Hi everyone! My name is Rayna Sutherland and I’m a third-year student in the International Development Studies Co-op Program as well as the African Studies and Women and Gender Studies Minor programs. With that, I am thrilled to be headed to Babati of the Manyara region of Tanzania for a three-month internship as a Women’s Economic Empowerment Officer with Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania Manyara (MVIWATA Manyara).
Through a focus on lobbying and advocacy, MVIWATA Manyara connects and unites regional farmers to channel their voices and defend their interests in regards to economic, social, political and cultural issues. I am humbled and so excited to support the work they are doing, specifically in their efforts to engage women. Beyond my pre-written mandate, I am excited to learn from the ways in which MVIWATA Manyara does development. I hope as I learn from and build relationships with those working within the organization, I may increasingly be able to support the work they are doing in regards to working towards gender equity.
I am thankful to the Queen Elizabeth Program, MVIWATA Manyara, WUSC/CECI and the Centre for Critical Development Studies (CCDS) at University of Toronto Scarborough for this opportunity. I am extremely grateful to all the staff and faculty at CCDS and WUSC for guiding me through preparing for this learning experience abroad.
I am so excited to take in this experience for all that it is! I hope to grow in stride with its challenges, embrace its learning opportunities and appreciate as much of the diverse Tanzanian culture as possible while being aware of my fluid positionality and learning as MUCH Kiswahili as I can along the way!
I will be using Facebook and Instagram (@raynasutherland) to share some of my learning throughout this incredible experience!