2023 was the 30th year since the birth of MVIWATA and its mission of uniting smallholder farmers’ for a common voice in defense of their rights.

Like in many other stories and processes, the history of MVIWATA has at is core the significant role of both women and men in the birth and the ongoing process of nurturing the dream, of uniting small-holder farmers in quest for their rights.  

Historically, women in MVIWATA, from the early years formed part of the first missionaries of telling the tales that saw the formation of many groups and networks; from the early few groups coming from only 6 regions to the present network of farmers that has its presence in every region of Tanzania (both mainland and Zanzibar).

Perhaps it’s hard to articulate by words and figures, the great contribution that women small-holder farmers made in the construction of MVIWATA agenda and its execution, but it’s not very hard to account for the great contribution that women have (and are) still playing in organizing people into groups and networks and mobilizing them towards common action, which is the mission of MVIWATA.

It’s not hard to account for popular stories of the major and renowned political and even economical gains that few women have made so far since the world has embraced the “equality” agenda. However, it is very hard to account with certainty, on how the specific mainstreamed gains have translated to many women belonging to the working class.

Understanding the clear-cut line of women through class lenses has directed us to question not only on the role but rather on the needs, challenges that are attached to working class women and more precisely, peasant women from which peasant women form the centre of the analysis.

Apart from the many previously implemented actions, from 2018, MVIWATA embarked in a journey of understanding the changing context of peasant women struggles in line with the overall struggles of the peasantry class as whole.


The first, in early 2018, MVIWATA hosted a LVC-SEAf regional initiative aimed at understanding violence against women and Peasant Feminism from which a study was done to understand the type and levels of violence against peasant women, whose results highlighted a lot of similarities and difference of the nature of violence between peasant women to other women, and to even women from the same class- the working class. The findings of this study were compiled and presented in a study titled; PEASANT WOMEN ARE WOMEN (read below)


The study in a way, shaped MVIWATA’s thinking and strategies towards ensuring gender justice, the biggest being learning from the peasant women themselves. This process, informed amongst many things that women, rural struggles, feminism, violence against women and strategies to end them, can only be understood if peasant women, lead the process of re-defining, giving meaning and formulating strategies of the issues that confronts them collectively based on their own history and existing context.

It was this reality that informed MVIWATA to massively engage in peasant feminism meetings, peasant feminism educational programs as well as campaign to end violence against women through a number of initiatives and activities as proposed and passed by MVIWATA members. And it was indeed from this process, that realities on peasant women struggles as well as violence against peasant women have gained meaning through both gender and class analysis.

In this particular article, we give an account of major events linked to Peasant Feminism that were organized and implemented by MVIWATA in 2023.

2023 International Women Day

The international women’s day in 2023 was organized in 28 different locations across Tanzania and attained the participation of more than 4,000 (70% rural women, 30% rural men) mainly small-holder farmers. 

See the map representation of the local organized events by MVIWATA for the commemoration of the IWD in 2023

For the commemoration, Marches were organized in all 28 local networks through which women communicated the need to collectively work towards gender justice in their communities and demanding that quality social services, be provided to everyone without discrimination. To demonstrate this, Provision of free health screening services was done where, more than 300 women were screened for cervical cancer supported by rural public health care centers. The dialogues organized during this day of action saw a convergence of discussions and demands despite the difference in geographical locations; violence against peasant women and young girls, availability of social services where peasant women discussed on the expensive and unbearable price tags attached to different important services needed for their welfare and that of the society they live in, seed sovereignty as well as food sovereignty , all emerged as key areas of struggles amongst peasant women.

As much is needed to end violence which is born from the fruits of oppression, exploitation and suppression, women called for a common voice to speak against violence, in all its forms and accordingly report the issues openly and widely using both public-political and traditional spaces. In some places, the Gender desks of respective areas were invited to participate in the events. In Manyara for example, which is the leading region for gender-based violence in Tanzania, most of which go un-noticed, from March 2023, a total of 13 new cases of violence were reported as a result of the women voices raised during the 8th March at the same village.

Provision of free legal aid services during the commemoration events was also done where in total; 37 cases were reported of which; 5 cases were on gender-based violence, 14 Matrimonial Cases, 5 Probate Cases, 4 Childcare Cases, 1 Civil Case and 8 Land Cases.

MVIWATA Zonal Peasant Feminism encounter

One of its kind MVIWATA held the first ever zonal Peasant Feminism encounter having peasant women from Dodoma, Manyara, Tanga, Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions. The events, hosted by MVIWATA Manyara network saw the participation of about 130 peasant women from the participating regions.

Campaign to end violence against peasant women

Organized around November yearly, 2023 campaign actions spearheaded actions (dialogues, trainings) to end violence against peasant women. Meetings, radio programs through MVIWATA Fm also saw men and women, peasant and non-peasant discussing on violence against peasant women and actions to end violence against peasant women. This campaign was winded up by the National level peasant women meeting that had discussions and deliberations of the women and young girls’ representatives to the MVIWATA’s 28th annual general meeting and 30th anniversary in Njombe, a gathering that had the participation of more than 1000 small-scale members of MVIWATA across Tanzania.

Mviwata on Facebook

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter