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International Widows Day

posted Jun 18, 2018, 1:15 AM by I Yr   [ updated Jun 18, 2018, 3:53 AM ]

June 23, International Widows Day is an opportunity for action towards achieving full rights and recognition for widows – who for too long have been invisible, uncounted and ignored.

Sadly, worldwide widows are subjected to much discrimination and are stigmatised in many communities. Widows are commonly deprived of basic human rights which deprives them economically and leaves them vulnerable to further abuse.

In rural Tanzania, widows are extremely vulnerable to abuse: under customary law, when a man dies, his wife inherits nothing, unless she is childless and there are no other living relatives. The man’s children are his rightful heirs. However, if the children are too young to assert their rights, the man’s family often takes advantage of the situation, and expels the widow and her children from the family land. These women, alone and with no means of supporting themselves or their children, need both legal representation and practical assistance.

Empowering widows through educating them on land and property rights, and ultimately helping them represent themselves so they can access this, enables them to build strength, stability and independence after bereavement. Importantly, this process creating opportunities for widows can also help to protect their children and avoid the cycle of inter-generational poverty and deprivation.

Without inheritance rights, including a lack of rights to the property of their birth family, widows find themselves financially insecure and totally dependent on the charity of their husbands’ relatives.

Widows must be empowered to support themselves and their families. This is why educating not only widows, but women’s groups in general, as well as men and children, is so important. Women must be aware of what their rights and the importance of having wills in place to avoid the additional hardship after the death of a husband such as being stripped off their rights to assets such as land, income and property, and as a result facing destitution.

A key target of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal 5 is the need to undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property. Action on these could impact the lives of millions of widows who have been previously dependent on their husbands for their livelihoods.

To help us impact more widows, and women in need donate today. 

Your support will help us educate, empower and represent women in need.



 

The courageous women of Engaremaibor

posted Jun 14, 2018, 5:58 AM by I Yr

Tanzania is composed of more than 120 ethnic tribes, including the Maasai. Most of these tribes are governed by Customary Law. This refers to the traditions and customs of a community which dictate their social structures and norms

According to such customs, Maasai society distinguishes strictly between male and female social roles. Women are seen as strictly home makers and subordinate to their male counterparts who are farmers and warriors.

As a result of this position and role in society, child marriage, lack of education and domestic violence are sadly commonplace for Maasai women and girls. In addition, being so remote and without knowledge of their rights means these practices are generally accepted as a way of life.

A few weeks ago, Inherit Your Rights traveled to the interior community of Engaremaibor in Longido to conduct legal rights training for a group of 30 Maasai women. Here, our aim was to provide a forum for women to come together and learn about their rights, as well as a chance to ask questions and share experiences. Due to the prevalence of customary law and traditional structures in remote communities such as these, at Inherit Your Rights we often have to start from scratch when providing legal rights training. This means firstly building awareness of what human rights are and why they are important, before women can begin to question the normality of things like lack of education for girls or domestic abuse.

However, a number of women in Engaremaibor community proved to be unusual exceptions and were already being proactive about standing up for their rights and looking out for the best interest of their families.

One of the most important pieces of information Inherit Your Rights shares with the women we work with, is the channels they can use to exercise their rights. This includes being able lodge claims or raise issues with the Village and Ward offices. These offices follow Customary Law but are also bound by Statutory Law, created from the Tanzanian Constitution, which actively protects women’s rights. These offices are located in each region and are available for women to put forward issues they are experiencing and help find resolutions.

In interior communities, access to these offices can sometimes be difficult. That’s why having a sound understanding of their rights and why they should be upheld is crucial as it instills in women the confidence and motivation to take action. It also forges a support group of women who can help them stand up and be heard.

In this community, it was inspiring to hear the stories of women who were already utilising these channels and those that were ready and prepared to learn how. The vast majority of the women in attendance had been married off at young ages to men old enough to be their grandfathers. Many had already been widowed, and you could sense their courage and determination not to let this happen to the next generation.

One women in attendance told of how her husband regularly drank and beat her, and refused to send her children to school. Her husband never received an education and wanted their children to help tend to the cattle. This woman, however, was determined her children receive an education. She took the matter to the Village and Ward Offices. As the Offices’ recognise Statutory Law which decrees children of the age of seven must be enrolled in school, it was ruled that they be educated. This could have been a dangerous move for the woman and potentially led to retribution from her husband. However, remarkably, she shared that after this her husband allowed the children to attend school and furthermore stopped beating her.

