Community Activists in the PROSPER Plus project are bettering their communities and making the most of opportunities for themselves. They provide a crucial link between communities where they live and the project. PROSPER Plus is currently active in 5 tobacco-growing villages in the Tabora region of Tanzania. Over 2 years, it is targeting 850 farmers and their families with education, village savings and loans initiatives and other activities against the root causes of child labour.
Through PROSPER Plus, 9 Community Activists were chosen. They come from the targetted villages and work with their fellow community members. The role of Community Activists, or CAs, is to help make the project work the community level, including performing holding community meetings, monitoring project activities and programmes, identifying project beneficiaries and awareness raising.
The CAs work directly in the community. They become the projects “local experts” and carry out many important jobs, including: identifying children either at-risk or who are already engaged in child labor, assessing children’s training needs and helping them enroll in educational programs; tracking school attendance; conducting advocacy; and communicating between the villagers and the PROSPER Plus project.
A win-win situation for CAs
In return for the intregal role that CAs play, they receive extra training on entrepreneurship and business skills, how to initiate income generation activities. Each CA develops business plan for an income generating activities he or she wishes to venture into. Following a review of these business plans, the project then supported each Community Activist with a grant so they can launch their businesses. Many CAs opted for poultry keeping, horticultural cropping, retail trade, maize selling and goat keeping.
Many CAs have seen their lives change for the better because of their businesses. They are better able to meet their essential needs such as providing fortheir families, repairing their bicycles, and paying for their children’s education . Some have improved their homes through replacing thatched roofs with iron sheet roofs, others have reinvested their income into expanding their small businesses or moved into other agriculture projects such as growing maize, sunflower, and groundnuts.
The PROSPER Plus project celebrates the Community Activists, who work to ensure that children in their villages are safe from child labour and who have made great strides themselves.