Women's Empowerment through Textiles, Sanitary Pads, and Handiwork

A group of girls stand displaying their special t-shirts and certificates.

Women from various parishes and sewing students throughout Mara Region being trained on new reusable pad sewing project, November 25th, 2019

Students will engage with new collaborative initiative that seeks to empower local women through the making and distribution of textiles, reusable sanitary pads, and other handiwork

Project description

Throughout rural Tanzania, women of all ages are involved in various sewing, textile, and handiwork activities offered through non-profits and faith-based organizations promoting women's empowerment. Often modest in their goals, these projects (even when successful) have limited reach and are difficult to sustain, relying on donors or grants. And yet, these projects - if coordinated through a viable social entrepreneurship model - offer an opportunity for groups to collaborate in exciting and sustainable ways.

We invite students to engage in an evolving collaborative effort between Mogabiri Farm Extension Center (under the leadership of Bishop Mwita Akiri) in Tarime, and HRCO (under the leadership of Stephen Marwa) in Tarime. The initiative will engage local women and sewing students from throughout the Mara Region in dying Batik cloth, sewing reusable sanitary pads, and working on other projects as a means for building individual and collective capacity. Collaboration with Stitch Buffalo is also being explored with other partnership opportunities being evaluated as the project gets under way.

Project outcome

The project outcomes will include contributing to the evolving collaborative model including:

  • Researching related models
  • Contributing to a strategic plan 
  • Working on marketing and communications efforts related to the initiative
  • Exploring partnership opportunities with Stitch Buffalo and other possible groups

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment About a semester (3-5 months)
Start time Open
Level of collaboration Variable
Benefits To be determined collaboratively
Who is eligible All students
Support Funding is available after the completion of the preparation badge. See below.
Truman and Fulbright Scholarships

Students participating in this project might be interested in and eligible for the Truman Scholarship and the Fulbright Scholarship. Connect with the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships to learn more.

Core partners

  • Stephen Marwa, HRC
  • Mogabiri Farm Extension Center

Project mentor

Mara Huber

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning, Director of

Experiential Learning Network

Phone: (716) 829-2834

Email: mbhuber@buffalo.edu


To engage with this project, you will work through a series of Project-Based Collaboration digital badges to guide your experience. These badges will:

  1. Guide you in setting your goals and intentions as well as gaining additional context,
  2. Enhance your collaboration with your mentor/partner,
  3. Support your reflection and help you integrate your learning with your academic and professional goals.

All students who wish to participate in a project on the Project Portal must first complete the Project Preparation Digital Badge. First, contact the project mentor to discuss availability and after you’ve received approval, you can start the Project Preparation Digital Badge.

Preparation guidance

Once you have registered for the Project Preparation Digital Badge, you will receive further instructions related to the activities you will need to complete. In addition, you will also complete the following preparation activities for this particular project:

  • Research on existing models in US/globally that might be relevant
  • Research on the region, challenges global partners face, such as GBV, FGM, and gender-based violence