Das Frauen ohne Grenzen Team, die vier österreichischen Schwimmtrainerinnen und die First Lady von Sansibar, Shadya A. Karume in Stone Town/Sansibar
vorne, v.l.n.r.: Ulrich Kropiunigg, Shadya A.Karume, Edit Schlaffer
hinten, v.l.n.r.: Laura Kropiunigg, Eva Zagorz, Joe Hepworth, Elaine Hargrove, Elisabeth Szalay, Elisabeth Kasbauer, Elke Reicht, Hedi Weirer, Rafael Kropiunigg
Die Filmemacherin Sylvia Strasser (Paolo Film) mit dem lokalen Filmteam in Sansibar
Edit Schlaffer im GEspräch mit Sania Hassan, der Tourismusministerin von Sansibar
Eine Gruppe der Teilnehmerinnen am Schwimmtraining und Gesundheitsworkshop
StudentInnen des Teamshaping Workshops
From 22 June to 10 July 2008, Women without Borders traveled to Zanzibar—a small island in the Indian Ocean, half an hour by plane from Tanzania—with a team of researchers from the fields of economics, science, and psychology. (Scroll down for Video)
Zanzibar’s population is 98% Muslim, and almost half of the inhabitants are affected by poverty and live on ca. one US Dollar a day. High rates of unemployment, minimal opportunities for education, and slim prospects for the future define everyday life. Women are especially disadvantaged; they must fight an uphill battle to secure basic education, they have almost no say in family decisions, and parents generally retain the right of spousal choice for their children. Rising rates of HIV/AIDS infections, want of medical care, poor educational opportunities (especially for girls), as well as the lack of future prospects for youth are producing a climate of uncertainty and hopelessness.
Nonetheless, the island has potential. It is a jewel in the Indian Ocean, has fertile soil, a unique cultural heritage, fantastic beaches, and active, educated, and involved young men and women who want to play a part in shaping the future of their homeland. This potential is not being utilized, and the local resources are not being employed. Even the booming tourist sector is bypassing the local population.
The women of Zanzibar need to be challenged and encouraged to actively look for chances and to advocate for their country. The project that came to fruition in summer 2008—swim- and lifeguard training held in conjunction with confidence-boosting and health workshops for young women and Teamshaping workshops for male and female university students—is the first step towards achieving an “Island of Change.”
Swimming into the Future! Between Veil and Bathing Dress:
Four professional Austrian lifeguards – Elke Reicht and Elisabeth Szalay from the Austrian Life Guard Association and Hedi Weirer and Eva Zagorz from the Austrian Youth Red Cross – trained a diverse group of 38 women: army and/or navy soldiers, housewives and farmers from the neighboring island of Pemba, entrepreneurs and activists, sewers and athletes all took part in the five-day swim course. The non-swimmers and beginners learned how to swim, practiced correct arm and leg techniques, and took part in water and lifeguard training.
“I learned so much in a short period of time. I can dive now, can breathe correctly, and know how to float—this is wonderful. And I’ve met so many new people here, I’m excited to have new friends,” so Amina.
My Body, My Self:
In addition to the swim lessons, the participants took part in a consciousness-raising and health workshop. A specifically developed training handbook targeted the needs of the Zanzibari women. Health was defined in the broadest sense, as bodily well-being, inner balance, freedom from abuse and life in a healthy environment.
Leaping into the water was a symbolic act for many of the women. Internal tensions were relaxed, fears were overcome, and direct access to one’s own body and emotions was discovered. Domestic violence is a major problem and a taboo topic in Zanzibar. There are no facilities for victims of domestic violence, no women’s shelters or hotlines. Cultural norms and restrictions, shame, and honor prevent many women from speaking up about violent assault. In the workshop, the participants had the opportunity to speak about domestic violence—for many for the first time in their lives.
Teamshaping – The young Zanzibari Talent Pool makes Africa their Job:
Prof. Ulrich Kropiunigg, from the Medical University of Vienna, has developed the Teamshaping Concept to provide relevant communicative structures to communities to enable them to identify and realize collectively determined goals. The Teamshaping model in Zanzibar had no prerequisites other than the general theme of “gender sensitivity;” the group members had to determine the subjects of investigation and end objectives themselves. Prof. Kropiunigg conducted two such Teamshaping workshops at the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) with students from the State University and Zanzibar University (ZU). These students represent the educated elite who are nonetheless caught between progressive ideals and an enduring lack of gender sensitivity. The Teamshaping workshops juxtaposed these two extremes, for while the first group was forward-thinking and dominated by the female participants, during the second week the men expressed lasting sentiments of male superiority and female subordination.
The Island of Change – Walking into the Future:
A fact-finding mission around the themes of environment, health, and tourism made possible the construction of an encompassing network on Zanzibar and has laid the foundation for ideas and future projects. Women without Borders met with male and female Ministers, activists, journalists, doctors, lawyers, athletes, and investor - with success: currently the first anonymous anti-violence hotline in Zanzibar is being established in cooperation with WwB’s partner organization: ZAYADESA.
We would like to thank our sponsors: Federal Chancellery for Sports, OPEC Fund, McCaw Foundation, Austrian Life Guard Association, Youth Red Cross, BTU Travel, Hervis Sports and all our supporters!
This short documentary reveals the highlights of Women without Borders’ journey, alongside the strong women of Zanzibar, towards self-empowerment: