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Halima Kasungu: Woman who proved gender parity is possible anywhere

Ms Halima, who has counted down sixty years plus, says she still has contribution to make in empowerment and development of the society, women in particular.Among other things, she believes that gender equity is paramount in attaining any development in any country.

Holding masters in Education from Washington State University and having attended many gender related courses and training locally and abroad, Ms Halima remains one of the icons who initiated various women projects, movements and committees at workplaces.

Explaining the best thing that would keep on scoring through her mind, Ms Halima says that she had served as regional commissioner (RC) in three regions, that is, Singida, Kigoma and Iringa between 2002 and 2007.Before the promotion to RC, Ms Halima served as district commissioner for Njombe and one record that she made in her position was becoming the first woman to serve as RC for such regions.

She says that the regions she served were one of the areas with high gender prejudices but to her, that was not a challenge as her appointment came basing on creditworthiness thus she successfully executed her assignments.

“I became the first woman to hold such a top position in Singida, Kigoma and Iringa regions, as I was appointed basing on qualification, experience and personal ability thus all administrative challenges were effectively addressed,” she notes adding that any woman whose appointment bases on creditworthiness could even perform better than men.

Besides serving as a DC and RC, Ms Halima also held various positions in the country including, Director of Women and Youth under Trade Unions-JUWATA, OTTU and Tanzania Federation of Trade Unions (TFTU) between 1986 and 1999. She also served as Deputy Director, Librarian and information specialists under Tanzania Library Services Board between 1975 and 1986.

What’s more adamant, Ms Halima became a commissioner of Presidential Anti Corruption in 1996, between 1997 and 1999 she served as a member in good governance task force formed under the ministry of planning and later in 1998 she became the Dar es Salaam city commissioner. 

She also got affiliated to various organizations and agencies both within and outside Tanzania. She was one of the initiators of East African Trade Union Council and South African Trade Union Congress. In 1995 she became the Vice- President of Women Workers in Africa.Between 1999 and 2000 she was appointed the member of International Labour Organization (ILO) governing board.

Taking on her academic expedition, Ms Halima said that before joining Masters Studies between 1978 and 1980 she attended Aberystwyth Wales University in United Kingdom for Postgraduate Diploma in information and library science and graduated in 1977.

She took her Bachelor Degree at the University of Dar es Salaam between 1972 and 1975, she says while at the University of Dar es Salaam she was in the same academic year with President Jakaya Kikwete and they graduated together.Ms Halima also attended a number of trainings and seminars within and outside Tanzania, she says that such trainings have benefited her while opening a room for being on the right track for her career development plans which include elevation to upper professional grades.

Commenting on gender-based violence GBV, which according to statistics is said to be on the increase, Ms Halima explains that currently the rate of sexual harassment has dramatically dropped compared to some years back.

“What makes people believe that sexual harassment is high is that now public is aware of gender issues but a matter of fact remains that the problem is lower compared to yester years,” she says however appealing to relevant authorities to take stern measures to ensure that it is completely curbed.

She underscores the need for incorporating gender issues in the new constitution saying that though the current one clearly stipulates that there should be no discrimination basing on gender but it was insufficiently implemented.Concerned with gender issues, Ms Halima has conducted a number of consultancies and published various papers and books.

She offered consultancy services on review of labour laws and other related laws and regulations and critical issues affecting women in the world of work in 1999 and also on effect of Women’s Workload on Maternal and Nutritional Status, a UNICEF study done at Kibaha district.    

She also presented papers on Socio-economic conditions of women in employment in Tanzania in the ministry of planning workshop in 1990, participation of women in the trade union movement in Tanzania under the Executive Board of Unions-OTTU, TFTU Arusha in 1989 and sexual harassment as an occupational health hazard to workers, Harare in 1992.

Ms Halima fails to put out of sight her contentment on President Kikwete efforts in empowering women; she says that the President recognizes the significance of delegating powers to women and it is why since his terms commenced a large number of women have been appointed in many higher offices.

“At least the President has given a green light to equal representation of gender in decision and policy making system in the government, I have no doubt on their ability as I believe their appointment is based on creditworthiness,” She notes insisting that equal gender representation is vital in development.  Ms Halima Kasungu is married and mother of three sons. 


Mwagala Adventist Women Entrepreneurship Group in Misungwi District ...


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