Khadija Msawira (Former Councillor Candidate, Makurumla ward, Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam)
“If I had resources to cover the campaign in my entire ward, I was surely going to win,” said Khadija confidently. Khadija is a young female (27 years) who is affiliated to the CHAUMA political party and a diploma graduate in Business Administration. After completing her diploma in business school, she searched for employment in-vain. She did some soul searching to determine what she really wanted to do. She finally realized that she has a passion of taking up a leadership position, starting with the surrounding community at the ward level. She has always wondered why the existing leadership was not seeing what she was seeing as problems which they could have facilitated the community to come out with collective solution. While feeling a strong desire to take up leadership, she was not sure how she was going to convince the voters to support her as she saw two main challenges; first being young and a woman. She feared her community will not take her serious due to existing patriarchal values in relationship to age and sex. This is where the training intervention came in at the right time.
The impact of Fahamu Ongea Sikilizwa II (FOSII) Training
Khadija admitted that the FoSII training built her skills and enhanced her confidence in many areas. Some of the skills she mentioned included; public speaking, designing strategic messages, and how to articulate women specific issues. In addition to the FoSII training, the meeting with the Presidential running mate Hon. Mama Samia (the current Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania) further enhanced her confidence. Mama Samia called upon all women regardless of party affiliation to support each other as this is the only way women were going to challenge and bring change to the male dominated culture. “The encounter with Mama Samia Suluhu really sparked my political interest,” pointed out Khadija. Khadija was able to defeat her male counterpart during the preliminaries, because she was self-confident and was able to express herself before the party screening committee.
While Khadija admitted to have had all needed skills in managing the campaign rallies, she was shocked to realize that most of her campaign money was finished during the launching of her campaign. She was unable to cover the whole ward and this worked against her.
Financing the campaign was her greatest challenge. Khadija had made a personal savings of 1.5 million and her family and friends raised 2 million, her party contributed fliers and pictures. This money could not cover half of the resources she needed for the campaign. When women try to request support from men, they demand a kick back in form of sex. As she refused to yield to sexual corruption, she was unable to get funds from well to do men whom she knew could have supported her.
Training and capacity building programs targeting young women should continue on a more sustainable manner.
Funding for women particularly those from small parties is needed to support part of the campaign expenses.
There is a need to strengthen women movement and facilitate them to support young aspiring women leaders.