Updated: Aug 15
We are excited to share that the Buzz Women movement has now extended to Tanzania! Buzz Women in Tanzania is powered by SOTE. Sote in Kiswahili means "together". The team has a strong background in development cooperation and is passionate about the great impact empowered women will have on communities. Sote has strong links with communities in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. The Tanzanian team has been trained by the teams in India and The Gambia. In their first month of operations they have built good relationships with the local governments and through this, have trained over 500 women!
Read about the first months of implementation below!
This project was initiate at Rombo district in Kilimanjaro region by a Non governmental organization called “The Sote Initiative.” The intervention at Rombo district commenced in the month of June 2023, with a team of 4 people.
As we are in the second month of implementation, we take pride to have reached 500+ women, 45 among them being men, all these people within 20+ groups. As it may be heard in various testimonial clips that we have captured, we are so pleased that we have added value in the community of Rombo through the people we have trained so far, in the following but not limited to these aspects;
i. Record keeping and it’s significance; We have inculcated the record keeping spirit among the 400+ people that we have trained in groups we have come across so far in various areas within the Rombo district. We have specific booklets that we offer each trainee for them to fill in their respective incomes and expenses on daily, weekly and monthly basis. The booklets have been composed using the simplest language that they can all easily understand. “Mali bila daftari hupotea bila habari.” Is a Swahili saying which is widely known in most parts of Tanzania, which means that having no proper record in running any property, there’s a high likelihood of losing it. It’s in the light of this statement that most of the participants in the trainings we conduct grasp the clear essence of this Swahili saying and eventually understand and acknowledge how record keeping is vital in all financial aspect of their lives and they promise to reach out others with these good news. Majority of them never had a habit of accounting for their household expenditures, but through the training that we offered this habit has now come into actualization as the new normal which outdates the old normal. Eusebia who is the Chairperson of Maelewano Group at Mashati area commented; “My fellow women we are all urged to note down our daily income and expenses for a sound individual and household economy.” A number of small business owners that we’ve come across, never wrote down finances pertaining to their small businesses but after the training they’ve turned out to be good record keepers of their businesses and they all find it useful for the advancement of business. “Personally as a fruit vendor at Mashati market, I have never maintained a clear record of the expenses I incur in relation to the income I generate. But through the training that I have acquired, it a wake up call to me to maintain clear records in my business.” Eusebia concluded.
ii. The business formula that we have introduced to them; This formula insists on paying oneself’s salary in self-owned businesses in order to maintain the capital. Most of the business runners that we have come across so far, they knew that what remains after deducting all the expenses from their businesses (Profit), is what they should use for their personal needs even without accounting for themselves in the expenses. This habit has doomed most of their businesses into the grip of failure as most of them declared so. “We have been stealing from our own business capitals for a long while without knowing by not paying ourselves salaries from the business we run. “ Said Theresia Orest Tarimo one of the leaders in Upendo group at Mamsera kati village-Rombo. The newly introduced business formula assures more security for what they hold as capital in their businesses as there’s always something to expend before deducting from their capital(s) and that is their salary. Many of the women have testified how helpful the business formula is to them in terms of enabling them to determine profitability of their businesses.
In addition a clear distinction has been noted by the training participants between Profit & Salary. “Before we thought that profit is the salary paid to the business owner, not knowing that a business owner deserves salary just like any other worker and the profit generated in a business is a reward to that investment and has to be retained for the sustainability of it.” Theresia Orest explained further.
iii. Writing down financial plans; most participants have witnessed how significant it is, having a written script of their annual financial plans. This came into their awareness through the training we have offered to them on the second day of training. They understood that writing down annual financial plans, provides one with a checklist for self evaluation as we journey down the year, but also it gives one’s life a definite financial pathway in a given time because if one has nothing planned then he/she has nothing to lose or gain at that particular time and their life won’t have a clear purpose, which is so absurd. We are glad that a majority of those we trained have shown and explained how paramount it is, to set and write down financial plans at a given time. And they even went further by understanding that, not to attain all that was planned at a specific time, shouldn’t hinder one from planning for the future. Instead those unattained plans should take the first place in the next time. “Most of us we do plan at the beginning of the year but the common mistake we do is not writing down what we plan and so at times we forget. But through writing the plans we have, the written note acts as a kind reminder for us to implement.” Said Me. Deoskery A. Uisso, the treasurer of Tumaini A group at Mrere Village-Rombo.
iv. Communication skills in business; through this intervention, most of the participants have been sensitized on how communication can either promote or demote our businesses/enterprises. They acknowledged that, the way we interact with those we have in our businesses as customers or suppliers, matters a lot. According to our training curriculum, a part of the day one training draws their attention to the issue of communication in business, through a number of designed role plays. At the end of the training they drew a common conclusion that good communications/interactions with our customers and suppliers is a positive addition to our businesses, while bad/poor communications are negative additions which are lethal to our businesses. “We are all invited to embrace these communication techniques for good customer care to all those that we come across as customers in our businesses because we need the customers more than how they need us.” Said Pancrasia Phillip Swai a member of Kimreka group at Katangara village -Rombo.
v. The various forms of capital and the central role of trustworthiness in the business arena; Most of the intended population for this programme their mentality is limited to cash as the sole capital to initiate and run a business. Through the training that we bring to them under this programme, we have successfully converted this radical mentality as we introduced them to other forms of capital like; Education/Skills, Trustworthiness and Human capital. It came to their realization how often most of them have initiated small businesses, closed deals without any solid cash but only through trustworthiness. As from this point onwards the small businesses owners so converted promised to assign high value to trustworthiness in their day to day dealings. “Trustworthiness is a virtue that has to be upheld in all aspects of our lives, not only in the financial aspect. We have witnessed VSLAs which came into existence and were short lived due to lack of this quality by the leader and other members. Said Melchior Mlay, the secretary general of Ukombozi group at Mamsera Juu.
Conclusively, to us as The Sote Initiative team we are highly honoured, encouraged and motivated by the post-training feedbacks that we do get from various participants. These feedbacks have to a great extent contributed to our growing pace in reaching out to the communities through training. The financial literacy that we are campaigning for is in high demand by most communities we have in Tanzania and this has helped us in valuing what we are doing at higher extremes. The feedbacks and testimonials that we collect from those trained, help us to adjust according to those identified by our audience as major society concerns. We believe that the support we offer to one another within the team and the support that we harness from our colleague organizations who are Buzz International project implementers elsewhere in the world will be a valuable addition towards addressing most of our community economic concerns.