Our Work

Founded in 1997, African Initiatives is a Bristol-based international development charity. We empower women and girls living in rural Tanzania to demand and exercise their human rights – the right to an education, the right to healthcare, the right to own property/land and the right to be part of decision-making processes.

We have particular expertise in working with the Maasai, one of the most male-dominated societies on earth. Women and girls living in Maasai communities experience extreme gender inequality. Girls are routinely denied the chance to go to school and, instead, are married off at primary school age in exchange for cattle. If you would like to know how African Initiatives started, please read this blog post.

Our Programme Areas

Girls’ Education We help girls go to school – ensuring they have every chance to succeed. We tackle issues like early forced marriage and gender-based violence which cause girls to drop out of education. We train teachers to be inspirational role models for both girls and boys.

Women’s Rights We promote gender equality and empower women as decision-makers in their communities and as key agents for social change. Women’s rights are at the heart of all our projects.

Health Rights We educate communities on sexual and reproductive health, including HIV/AIDS, family planning and maternal care. We help people access and understand their rights to access health services.

Livelihoods and Resilience We support rural communities, like the Maasai, to improve their livelihoods and resilience, through better access to land and village community bank schemes, which offer access to credit and business and financial management training.

Problems We Address

  • Gender InequalityWomen and girls are routinely denied the right to education, land and livelihood resources. We strive for full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life.
  • Poor access to and quality of educationIn Tanzania one million children aged 7 to 13 are not in school. Poor teaching standards, low attendance, lack of resources and infrastructure challenges such as lack of water, sanitation and hygiene mean that many who are in school do not acquire basic literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Poor access to HIV/AIDS and sexual reproductive health servicesGender-based discrimination impacts freedom to decide when to reproduce and how often. For those with few resources, access to health services is limited and with a current HIV rate of 4.7% of the adult population, there is a pressing need to provide stronger health, contraceptive and STI preventative services.
  • Poor access to livelihood resourcesIn Africa there are multidimensional challenges of poverty, population growth, land degradation, deforestation, unsustainable watershed management, climate variability, and unsustainable land use which have undermined communities’ resilience to natural and economic shocks.
  • Marginalisation of pastoralist communitiesWith the rise of private commercialisation, pastoralist communities, including the Maasai continue to be forced off their lands for uses such as national parks. We strive to combat marginalisation by political, social and economic forces through supporting communities to identify, agree and secure their borders.
  • Marginalisation of people living with a disabilityPersons with a disability face a mountain of attitudinal, physical and institutional barriers. These can limit or completely exclude them from access to education, health services, legal systems or access to meaningful participation in political and social representation.