Sadly this is a fairly unique story but illustrates the importance of building awareness of human and legal rights for men, women and children at every level of society. By working with community elders and men, we can show why it is important to empower women and the benefits it brings to an entire community – including the impact the participation of women and girls has in accelerating sustainable development and economic growth. For girls, such training and education instills strength and confidence from a young age and for boys, contributes to changing the behaviours and perceptions of the next generation.

Stories of women who have been able to successfully advocate for their rights give great amounts of hope and inspiration that change is possible, even in remote communities.

This inspired another women to come forward and share her story.

After the death of her husband, this woman was being targeting by the son of her husband’s first wife. As per Customary Law, the eldest son had become the executor of his father’s estate but did not want provide the second wife any support. In an attempt to scare her aware, the son burned down her house. Just as she started rebuilding, he burned down the house again. She is now building her home for the third time and lives in fear he will return to do the same.

This woman came to the session at a loss of what to do about her situation and unaware of any avenues she could pursue to protect herself. However, hearing the stories of fellow community members has given her the knowledge of how to report issues such as this and the courage to be proactive. Inherit Your Rights will also provide advice for her to pursue the matter further.

Often when women attempt to exercise their rights in traditional communities they can be met with resistance or retribution, but these women have shown that with courage and determination anything is possible. Having a forum and safe space like this allows for the exchange of knowledge and sharing of experiences that otherwise would not be spoken about. After hearing these stories, the women who didn’t know where to turn walked away with the knowledge, confidence and inspiration to do something to ensure their rights are respected, and know that they are not alone.

Although changing perceptions in remote communities bound by custom and tradition can be a long and slow process, uniting women together and empowering them through education is a positive first step and furthermore, a powerful and pivotal force for change.

 

Meet Yusta

posted Jun 13, 2018, 4:00 AM by I Yr

Recently, Inherit Your Rights completed another 16 week paralegal training with students from our partners at Jobortunity.


Over this time, 27 students learned about topics including women’s rights, property, inheritance, domestic violence, labour rights and more. The students consisted of young adults – both men and women – of all different backgrounds from around Arusha. They sat two exams, one half way through the course, and one at the very end.

Student who received over 75% in the exams are eligible to become paralegals and can further play a critical role in representing the disadvantaged and raising awareness in their communities and beyond.

Yusta, one of the students, was a top performer in her class.

“I’m very happy to get my paralegal certificate,” said Yusta. “I learned that we as women can really do something to advance our rights.”

“As a paralegal, I want to spread this knowledge further. When I get the chance I’ll be communicating with youth. I talk to a lot of youth in my community and I want to get them together and explain what I learned from Inherit Your Rights.”

Mobilising youth in this way can be a pivotal force for change. By creating a network of young community champions we can initiate a behavioural change in the next generation to advocate for women rights and equality across the board.

To contribute to societal change, we must work with every member of the community. When men, women and children alike are aware of their rights, it builds understanding and fosters informed and engaged communities who can work together to advocate for their rights – whether it’s for themselves, their family or neighbour.

“It’s very important to learn about legal rights because we can help women in our society,” adds Yusta. “Women face challenges every day in our daily life and many people don’t know about the laws there to help them.

We can’t wait to see what Yusta and her fellow class mates do next to help raise awareness and educate and empower others.

Do you know a group that would benefit from our training? Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help. Contact us at inherityourrights@gmail.com

 

Meet Mama Rehama

posted Jun 7, 2018, 11:38 PM by I Yr   [ updated Jun 7, 2018, 11:47 PM ]

At Inherit Your Rights we are fortunate to work with inspiring and passionate women who are determined to learn about their rights, advocate for them and spread this vital knowledge with others. This includes Mama Rehama, who not only runs her own shop but is a member of both her village council and local women’s forum, and is proud to call herself an Inherit Your Rights champion.


Mama Rehama first heard about Inherit Your Rights in 2015 and mobilised her fellow community members to get involved and participate in paralegal training. Thanks to Mama Rehama, since 2015 seven paralegal trainings have taken place in her community. These trainings have played a key role in building awareness and changing perceptions when it comes to women’s rights in the community.

“Before I did the Inherit Your Rights training I didn’t know a lot about laws and I also didn’t get a lot of trust from the other village council members,” said Mama Rehama. “I didn’t even know that there had to be women in the village council. After finishing the curriculum my mind has grown bigger and I feel a lot more confident.”

Through training with Inherit Your Rights, Mama Rehama and her community took part in a 16 topic curriculum which covered women’s rights, property law, domestic violence, wills, inheritance and more.

