Nov 4, 2020

Progress report

I must begin by expressing my feelings about the current political situation in the country after the general elections. We feel unsafe and insecure because the gross violation of human rights by the pas regime and there is no hope for anything better than the past. We are not going underground but we must use a low profile to avoid any confrontation by the law enforcers.

Let me also use this opportunity to extend our sincere gratitude to you all for standing with us since the beginning of this year and during the unprecedented times of COVID-19 Pandemic. This year was the most difficult year for our organization and the LGBT community at large. We remained active and worked hard to protect, defend and promote LGBT rights but we were also forced to reduce or drop some of our services due to lack of funding.

With your support our offices remained open though we could not hold our monthly meetings but we still had our emergency services to the needy LGBT individuals run smoothly, it is during this time when we became aware of the importance of mutual aid and community care to the LGBT community and the situation helped push us to get more involved in health related advocacy with the aim of defending, promoting and protecting the rights of LGBT rights as  we now emphasize that there should be an inclusive response to pandemics to help alleviate the danger posed to vulnerable LGBT communities because of discrimination against and criminalization.

Due to COVID-19 and the financial constraints we were unable to finish our project named Backlash and resistance that aims to better anticipate, pre-empt and counter resistance and backlash and develop taxonomy of resistance and backlash and to develop a report addressing different forms of resistance and backlash and counter tactics. We hope to implement the final stage early next year.

But we were able to document cases of Homophobia and discrimination against LGBT people and learned that members of the LGBT community experienced higher levels of physical, sexual, and emotional violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Experiences range from being forced to go and stay with family that are homo-,lesbo-, or trans-phobic, to being denied food, or a place to stay, suffering abusive behavior, insecure accommodation arrangements also forced many LGBT people to move in with haters because of the lack of alternative places to stay. The social discrimination, which had placed such people in a precarious position prior to the COVID-19 crisis, has seen them put under even more severe stress during the pandemic. These taught us that it is the LGBT community itself and the allies that can provide support to this lonely community

That is why we still need your generosity to empower LGBT persons, and include them in finding solutions to their needs. Pushing our government to incorporate gender considerations into national responses to Pandemics is slow and need more efforts, but we promise to continue working hard to achieve it.

We have designed a project that aim to train 25 LGBT activist from Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar to equip them with skills and the knowledge required so that they can understand how to advocate in their own communities (regions) and informing policymakers and politicians about inclusiveness and effective participation. They should also become trainers at district level.

The technology in our country is still not advanced and we are unable to use a digital space to serve more LGBT individuals who need counseling, emergency and support for trauma recovery, the general planning and administration so there is still a need for an office space to run our organization

We urgently need some extra funding because of additional challenges caused by COVID-19 Pandemic because now our budgeting is a real challenge; the organization is run on a shoestring so we are not even securing enough to cover administrative costs, which means it will be more difficult to implement our projects. We sent out an appeal for $3,000 and we were able to raise $1,400 that means we still need $1,600 to cover the general running of the organization which include part of the rent, utility, internet, and communication and staff allowances, kindly consider making any amount so that we can reach our goal and continue serving the LGBT community.

Jul 8, 2020

Project Update

Thanks to our supporters and friends for standing with us during these unprecedented times of COVID-19 Pandemic, LGBT Voice Tanzania is still Active and working hard to protect, defend and promote LGBT rights in Tanzania but there is the risk that our helplines and shelters for poor homeless LGBT individuals are getting shutdown due to lack of funding

The public health threat of COVID-19 has shown us now, more than ever, the importance of mutual aid and community care. Since our commitment is to protect the general wellbeing of LGBT people in Tanzania we have become more involved in health related advocacy but with the aim of defending, promoting and protecting the rights of LGBT rights as  we call and emphasize that there should be a nuanced and inclusive response to the pandemic to help alleviate the danger posed to vulnerable LGBT communities because of discrimination against and criminalization.

We are documented cases of Homophobia and discrimination against LGBT people that show many of the members of the LGBT community reporting higher levels of physical, sexual, and emotional violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experiences range from being forced to go and stay with family that are homo-,lesbo-, or trans-phobic, to being denied food, or a place to stay, suffering abusive behavior, insecure accommodation arrangements have also forced many LGBT people to move in with haters because of the lack of alternative places to stay. Social discrimination, which had already placed such people in a precarious position prior to the COVID-19 crisis, has seen them put under even more severe stress during the pandemic, yet no local authorities have rallied to offer some support them. It has been mostly the LGBT community itself and we the civil society organizations that have provided support, and some small funding and relief.

Due to the inequalities in the socio-economic systems in Tanzania, which sexual and gender-based violence is a primary one, our work here is advocate for consideration of Gender discrimination in every response to this unprecedented public health crisis with hope that our country still has the opportunity to empower LGBT persons, and include them in finding solutions.

We are also working hard to push our government to adopt guidelines already developed by Agencies such as UN Women and UNFPA to incorporate gender considerations into national responses to COVID-19.Which means that services such as emergency helpline services and shelters remain available not just to women and girls who are considered socially acceptable, but also to other groups who are discriminated against, for example, trans-diverse people who sell sex, and queer people who are homeless. The LGBT community must be equally included in the provision of services to combat COVID-19, and this must be up front and central and not done in an ad hoc manner.

LGBT Voice is also active in helping the LGBT community to understand how they can advocate in their communities and informing policymakers and politicians about inclusiveness and effective participation.

Four months ago, we wouldn't have imagined that the pandemic would upend life as we know it. LGBT individuals have reported an increased demand in services and support; disruption of services and supplies; higher operational costs; and decreased revenue. Over half of centers are experiencing cancellation of fundraising, reduced fee-for service, and reduced individual contributions.

Despite the hardships, it's been phenomenal to see how we have turned on a dime to continue serving our local communities. We are still learning on how to use a digital space to serve more LGBT individuals who need counseling and support for trauma recovery.

Please allow me to make an official appeal for continued financial support we need to cover administration costs i.e.

1. Office Rent

2. Utility bills,

3. Staff allowances,

4. Purchase of 1 desktop computer

If you are able kindly make a donation and also create awareness about our work within your community.

May 4, 2020

Project Update

Thanks to all of you for supporting our work which must ontinue, because it is needed now as much as ever. COVID-19 is changing lives and working patterns and depriving LGBT persons from their usual networks of support such as family and close communities, which increases vulnerability. We are therefore working hard to fill the gaps and mobilize mechanisms for ensuring the needs of LGBT person are met.

There is an increase in the need for our services. Equal rights being the real issues and many LGBT people are facing both health and economical hardships. The environment needs saving, and most services are not available for free to the poor and vulnerable individuals’ especially homeless LGBT youth who need a shelter which puts the burden on our organization to respond quickly to unpredictable situations and deliver much needed services

Our advocacy is for communities who are ignored and excluded, or even scapegoated and criminalized. So with the emergence of this new pandemic, we're not surprised that the most marginalized among us are among those experiencing the most harm. 

While our work to defend, protect and promote the human rights of LGBT people in Tanzania continues throughout these challenging times, our advocacy is that human rights must be at the centre of the response to this latest public health challenge. We're in a time when rapid responses are needed, but evidence is limited. This means an even greater risk that fear and misinformation will lead to public policies that are bad both for human rights and for public health.  

We urgently need some extra funding because of additional challenges caused by COVID-19 Pandemic and now having a steady income is becoming hard for our organization, and that makes our budgeting a real challenge pushing the organization to run on a shoestring so our focus has now fallen on securing enough to cover administrative costs before seeing what is left for projects. 

 
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