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Tanzania: changing behaviour

In Tanzania, Concern Worldwide is working with people to help them change their behaviour in ways that will improve their lives. For example, we're encouraging men to help their wives in the home. Isla Gilmore, our gender and communications officer told us more.

Charity work in Tanzania: Simeo Pascal showing that he often helps his wife Anastastia to collect water, in Ngara, Northwest Tanzania. Our charity is working there.

I want to talk a bit about something at the heart of our work that isn’t discussed much – behaviour change.

Any good development programme should not just “give things to people”; it should support people to make lasting changes in their lives that will improve their health and standard of living. Often, it will require people to change something they've been doing for a long time. And this is not easy.

Improving lives

Most of us want to change something to improve our lives – give up smoking, do more exercise or stop eating junk food. We all know it’s hard to attempt, and even harder to maintain. It’s no different in many of Concern's projects.

Training farmers

For instance, learning new techniques in farming isn’t just about education. Not everybody who learns actually adopts the new practice. And most of the time, people have very good reasons why they choose not to adopt the new practice.

Maybe they believe something negative will happen if they do, or maybe they believe that other people disapprove of them changing their ways. Maybe they feel they don't have the time or ability to perform the new technique.

Men helping women

To overcome this, we need to find out more about people’s needs and the ways they would like to change their lives.  In the western and southern parts of Tanzania  we spoke to men about helping in the home with things like cleaning, caring for children and cooking. The response was interesting.

Many men who help in the home believe the major benefit to doing this is happiness in the relationship – increased respect, love, peace and intimacy between the couple. So, we will now use this information to encourage more men to help their wives in the home.

Our charity work

People all over the world have their own very different reasons for change. So through proper analysis, we can help empower them to make changes that will have an impact on their lives and their communities. This is the essence of our work in development.