRLF member, Mokilal Village