Empowering young women working in bars
In April 2010, TAMASHA entered into agreement with FHI Tanzania, (Family Health International) to implement a project aimed at empowering young women working in bars to protect themselves against HIV and AIDS.
The project is implemented in four wards of Azimio, Miburani, Mbagala and Kurasini in Temeke district in Dar es Salaam. It is targeting a larger group of young women employed in bars, their employers, local government officials and law enforcement officers.
TAMASHA has chosen to work with this group because they are vulnerable to HIV and that vulnerability is driven by the nature of their working conditions. Despite that this is the large group of people; it is therefore unidentified population of young people that is largely forgotten in most development plans in the communities.
The project has undergone several key activities
- Participatory action research using PRA methods for 40 days, carried out by trained young researchers from Temeke Youth Development Network (TEYODEN) in the same wards. About 488 young women working in bars have participated during the research
- Meetings with stakeholders including bar workers and managers to develop Minimum Standards that will operate in bars
- Advocacy meetings to share research findings and project progress with government officials from the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Youth Development, National AIDS Control Programme, Temeke Municipal officials, like minded organizations and bar workers themselves
- Development of Training Manual by TAMASHA team with the bar workers and community youth facilitators based on the findings of the research
- Training of peer facilitators from bars
- Weekly onsite education sessions in bars facilitated by the bar worker peer facilitators in life skills, HIV and AIDS, STIs, Working conditions, Human rights, Labour laws and working contracts, Health Insurance and Entrepreneurship skills.
Key learning points:
- Because of meagre salaries paid, the bar girls are forced in hidden sex work to compensate the income in order to be able to cover their needs. The highest salaries in bars does not exceed to 45,000/- but through tips and hidden sex work their income can go up to 200,000/- Tsh. in month.
- Bar girls are tired of research conducted in their field of work. Many development workers have been approaching them with false promises but none have come back with feedback of research findings. Those who were met again said it is for the first time to see a project that gave them a chance to actively engage in the activities including developing the Minimum Standards, Training Manual and running education sessions for their peers.
- The bar workers were originally suspicious of the training, thinking it was the same old messages about behaviour change but now they see it is connected to their rights, and to life skills, girls from other bars outside the project are now asking to be included in the training. Some of those who helped write the manual have also left their jobs after understanding about their rights
- Bar managers are acting as middlemen between bar owners and the staff, the girls. In that matter they have a mandate to negotiate their salaries, to hire them and fire whenever they want. In one case, a manager pays less than what is supposed to be paid by cutting the salaries without the knowledge of bar owner. However, bar managers, like the bar workers, have no security of employment as they have no contracts
- After several weeks of conducting onsite education sessions in bars, the first group of peer facilitators have become more confident with the way they are appreciated by their peers as resource people who might help them more. TAMASHA is planning to work with this group for a longer period in other programmes.
Girls Vulnerabilities in Newala
VITU Newala is an abbreviation of Vijana Tunaweza Newala (We Young People Can in Newala). It was borne out of a joint project between ICRW and TAMASHA to carry out research into the particular vulnerabilities of adolescent girls in Newala.... read more