Seaweed Farming Helps Women in Tanzania

Thursday, July 7, 2005

When 21-year-old Mwajuma Hamisi finished high school a few years ago, the only future she could envision was finding a husband as quickly as possible, to spare her family the burden of taking care of her. Instead, Hamisi found seaweed.

Used by companies in the West as an additive in processed meat, toothpaste, mascara, beer and other products, seaweed is helping villagers in this Indian Ocean archipelago find their way out of poverty — and has improved the lives of women in ways they never thought possible.

’’Seaweed farming has enabled me to buy a sewing machine,’’ Hamisi said, adjusting her Islamic headscarf. ’’I have plans to study tailoring and open a tailoring shop to earn additional income … I now contribute to household expenses.’’

’’I have hope in the future,’’ she added, her dark eyes brightening. ’’I am now in no rush to find a husband …. Nobody can say that I am a burden to the family.’’

The Group of Eight summit being held this week in Scotland has focused attention on what the world can do for Africa, but experts say the key to development is creating opportunities for Africans to help themselves out of poverty.
Story found here.

Source: Associated Press