WoteSawa advocates for the rights of domestic workers and combats human trafficking, with a specific focus on child trafficking. Their comprehensive programming includes educating workers about their rights, facilitating employment contracts, providing economic empowerment opportunities, and actively advocating for legal reforms.
The term "WoteSawa" translates to "all equal" in Swahili. Founded by a former child domestic worker, WoteSawa takes a bold stance in advocating for basic rights. Each year, they provide refuge for approximately 75 children who have escaped trafficking. Since its establishment in 2014, WoteSawa has assisted hundreds of survivors.
Why Their Work Matters
In Tanzania, an estimated 1 million children, predominantly girls, are engaged in domestic work. Poverty and other related challenges in rural areas drive children to migrate to urban centers in search of employment in private households. Despite their crucial role, some domestic workers face mistreatment and rights violations. WoteSawa was established as an advocate for and by domestic workers, uniquely positioning it to address issues within the sector.
In July 2019, the Tanzanian government, through the Ministry of Home Affairs' Anti-Trafficking Secretariat, acknowledged WoteSawa for its remarkable contributions to combating human trafficking. The government specifically commended WoteSawa's collaborative efforts in implementing various anti-trafficking interventions. Notably, the safe house managed by WoteSawa played a pivotal role in initiating the development of a national guideline dedicated to establishing and managing safe houses for victims of human trafficking and survivors of violence in Tanzania.
By 2023, Wotesawa's child rescue efforts impacted 502 individuals, including 197 males and 305 females (parents, caregivers and community members). This initiative raised awareness about essential parenting skills, resulting in a collective decision among parents to prioritize their children's education over sending them to urban areas for child labor.
Collaborating with various stakeholders, WoteSawa is actively involved in advocating for the ratification of ILO Domestic Workers Convention No. 189 in Tanzania. This initiative is crucial as the country currently lacks specific legislation to protect and improve the welfare of domestic workers. The anticipated ratification holds the potential to establish decent work conditions and comprehensive legal protection for domestic workers once the process is successfully completed.
Angela, a passionate advocate for domestic workers in Tanzania, holds a Bachelor of Laws and has dedicated over a decade to protecting domestic workers, particularly young girls, from abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking. Starting as a domestic worker herself, Angela’s personal experience fuels her commitment to fighting for improved rights and working conditions for her fellow laborers.
Beyond Tanzania, Angela played a key role in lobbying for the signing of Convention No. 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers at the International Labour Organization (ILO) conference in 2011. Recognized internationally for her efforts, she was honored in 2015 as one of 60 Young Queens from Commonwealth countries by Queen Elizabeth II for her outstanding work. Angela has been named a Hero in the fight against child labor and human trafficking, and she is currently a Ford Global fellow.
Leading the WoteSawa team today, Angela empowers domestic workers and survivors of domestic servitude and human trafficking through education, shelters, economic empowerment, and awareness initiatives. She ensures they understand their rights and responsibilities under the law, helping them claim their rightful place in society. Angela’s tireless efforts serve as a beacon of hope, inspiring young girls to dream big and strive for a brighter future within their communities.
Mkwaya Manyama, a 2011 graduate of St. Augustine University of Tanzania with a Bachelor of Business Administration, has been an integral part of WoteSawa since joining in March 2016. As the finance and administrator, her goal is to provide strong leadership, interpersonal communication, and responsible management, ensuring financial transparency and maximized value in project implementation.
In her role as the financial backbone of WoteSawa, Mkwaya handles critical responsibilities, from crafting budgets to monitoring their execution, ensuring fiscally responsible resource allocation. She establishes strong donor relationships, manages budget requests and diligently tracks their status. Mkwaya oversees internal and external audits, guaranteeing the organization’s financial health. Her meticulous scrutiny of payment requests, retirements, and expenses ensures compliance with approved budgets and accounting regulations.
Beyond financial matters, Mkwaya contributes to administrative duties, managing senior management meetings and participating in donor negotiations for proposal submissions. Her meticulous attention to detail, coupled with strong leadership and communication skills, makes Mkwaya an invaluable asset to WoteSawa. Her commitment to financial accountability and responsible project management ensures the organization’s sustainability in its crucial work.