For more than a decade, Region Gotland in Sweden has been working together with the Tanzanian municipality of Kibaha for a more sustainable world through a municipal partnership.
Equality and participation are fundamental themes that permeate the ongoing projects within the partnership, where women and youth are in the center of the work.
– We want the projects to make participants feel that they are agents of change – that they can make a difference! says Eva Flemming from Region Gotland, who is the coordinator of the partnership between Gotland and Kibaha.
Kibaha is located about 40 km west of Dar es Salaam, the largest city and financial hub of Tanzania. The city’s education centre – Kibaha Education Centre – has a central location and its own Gotlandic history.
Region Gotland’s connection with the municipality of Kibaha goes back to the 1960s and the Gotlander Bertil Melin. It was Bertil, then employed by the Nordic Tanganyika Project, who in the year 1963 helped found Kibaha Education Centre, around which the entire town of Kibaha grew. It was also Bertil Melin who contributed to Gotland’s municipality entering into a partnership with Kibaha. The very first projects started in 2000 and were focusing on wastewater and sewage.
Project on increasing women’s participation
In 2019, Region Gotland decided to change the focus of the partnership and applied for a project to increase women’s participation in decision-making. A series of women’s empowerment activities, including gender awareness workshops, have been carried out on site in Kibaha. The next step in the project is for the municipalities to look at how they can work on gender budgeting, which means preparing budgets or analysing them from a gender perspective. On Gotland, the aim of the project is to empower foreign born women to take their place in democratic society.
One of the participants in the gender equality project is Selina Wilson. She says that it is thanks to the project that she dared to go further in her leadership. Today Selina is the deputy mayor of Kibaha.
Project on increasing youth participation in sustainable development
The latest project in the Gotland – Kibaha partnership, granted in 2021, works to increase young people’s knowledge and empowerment through the Global Goals.
– The idea for the latest project came from Kibaha themselves, who wanted to work with “Sustainable development and youth”, says Eva Flemming.
To make it concrete without narrowing it down too much, the partners decided to develop an action plan on how to work with the Global Goals as an integral part of their school’s activities. The aim of the project is to make young people feel that they can bring about a change and that they can also be the ones who encourage others to achieve a more sustainable world. Three schools are involved in the project: the upper secondary school Wisbygymnasiet on Gotland and two secondary schools in Kibaha.
Hear Hildegarda Saudauri, the project coordinator from Kibaha, explaining how the target group was chosen and why:
Local solutions to global challenges
Eva Flemming highlights the benefits she sees for students of working in an international partnership where students see that what is done locally makes a difference globally:
– We have common challenges and goals. When we share knowledge with each other on how to tackle the challenges, we gain many new insights and can find new and better solutions.