Before leaving Arusha, José and I attended the first Executive Directors’ meeting, organised and chaired by African Initiatives’ Tanzania Country Director, Valerie Msoka. The meeting created a positive space for our partners and Tanzania Limited colleagues to exchange learning, best practice and challenges. It also created an opportunity for feedback and reflection on African Initiatives’ support and how we can further strengthen our partnerships. It was great to see such an open and collaborative attitude from African Initiatives’ partners and there was a strong consensus from the group that this meeting should be set up on a quarterly basis.
The second week of our trip was spent in Moshi, a pleasant two hour drive east of Arusha, along a highway lined with fields of sunflowers and maize. Our first three days were spent with Tanzania Women Research Foundation (TAWREF), with whom African Initiatives recently secured UK Aid Direct funding for a three-year project. This project will improve access to sexual and reproductive health rights for vulnerable women and girls in Hai district. Upon arrival, we received a wonderful reception; TAWREF’s staff came together in song and dance to welcome us. The office was filled with positivity and enthusiasm, and the passion for the work TAWREF does was clear to see. After a productive two days of office-based project planning and discussion, I attended my second launch workshop. This workshop was organised and structured in a similar way to UCRT’s, bringing together key stakeholders to present the project, and receive suggestions and commitments on what their contributions should be. The responses from attendees were enthusiastic, and reflections shared by ward, district and regional level representatives were unanimously supportive. I left TAWREF feeling encouraged and excited to be working on this challenging project, with another round of upbeat singing and dancing to send us on our way!