Logo SAVE - Sisters against violent extremism

05. May 2014

Mothers Schools: Focus on Zanzibar 1

SAVE with Zayedesa in Zanzibar

Mothers Schools: Focus on Zanzibar 2

The Mothers School training workshop

Mothers Schools: Focus on Zanzibar 3

Mothers Schools: Focus on Zanzibar 1

Mothers Schools: Focus on Zanzibar 5

Mothers Schools: Focus on Zanzibar

“Mothers are the captains onboard; you can’t leave the ship despite the stormy seas.”

- with this image the ten new Mothers School trainers set on their pioneering journey to launch five new Mothers Schools across the island of Zanzibar.   Our Mothers Schools help women to take an active role in safeguarding their families.

Zanzibar is an island in the Indian Ocean, which together with Pemba island and the mainland make the United Republic of Tanzania. Despite idyllic blue seas and lush green scenery, tensions in Zanzibar are rising. In the upcoming months Zanzibaris will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum to decide on their future with the mainland. Elections are on the horizon too and there are differing views on the present Unity Government. In the last year Zanzibar has seen attacks on clerics and imams driven by suspected radical ideologists and thereby creating a climate of uncertainty.

Indeed the Zanzibaris were shocked to see their youth take to the streets of Stone Town where the youth were shouting slogans of hatred and set car tires on fire.   In such critical times, these are moments when everything can go out of balance and certain radical leaders are on standby.  The youth make up more than half the population and their high unemployment makes them easy targets.

Zanzibar is clearly showing the cracks, but it is still in a state where prevention is possible. This is a unique transitional stage and for this to be a real opportunity, the women need to be part of the peace and security process. They need to bring their voice and concerns to the table, to use their innate collaborative skills to reduce friction between opposing sides and to reach for a solution-based outcome. They need to be active in their families and communities to build resilience and create alternatives to divisive external forces, which might lure them in to a destructive direction.  They need to be aware, to take their fair share of responsibility and to take initiative to safeguard their adolescents.

This is the entry point for the Mothers Schools. Together with our renowned implementing partner Zayedesa who have substantial experience with women, youth, drugs and HIV. We will strengthen the position of mothers at the heart of their families and train them in parenting skills that will help them to understand and communicate with their children in volatile situations, to read early warning signs of potential deviant behaviour and respond in a positive way.  

The mothers will learn to set up a Mothers Watch System to support each other in the families, neighborhood and communities. In the brainstorming sessions, one participant voiced how important it is to move beyond usual responses with adolescents: “I didn’t realize that by punishing my son I can be part of the problem, pushing him away – now I will investigate, reason, not to chase them away but to listen and face the truth, find a solution and overcome the problem.”

Zayedesa will roll out the program across the island and we are looking forward to accompany them on this journey from Bububu, Kiembesamaki to Dunga!


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