Livelihoods and Resilience

We believe that everyone deserves equal rights to economic resources and that financial independence is paramount to ending the cycle of poverty. In northern Tanzania, pastoralist communities, including the Maasai and Hadzabe, continue to be forced off their lands to make way for national parks,  game reserves, sports hunting, mining etc. Pastoralist women and girls are routinely denied the right to own land, property or the means of production… and hence the means of income generation. Our strategic plan (2017-2022) details the part we can play in delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals in relation to increasing prosperity for all. Improved access to communal grazing and economic empowerment of women via microfinance schemes are critical to our work in building the livelihoods and resilience of marginalised communities.

Our Projects

Improving Community Resilience for Pastoralists through Land Rights and Gender Equality

In northern Tanzania, we have just started work with our long-standing partner, the Ujaama Community Resource Team (UCRT), on a new three-year project designed to improve community resilience for pastoralists through land rights and gender equality. The project will secure land for pastoralist communities through Customary Certificates for Right of Occupancy, allowing communal land ownership to be legally recognised. It will also raise awareness of a woman’s right to own land and livestock, and to participate in decision-making. In addition, this project will provide access to village community bank schemes to enhance women’s economic power and self-esteem, and to empower women as agents for change. This is a £250,000 project funded by UK aid from the UK government.  Read more

Increasing Economic Opportunities for Women

We believe the long-term success of our women’s rights work is dependent on women’s economic empowerment via microfinance schemes. It is the reason we are expanding our work in this area. In addition to our work with UCRT and Tusonge outlined above, we are also working on a new project with the Tanzania Women Research Foundation (TAWREF) to improve economic opportunities via VICOBA schemes as a means of addressing the core drivers of high-risk sexual behaviour among female sex workers, people living with HIV and other vulnerable groups. Via our long-term partner, the Pastoral Women’s Council, we are also supporting Maasai VICOBA groups to improve household livelihoods via collective cattle rearing and the setting up of small businesses. Read more

People living with a disability depend on people and the government to make sure they are able to sustain their lives. They are not trusted,  it is not easy to go to a bank with an idea and get funding. I am very glad that African Initiatives believes and trusts Tusonge, and is working with them on this project.

– KP, VICOBA group member

Disability Inclusion in Village Community Banking

Thanks to an award of £180,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, work is underway on a two-year project to bring economic empowerment to disadvantaged people in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. We will be partnering with the Tusonge Community Development Organization (Tusonge means ‘Let’s advance’ in Swahili). Together, we will establish village community banks and deliver vocational, business and financial management training to women suffering extreme gender inequality – in particular, those living with a disability and others surviving on less than 75 pence a day. The project will enable women to start their own businesses and to enjoy a more dignified way of living. In addition, the project will raise awareness of women’s rights and understanding of disability rights. Read more here or click on one of the beneficiary images below to read their story!


Watch Hellen Mushi, Programme Officer at Tusonge talking about the importance of including people living with a disability in this project:

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