POOR households are increasingly enjoying the benefits of government initiated programme through the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF).
The government initiated Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) as part of TASAF III implementation, the main emphasis being to assist the poor households at individual levels. TASAF III is consolidating impressive achievements of TASAF I and II which, however, could not adequately address poverty at individual households that cannot afford social services such as education and health and basic needs such as nutrition.
PSSN is trying to address poverty with multiple interventions with long term plan being to build the human capital and again address nutrition aspects and income for the poor. The objective of TASAF III is therefore to enable poor households to increase incomes and opportunities while improving consumption.
TASAF III mostly targets people living under the basic needs poverty line. The PSSN incorporates transfers linked to participation in public works and adherence to conditionalities. TASAF III provides support to community driven interventions which enhance livelihoods and increase incomes through community savings and investments as well as specific livelihood enhancing grants.
It aims to enable TASAF III beneficiaries to save money to invest in livelihood enhancing activities, by supporting these investments with business development skills and technical training. The Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) programme being implemented under PSSN has registered a success story, as beneficiaries have shown steady progress.
Speaking during a media tour organised by TASAF in Dodoma region, the beneficiaries in Kondoa District commended the government’s effort to empower adolescent girls and young women. AGYW programme which is aimed at improving quality of life of vulnerable adolescent girls and young women has seen beneficiaries, who have been trained on entrepreneurship skills significantly changing their life patterns.
Kuluthum Abdallah, who comes from a poor family, turned out to be supporter and sponsor of three siblings to attain good education. She said entrepreneurship training as well as how to keep financial records, thereafter encouraged to come up with own business ideas which get funding from TASAF to implement.
Ms Kuluthum expressed hope that they can now face the future without much worries, thanking the government for such an important initiative.
She recalls the hardship she went through before enrolment into the empowerment plan. All her parents died and the grandmother they relied on also passed away, thus leaving her and the siblings at cross roads. Ms Kuluthum is currently making detergents and batik to meet the demand of her family including paying for school requirements for her three siblings, one being at university.
She got training sponsored by TASAF and was later given 400,000/- being an initial funding for her project, which she used to buy materials. Ms Kuluthum said she was thankful that with the grant from TASAF, she has widened her market products to Dar es Salaam, Iringa and Dodoma.
With the savings, she has rented a house and improved the business so that she accommodates more products. Another beneficiary Aisha Malacha, expressed a similar sentiment saying after attending the training, she got 400,000/- with initial 240,000/- payment with which she purchased a sewing machine.
She started selling garments, uniforms and embroidery of a number of items like bed sheets, pillow covers and other attires. Aisha said she now makes profit and the tailoring business in collaboration with her grandmothers thus they have changed their life thus having a new life chapter for the better and expressed hope that she can now stand on her own.
“As time goes, I will be able to have my own group, employ other young girls from vulnerable families just like me,” she said, adding that through the initiative, TASAF has opened her eyes for a brighter future.
She is currently able to take care of her grandmother, who is bedridden for quite a long time now and her five years old sibling in primary school. Had it not been for the programme, Miriam Yohana could be facing many difficulties in life but through TASAF, she acquired tailoring training.
She got the some entrepreneurship and life skill training and submitted a business plan to buy a tailoring machine and start own income generating activity. She bought the machine saying that since she started the business has managed to get customers.
“I am working hard in effort to attract more customers and face the future with a lot of hope of doing bigger things,” she said, thanking the government for the support.
Speaking about the AGYW programme, Kondoa District TASAF Monitoring Officer (TMO), Abdul Omar, observed that the goal of the programme is to develop and improve the quality of life of vulnerable adolescent girls and facilitate them to achieve greater economic and social empowerment.
“We want to improve the quality of life of adolescent girls and young women, especially vulnerable girls through financial empowerment,” he said.
He said the programme targets adolescent girls and young women from vulnerable families who are the caretakers. Money provided by TASAF as subsidies to the poor families in different parts of the country had transformed for the better through accumulated money in groups where they saved and borrowed.
He added that TASAF provided education on how to borrow money, use them well to transform their lives through starting small projects for income generation and then be able to repay the money. The beneficiaries are advised to form groups and TASAF will bring expertise to their groups so as to save and borrow.
For this, TASAF deserves part on the back as the programme ensures the poor households feel a sense of ownership in projects initiated. The programme provided lots of benefits to the poor households, let them play an active part.