Champion of Local Democracy: Restituta Kanoni
"- My focus is to help the community, especially to support women and promote women entrepreneurs and empower youth." These are the words of Restituta Kanoni. We are honered to present her in our series of personal portraits of people who are playing a significant role in the development of local democracy where they live. We call them Champions of local democracy!
For Restituta,By using her background as a researcher, economist and educator, she helps women in her community to appreciate the role of economics in development and planning.
Read her own story and see the video with Restituta.
I consider myself a good listener who loves to see people grow. I am also a person who likes to share ideas with others, and I am humbled to see others succeed. At work I try to balance the difficult art of being a skilful economist with being an educator and an empathic fellow human.
I was born and raised in Isese, a village in Nzega district, Tanzania. I have two brothers and two sisters who are older, and my late parents worked as teachers at Isese primary school. Like many other villages in the area, we faced a constant shortage of safe water as well as poor infrastructure. As a young girl I worked at the farm with every day duties like feeding the chicken, fetching water and working in the fields. Throughout my youth my mother was an important role model. I was very proud of her, I liked to be at her side when she was teaching or talking in front of other people. She was a good leader. Influenced by my mother, I have always aspired to live up to the standard she set.
I am 32 years old, a mother to two sons and one daughter and have been employed as head of the Monitoring and Evaluation Section in the Kigoma District Council, Tanzania since 2013. I am a perfectionist, so I like to focus on every little detail and prefer to execute my tasks with precision.
Her meticulous character is a strong asset to the kind of work she does.
At work, I study economic and statistical data in areas such as finance, labour, or agriculture. I always look for alternative solutions and pay attention to details to ensure that everything is right and completed in time. From my findings, I make recommendations, policies and plans to solve economic problems or how to interpret markets. I am also responsible for the budgetary planning. My focus is to help the community, especially to support women, in management in an organization that will promote women entrepreneurs and empower youth.
During my time in school and later as a working woman, I have continued to face difficulties in a patriarchal environment. There have been a lot of challenges such as cultural attitudes and power structures that are against women´s rights and opportunities. I am a firm believer that education alone cannot have a direct result on economic growth in the community, or for the family. Instead, it is only when education is combined with other factors, such as gender equality and foreign investment, that a nation can experience a stronger economy. Education serves as a sort of building block to the other determinants.
ICLD’S training programme has been instrumental to Restituta, as she has put her newly acquired skills into assisting her community.
I have established an NGO to help people in more thoughtful and measured ways and find it very rewarding to see that many people have benefited. I have also initiated a project in Kigoma District Council where there are vast areas of land that could be used for cultivation of coffee. The aim is to increase people’s income by better productivity, which will be achieved through use of improved coffee seedlings and improvement of central pulping.
I am working more effectively with coffee growers thanks to the knowledge and skills received from ITP and the Logical Framework. Now we have 50,000 plants in the nursery waiting for adequate rainfall so we can plant them.
I took part in ICLD’s training programme ‘Local Economic Development’, and have studied ‘Participatory Rural Appraisal’ in Japan, as well as ‘NGO Leadership, Development and Social Change’ and ‘Gender Mainstreaming’ in the Philippines. By using my background as a researcher, economist and educator, I can help women in my community to appreciate the role of economics in development and planning. I am driven by a strong commitment for local democracy and count myself fortunate to work for a local government that encourages local communities to empower themselves through initiated projects.
It has been a challenge to find financial resources and applications for better technology. In order to reach my goals, I would like to expand my professional network and find social connections in project planning. When it is time to implement the projects, I would like to collaborate with ICLD in matters of good technological support and finances to utilize the natural resources we have. Additionally, networking and pairing discussions with research to build strong social connections would be beneficial, where we can share knowledge and experiences.
Restituta is an alumni of the ICLD International Training Programme aiming to support Local Economic Development. The programme supports local economic development specifically by targeting women as economic actors through support and empowerment of women, women’s groups and local leaders and local governments in their efforts to include women in the plans for the communities. Restituta worked during the training with a project training women on improving the quality of the coffee they harvested. This was successful, the yield increased and the income for coffee growers grew during and after the project was implemented.