Each month, we shine a spotlight on partners who are using budget advocacy to bring transformational change to their communities. This month, we’re highlighting Anna Marwa, Gender and Women Empowerment Officer at PELUM Tanzania.
What was the catalyst in your life that made you want to become an advocate for women?
As a young girl, I saw that women would work on the farms, but wouldn’t get involved in making any decisions about what to grow. And even though women are allowed by Tanzanian laws to own land, and my grandfather had a big portion of land, when he died my uncles took all the land and left my mother with nothing to inherit. I decided that one day I would advocate for women’s rights in the villages where discriminatory norms and customs are being practiced.
After university, you earned your law degree and currently work as the Gender and Women’s Empowerment Officer at IBP partner, PELUM Tanzania. Tell me about your work.
PELUM is a registered network of civil society organizations that promote sustainable agriculture through learning and advocacy. We work with communities to tend Tanzania’s land ecologically and to stand up for the rights of women farmers. PELUM is also part of the Tanzania Gender Network, which focuses on uplifting the country’s women in all aspects of their lives. I train women to participate in land rights issues, challenge discriminatory norms, and particularly to own land, to use it ecologically and to get involved in the decision-making processes – from the household, to the village, to the nation.
When did you first learn about budget advocacy and how has it affected your work?
In 2021, I took part in a budget analysis and advocacy training given by IBP and (fellow partner) Policy Forum. Before the training, I wasn’t aware that the budget was crucial to everything we are doing at PELUM. [Now] I have realized that the issue of budgets is a cross-cutting issue that needs to be mainstreamed in every aspect of advocacy. Budgets show how committed the government is to address [development] challenges.
What work remains to be done and how do you view the future of women in Tanzania?
After the training, I prepared four budget briefs that were shared with Parliament and others on the effects of budgets on women. I am pushing the government to allocate funds for land certificates for women as well as advocating for budget increases in agriculture in the land ministry. I do believe that with a new woman president, PELUM’s efforts and those of other civil society organizations, to push for true equality between women and men in Tanzania is now an achievable goal.