Source: IPPMedia
Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce (TWCC) has begun women’s rights and duties training for ‘cross-border’ entrepreneurs who have been sidelined from fully participating in their trade activities undermining potential benefits that they would have otherwise enjoyed.

The TWCC’s Board Chairman, Fatuma Riyami said the board’s motive is to aid female entrepreneurs secure the their rights and take their place in the trade in an equal and unbiased manner and that the best way to do so is to educate the operators themselves which will empower them to question any unfair treatment.

The majority of entrepreneurs engaging in cross border trade especially those in textile, handcraft making and food processing are unaware of their rights and therefore do not enjoy them and benefit from what they produce or manufacture.

“Our focus on this programme was just to help women entrepreneurs in the informal cross border trade to become more aware of their rights, strengthen their socio-economic capability and status as well as help them meet market requirements,” she said.
Presently a total of 98 cross border entrepreneurs engaged in handcraft making, textile sector and food processing have been trained on this programme with the support from UN women in collaboration with the Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO).

In Tanzania and other African countries women face discrimination in many sectors in terms of land, business, education, employment and other factors relating to women activities and this continues to widen the gap between women and men.

Training them on women's rights will assist them to have better skills of their rights, they will manage to protect themselves against violence and to fight against women rights violations especially for the businesses they carry out in cross border trade.

According to her, right now some are not growing in their businesses because they don’t know their rights, she said, noting that in the future, TWCC will visit up-country to teach more entrepreneurs on their rights so that they can benefit from what they produce and export.

During the on-going training, women entrepreneurs would be trained on essential knowledge of the human rights to which they are entitled, how to own the land, how to do business and benefit from it, and other issues.

We need to train them on it because women carry out the majority of the work force and produce most of the food consumed and businesses but they don’t benefit from it.

The Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce (TWCC) brings women entrepreneurs from all of walks of life together including those in the informal sector in order to encourage growth, hence fighting poverty among women.

The Chamber also advocates on issues related to the development of women owned businesses.

Presently TWCC has conceived a project known as “Enhancing women entrepreneur’s competitiveness and opportunities to benefit from regional and international trade”.

The project is intended to support Women in the Informal Cross Border Trade (WICBT) to meet market requirements. The TWCC is implementing this project with supervision from the Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO).

The project is based on a partnership approach. TWCC will work with both private and public sector organizations to assist and provide the necessary support and guidance to women in business and to advocate for favourable policies in which women entrepreneurs can flourish.

It also seeks to empower women to create wealth through: business diagnostics, capacity building, resource mobilization, institutional development, networking and advocacy.

Part of this project is to provide training to women entrepreneurs on quality standards, traceability, barcode, international trade requirements and protocol, negotiations and business contracting and IP rights with objectives to improve quality of services to members.


Fatuma Riyami, Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce (TWCC) Board Chairman
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