March 16, 2005
Today, 185 men, women and children of all ages gathered in the community of Biriri, located at the foot of Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania. They came together to hear the results of the baseline study that Equitas, in partnership with Tusonge and community leaders, facilitated in three communities in the region over the course of the past few months.
This study shed light on the difficulties that certain community members, in particular women, youth, children and those living with physical disabilities, face when it comes to playing an active role in the local decision process. The study also presents the consequences of such difficulties: exclusion, poverty, violence, and discrimination.
The interest of community members was palpable, and they could not wait to discover the posters, which presented the results of the study and were hanging at the local community center. Discussions that followed lasted more than an hour in the comfort and shade of the Acacias. A number of community members were able to share their experiences of exclusion and violence, and stressed the need to act on these issues. The participation of the local authorities in collaboration with Tusonge, Equitas, and other members of the community in promoting human rights values was also highlighted. They continue to respond to the problems that community members are facing.
The journey is a long one, but the participation and engagement of the Biriri community is remarkable, and we are optimistic for future projects.