Reflections from Rachel Barr, IYIP Intern with VIDEA
Rachel is currently in Tarime, Tanzania with the Victoria International Development Education Association (VIDEA)’s International Youth Internship Program (IYIP) funded by Global Affairs Canada. Below, she shares reflections from her time placed with The Children’s Dignity Forum.
International Women’s Day is important to me because I think it’s a time to celebrate the fabulous work women around the world are doing to secure women’s rights and help shape more equitable societies. It is also a day to reflect on the work that remains and remember that many women’s voices continue to be silenced and excluded.
This March 8th, I felt very lucky to celebrate and participate in activities with my host organization, The Children’s Dignity Forum which is a Tanzanian human rights organization that works on issues around female genital mutilation, child marriage, and education.
I have been given the opportunity to learn from this organization through my IYIP internship with VIDEA which partners with gender and human rights organizations in a number of African countries. Even before the events commemorated on International Womens day, the college where it was being held was lively, colorful, and filled with tons of dancing and music. The event had many speakers from the community including leaders, nurses, teachers, and human rights advocates.
In between speakers we enjoyed music, traditional dancing, and poetry recited by young women from Tarime. The large auditorium was quite cozy because the event was very well attended, there was tons of students, women from income generating groups and networks, mothers with their young children, professionals, and elders. The event ended with an open floor forum, where individuals in the room gave voice to issues that effected women in the community. What made this ending so significant and culturally different was there was no time limit, they kept the floor open until everyone who wanted to share had a chance to have their voice heard. I really saw an event that was able to connect with a lot of members of the community.