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Women leadership & entrepreneurship in Tanga -- Global social impact project in Tanzania 2023 ①

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

In January 2023, gdly Inc. collaborated with like-minded organizations to provide on-the-ground support and education opportunities in Tanzania. Over the course of 2.5 weeks, gdly met with 200 local girls and women through workshops based on our ISEC program. With female empowerment at the forefront of our work there, we focused on mindful leadership, self-care, purpose-driven vision, and entrepreneurship.

Our first stop was the city of Tanga, Tanzania where we worked with Dira Women Organization (DIWO) to run a three-day workshop for women entrepreneurs.

Tanga is the northernmost port city of Tanzania, located on the Indian Ocean and near the Kenyan border. With a total population of 224,876, it is one of the largest cities in the country. Tanga Port is Tanzania’s oldest operating harbor and dates back to around the 6th century. As the country’s second-largest port, it has played a vital role in Tanga’s initial growth and economy. Tanga’s major exports include sisal, coffee, tea, and cotton.
Tanga’s unique architecture blends Arabic design with local materials, though the historic city centre retains buildings from the German colonial period. Even among the diverse cuisines available in the city, the sweet local fruits of Tanga steal the show.

Dira Women Organization (DIWO)
Established in 2008, Dira Women Organization is a local NGO in Tanzania that works to assist the disenfranchised and disempowered at a grassroots level, with a particular focus on gender equality, human rights, reproductive health, political and leadership participation, gender-based violence, and socioeconomic empowerment for women and youth.
DIWO envisions a poverty-free society that is socially and economically self-reliant and conscientious of human rights and dignity. Therefore, DIWO's initiatives promote the self-determination of communities by empowering people to solve their own socioeconomic problems, access their rights, and seek justice together as a community.

The Sustainability Network
The Sustainability Network is a charitable organization that helps environmental leaders and nonprofit organizations to increase their capacity through programs, services, and support. The Sustainability Network's donation of office equipment helped support this initiative.

Meeting executive directors and founders, Shamsa Danga, AJung Kim, and Scholastica Pembe

Our 3-day workshop in Tanga ran from January 9-11 and welcomed 20 women entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, aged 18 to 20. Many of the participants were single women. Based on our ISEC Program, the curriculum started with understanding the self and built towards creating viable, value-driven business strategies. Consisting of two classes and one hands-on session, the workshop ran for 3 hours each day and also included jam-making as a bonus activity.

The ISEC Program
gdly's ISEC Program centers on Inner peace, Sustainability, Entrepreneurship, and Community success. It is designed to examine self-awareness, amplify compassion, and accelerate value-driven leadership skills and strategies.

DIWO and gdly Inc. partnership celebration, Shamsa Danga (Executive Director of DIWO) and AJung Kim (CEO of gdly)
The Workshop
The main objective of the workshop was to educate aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners in building strategic business plans, creating strategies for growth, and becoming purposeful, conscientious leaders. The scale of the workshop allowed us to provide everyone with individual attention and hone in on each participant's individual business and business strategies.

Day 1 focused on mindfulness fundamentals, self-knowledge, finding purpose, and community values. Because entrepreneurship is demanding and a sustainable business requires a solid vision, the aim was to equip participants with the tools and skills, such as self-awareness and mindfulness, to support and maintain their mental health.

Day 2 and 3 both began with a 20-minute meditation session, practicing what we had learned on day 1. These two days were intensely focused on business strategies and operations. We covered business fundamentals and learned how to evaluate missions, create strategic business plans and strategies for growth, and build reliable partnerships with local stakeholders.

Popular areas of business among the women were hairdressing and salons, bakeries and grain products, handicrafts, and beauty supplies. Over the course of the workshop, we were able to identify dilemmas and socioeconomic challenges the women faced locally. Many of their businesses faced similar difficulties in raising funds, finding channels to expand, training employees, and high competition but limited creativity and innovation. The similarity between their issues and those that small businesses and entrepreneurs also face in North America brought in a sense of universality to the conversation, even with our local focus.

After spending three days with an amazing group of purposeful, driven women entrepreneurs, each participant successfully walked away with an actionable business plan and strategies for a sustainable, growing business.

According to the surveys and brief feedback sessions conducted before and after the program, overall satisfaction with the program was high. Of the various topics covered in the workshop, the mindfulness training, value-driven mission, and vision segments were the most popular.

Our first global partnership for social impact was a success thanks to supportive local participation, cooperation, and collaboration with diverse stakeholders.

Read Tanzanian local news article here


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