“All the subjects we learned about are so important because many women simply do not know their rights,” said Mama Rehama. “However the challenge is that many husbands in the community don’t want to acknowledge women’s rights to own property so this is a very important area where we must continue to raise awareness.”

Sadly in Tanzania, the customs or traditions of a community do not always protect a woman’s right to own or inherit property. However, there are statutory laws that give men and women equal rights to property ownership. Ensuring these laws are upheld and that women are informed and have a voice when it comes to inheritance and property, particularly after the death of her husband, is a key part of the learnings.

Mama Rehama continues to raise awareness and empower others by providing advice to women on their rights and ways they can exercise them.

Changing the mindset of certain members of the community can be challenging, but Mama Rehama is determined to find ways to slowly contribute to change. “Men can be tough but there are ways we as women can approach them wisely and speak about our rights and they will listen,”

Mama Rehama believes educating men and women together is a key part of this. She works with husbands and wives to help educate others and mediate on issues around women’s rights.

“I’ve tried speaking with women about how to talk to their husbands about these topics in particular, protecting property rights and the importance of partnering with their husbands to do this together.”

For many households in Tanzania, topics such as wills, inheritance and property rights aren’t discussed between husband and wife. This becomes problematic when a husband dies, and his wife is unaware of property ownership and her inheritance rights. In many cases, the husband’s family will claim and take property outright, leaving the widow without any support.

Mama Rehama brings her knowledge and voice to the Village Council and Women’s Forum to ensure women are heard and represented in cases such as these. Previously claims made by women or widows around property and inheritance were ignored or met with resistance. Many never even made a claim in the first place simply due to a lack of awareness of the right to inherit property and other Statutory Laws that protect women’s interests.

Now, with knowledge of their rights and how to exercise them Mama Rehama says women in her community have a new found confidence. 

“Training and awareness of legal rights can change women, men and children to recognise their rights, know what they are doing and how to stand on their own two feet.”

In addition, Mama Rehama takes it upon herself to advise women in difficult situations of their rights and the avenues that can take to protect them and also meditates in marital disputes. Other community groups also direct women in need to legal advice to Mama Rehama. She also works with widows groups to help them find economic security while making claims for property that may have been taken after their husband’s death.

Do you know a community that would benefit from our legal rights training? Contact us today on +255 715 164 118 or email inherityourrights@gmail.com



World Day Against Child Labour

posted Jun 7, 2018, 11:29 PM by I Yr   [ updated Jun 7, 2018, 11:46 PM ]

June 12 marks World Day Against Child Labour. At Inherit Your Rights, this is an important day as a big part of our legal rights curriculum focuses on child welfare including education and labour rights.


At Inherit Your Rights we believe in advocating for the rights of children and the laws that protect them within Tanzania. Children should be allowed to be children and be able to grow, thrive, learn and play, without the burden of working.

Sadly, the Tanzania Mainland National Child Labour Survey in 2016 found that 29.3% of 5 – 14 year old children were engaged in child labour including agriculture, mining, quarrying, and domestic work.

All children in Tanzania have the right to an education, and it is actually required by law for all children to complete at least primary school. To ensure that all children have equal access to a high quality education, Tanzanian law guarantees certain education rights:

Non-discrimination: Schools, administrators, communities, or the government cannot discriminate against a child or prevent them from attending any school based on their gender, religion, political persuasion, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, language, national origin, HIV/AIDS status or other health status, or any other quality

Fair discipline: While teachers are permitted to use corporal punishment in schools, it should only be in very serious cases, and the maximum punishment allowed is four strokes with a thin stick. Many international laws prohibit corporal punishment.\

Free education: Tuition fees have been abolished for all government primary schools, although there are still costs for books, uniforms, exam fees, and other expenses.

These laws help protect the rights of children to ensure they can stay in school for longer. When children can stay in school for longer the benefits are unsurprisingly significant – it provides a solid and healthy foundation for stronger personal, social and economic development and feeds into long term goals around poverty eradication and human rights.

Eradicating child labour is part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 which calls on the global community to end child labour in all its forms by 2025.

Unfortunately the reality for families in poor communities means there are situations where a young person may need to, or wish to work for financial reasons. However, in addition to the basic rights of all workers, there are additional rights for employees under the age of 18 to ensure that child workers are not being mistreated or exploited.

In order to be employ a child, an employer cannot:

  •         Employ a child who is under 14 years old or has not completed at least a primary school education
  •         Employ a child to do work that is hazardous to their health or development
  •         Prevent a child from attending school
  •         Force a child to perform labour or pay them less than a fair wage
  •         Require a child to work more than six hours a day or at night
  •         Employ a child for sexually exploitive work of any kind
Would you like to find out more in child labour rights, or have a legal issue to discuss with us? Contact us today on +255 715 164 118 or email inherityourrights@gmail.com

Women attend training undeterred by flooding

posted Apr 12, 2018, 5:20 AM by I Yr

Despite heavy downpours and alot of rain and flooding, our participants persevere and make their way to our trainings in Longdong. 

