FAWE has entered into a new partnership with the Norwegian Agency for Development (Norad ) in an initiative that seeks to equip 900 girls and young women from Zanzibar and Mali with entrepreneurship skills. The three-year project dubbed ‘ Building adolescent girls and youth skills through innovative Technical Vocational Education Training and advancing women’s Economic rights and gender equity in the labour market’ starts in 2019 and will work towards the empowerment of 900 female adolescents and young women with sufficient occupational competencies to equip them with entrepreneurial and business startup skills that will enable them to set up their own sustainable enterprises and make them competitive in the labour market.
The project will be implemented in Zanzibar and Mali through the respective National Chapters; FAWE Zanzibar and FAWE Mali respectively. A common characteristic of the two areas of project implementation is high vulnerability and marginalization of women. Although progress on gender equality has been made in some areas in these countries, the potential of women to engage in, contribute to and benefit from sustainable development as leaders, participants and agents of change has not been fully realized.
An extensive desktop review conducted by FAWE Zanzibar revealed that men in are given first the priority in the job market while women are left at home to take care of their families. This is influenced by the culture and conservative Islamic beliefs in Zanzibar. As a result, women are left to be dependent on men with no source of income, and this leaves them vulnerable and exposes them to poverty, violence and further marginalization. The review by FAWE Mali showed that the country has on the other hand been a victim of violent conflict that has affected different pillars of development, key among them being access to education and skills training among girls and women. Underage marriage is also rampant throughout the country with parents in some cases arranging marriages for girls as young as 9 years old. Family law favours men and women are particularly vulnerable in cases of divorce, child custody and inheritance rights, as well as in the general protection of civil rights. Women have very limited access to legal services due to their lack of education and information besides the prohibitive costs of acquiring the services.
FAWE and NORAD therefore seek to ensure that women have full access to economic rights and equal opportunities to participate in the labour market. By equipping adolescent girls and female youth with occupational and entrepreneurial skills, the sustained business startups through enhanced female youth employable skills will enable them to realize their economic potential and improve their employability and capacity to contribute to eliminating household poverty. FAWE will also work with Rozaria Memorial Trust as a technical learning partner to support evaluations and documentation which will inform the programmatic interventions and the advocacy actions of the project.