Merry Christmas / Heri Ya Krismasi from IYR Team!

posted Dec 15, 2017, 2:16 AM by I Yr   [ updated Dec 15, 2017, 2:22 AM ]


Heri ya Krismasi 

Happy Christmas from Inherit Your Rights!

What a year it’s been!

Our small but effective staff have been able to accomplish so much this year. We’ve trained women’s groups in multiple locations and from diverse educational backgrounds and tribes. We’ve produced radio shows; televised legal discussions and provided legal aid to numerous women and loved every minute!!!

Please celebrate the following accomplishments for 2017 with us:

127
 TRAININGS
With 11 groups in many areas totally over 800 women.
89 
GRADUATIONS
Participants from 5 groups who completed 16 subjects
RADIO STATIONS
Broadcast on a weekly basis about women’s and human rights.

More work to be done...

We’ve heartbreaking stories during our trainings...

Although most of our work is extremely rewarding and exciting, we sometimes come across stories that make us realize there is still a long way to go in protecting the rights of young girls, especially.

At one of our trainings, a Masai woman wept
telling us about a young 10 year old girl who died in childbirth after being forced by her father to marry one of his peers. She was so badly injured that she was unable to defecate or urinate and was forced to live in the toilet hut due to the odor. Unfortunately, she had fallen pregnant and died during childbirth. The room was silent on hearing this story. Eventually, every woman in the room made the following commitment:

“This is never going to happen to my daughters. I will make sure they get an education and not be forced into an early marriage.”

This year we would like to thank the Inherit Your Rights Board, founders, staff, volunteers and donors for their contributions that enabled us to have such an amazing impact. We also want to thank the organizations that have given ‘in kind’ through free radio and television airtime, training venues, transport to and from workshops, office space, electricity and water. Your partnership has enabled us to accomplish a lot with a little. Similarly those of you who’ve donated funds, we deeply appreciate your support.

Seasons Greetings, Judi Owens for the IYR Team

GIFT CERTIFICATES :

This year we’d like to offer the opportunity for you to give an Inherit Your Rights gift certificate to your loved ones this season.

We have a selection of different denominations for you “to purchase” which will help to change lives. Your gift will help us stop child marriages, stop domestic violence, help women write wills, own property, protect their children. Follow the link below to donate and print off the appropriate card or email to your loved one,  this Christmas.






An Avocado Tree


was planted at one training as a symbol of the fruit IYR’s training would bring to the community for many years to come.


Radio Shows.

Most radio shows are ‘live’ and many call in with questions. The biggest concern seems to be that empowering women equals no respect for men.




Legal Aid

One victory this year was a woman whose husband evicted her from their matrimonial home with their 2 children so that he and his girlfriend could live there. The court ruled that he pay rent & maintenance! 





























Merry Christmas / Heri Ya Krismasi from IYR Team!

posted Dec 13, 2017, 11:48 AM by I Yr   [ updated Dec 13, 2017, 11:52 AM ]


Christmas is just weeks away.... time to buy a meaningful gift for someone you love?

posted Dec 10, 2017, 11:41 PM by I Yr

Well it's that time of year again! Christmas is just around the corner. How would like to give gifts that make a difference to women and girls lives here in Tanzania. 
This year we have a selection of gift cards for you to "buy" for friends and family that will warm their hearts and change lives. 
See the selection below. $25, $50, $75, $100, $150 to help us stop child marriages, stop domestic violence, help women write wills, own property, protect their children. 
Simply click on our donate button above then print off and send or email the corresponding card to your loved one.

Tragic Story: 10 year old girl is forced to marry and dies giving birth

posted Oct 10, 2017, 1:51 AM by I Yr

At one of our recent trainings we were horrified to hear the story of a 10 year old girl who suffered terrible damage as a result of the forced union between herself and her much older, bigger husband. Her body was so damaged that she was unable to defecate or urinate. Her husband returned her to her parents house. They decided to assist her to get rid of waste by piercing a hole in her stomach. Because of the smell that resulted, she was forced to stay in the toilet room. Unfortunately, she found that she was pregnant. The woman telling the story was overcome with tears, and covered her head with her kanga (scarf) and wept. She was present when the young girl died and couldn't do anything to help her. 
 

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