Aims & Objectives
As a tropical Island located on the Swahili coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar is well known globally as the “spice island” with paradise beaches. The stories told about Zanzibar and its people are predominantly told by others and conveys narratives of poverty. The reproduction of outdated, harmful and neo-colonial stereotypes, often narrated through a western gaze, heavily influences how Africans and the African continent are framed by and in international media and popular culture.
The Female Footprints project aims to challenge harmful narratives and stereotypes of African women and gendered norms and structures by celebrating the diversity, agency and power of Zanzibari women and their achievements and contributing towards public debates around gender equality.
The overall aim of the Female Footprints Project is to celebrate and put the spotlight on female role models in the Zanzibari society. By doing so we expect to achieve many ripple effects such as increasing the self-worth and pride of the women who are included in the project, inspiring others to take leadership in their own lives and communities, spreading positive stories about (Zanzibari) women and in general promoting the idea that women in leadership, female empowerment and gender equality is beneficial to all.
Following public nominations through traditional and social media the Advisory Board will make a final selection of women to be featured in the project. The final selection will not be confined to conventional or traditional assumptions about what a “successful woman” is, but will include change-makers that have left footprints at national, sector-specific, regional, local and community levels.
The project to go beyond celebrating women, we also expect to achieve increased skills, networks and opportunities for female creatives mentored in the project. We support and stands behind #BlackLivesMatter. The project will amplify black voices by providing platforms where they tell their own stories to a wide audience.
Outputs & Activities
The Female Footprints Project uses innovative methods to create meaningful discussions about difficult topics. We put the spotlight on 50 female Zanzibari change-makers that will be featured in:
- Bi-lingual Coffee Table Book (English and Swahili)
- Children’s Book in Swahili
- Traveling Photo Exhibition & Community Outreach Activities
- Permanent Photo Exhibition at Zanzibar’s Airport and Ferry port
- Media Advocacy
Coffee Table Book
This unique bilingual (Swahili and English) coffee table book features 50 women and their stories alongside outstanding photography work of both the women and Zanzibar. The book amplifies the voices of women engaged in diverse sectors such as fashion, politics, beauty, public health, tourism, sports, community development, recycling and environmental protection, agriculture, arts, education, fitness, activism, women’s reproductive health and rights, journalism, air aviation, agriculture, media, and much more.
The below sample from the book displays examples of the photography and stories of three of the women featured in the project:
Zanzibar has an oral culture, where storytelling plays a strong role. Available and affordable literature in Swahili, especially by, about and for Zanzibari people, are scarce. This is especially true for children’s books. It is widely accepted that children benefit immensely not only from reading but from books with characters that they can identify with.
Literature in general, and children’s books in particular, are predominantly centered around male characters and protagonists. In addition, people of color in general and Africans in particular are heavily underrepresented. There is a pressing need for more literature for Zanzibari children and youth that provides Afro-positive representation and messages that inspire girls and boys and support progressive conversations about gender equality, female empowerment and structural injustices. Our Children’s Book is inspired by “Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls” will be in easy to read Swahili and suitable for the age group 7-16 years. With strong and clear messages about gender equality, children and youth will be exposed to the stories, lives, achievements, struggles and courage of Zanzibari women, learn about the history of their island from female perspectives and provide strong female role models to look up to and identify with.
Both the Coffee Table- & the Children’s Book will be available in bookshops around Zanzibar and Tanzania, in hotels, tourism hotspots and online. The books will be sold with the Buy-1-Give-1 model, where each sold book finances the donation of one children’s book to a school or student. The children’s book will be distributed in partnership with Zanzibar’s Ministry of Education, who have agreed to partner in the project’s 4th phase. Part of the proceeds will be re-invested in projects and activities that empower women and girls.
Travelling Photo Exhibition
With the explicit aim to make the project accessible to the public, our travelling photo exhibition will display the photographs and stories of the 50 women for one week at an initial 10 locations around Zanzibar. In combination with community outreach activities the exhibition aims to spark critical discussions around gender equality. Local authorities, leaders and schools in each location will be actively involved.
Depending on demand and available funds, we hope to display the exhibition at additional locations and during cultural events around Zanzibar, mainland Tanzania and internationally. Led by Pamojaföreningen, the exhibition will be displayed in Kiruna, Sweden at the annual Pamoja Festival.
Permanent Photo Exhibition
Inspired by “Welcome to My Hometown” permanent exhibition that displays photographs of inspiring Swedes at Arlanda Airport since 2005, we will install permanent Female Footprints exhibitions at Zanzibar’s two entry ports; the airport and the ferry port.
Tourists and visitors often have outdated prejudices about Zanzibar as a whole, and Zanzibar women in particular. By making sure each person that enters Zanzibar is greeted by fifty female Zanzibari change-makers we will not only contribute towards challenging tourists harmful stereotypes but also provide a powerful message that women are the future of Zanzibar.
The Female Footprints Project is divided into and implemented in four phases, as outlined below:
Phase 1: Project Design, Building Project Partnerships & Creation of Front
Page & Sample Pages of the Coffee Table Book
Funded: By project partners
Phase 2: Creating the content of the Female Footprints Coffee Table Book &
Status: CURRENTLY IMPLEMENTED
Funded: Currently seeking grant funding and fundraising through GoFundMe
Phase 3: Final Editing, Printing & Publishing
Funded: Grants, Sponsors & Donations
Phase 4: Photo Exhibitions (traveling and permanent), Outreach & Advocacy
Funded: Grants, Sponsors & Donations
Target Groups & Final Beneficiaries
Women and girls will benefit from the project in the following ways:
- Take part of inspirational stories of female change-makers at all levels of society that are
classified as successful, inspirational and “enough” regardless of if their story features
change at the community level (e.g. as mothers/friends/farmers), national level (e.g.
politicians, business owners, celebrities) or somewhere inbetween.
- Take part of stories about women that they can identify with and who demonstrate that it is
possible to divert from the limited traditional options and choices available to many women
and girls in Zanzibar.
- Relate to women portrayed in the book and through that get a sense of representation, and
access to a wide variety of female role models.
- The project is a door opener to conversations and progressive dialogue and reflection on
topics related to gender equality (e.g. women’s political participation, freedom of speech,
female empowerment, women in leadership, choices and traditionally perceived
expectations) within and between families, schools, communities and at the national level.
Men and boys benefit from the project as they will be exposed to new perspectives that challenge gender norms, stereotypes, perceptions and representations which encourages reflections and discussions about gender equality. Small and large changes towards a more gender equal society benefits all. Boys will benefit from the children’s book and the progressive messages it conveys.
Tourists and visitors to Zanzibar & international readers benefit as the project offers a nuanced image of the Zanzibar society, and womens multi-dimensional roles within it. This will indirectly benefit local communities as it may contribute towards less negative comments, behaviour and attitudes from tourists stemming from ignorance, colonial legacies, white saviour complexes and harmful stereotypes.
Female Change-Makers. The women we will work with and feature in the project will be nominated by the public, with the final selection being done by WomenFuture Book’s Advisory Board following eight criteria. The final selection will include women that inspire those around them, empower women and girls, support themselves and others to reach their envisioned goals, create and innovate, show courage, form public debates, challenge harmful norms and stereotypes and work for positive change. The final selection will thereby not be confined to conventional or traditional assumptions about what a “successful woman” is, but will include change-makers that have left footprints at national, sector-specific, regional, local and community levels. The women will benefit as they will receive significant recognition and attention for their work and achievements from their community members, media and through the books and exhibitions. This is likely to boost their self-confidence, provide access to new networks and opportunities and strengthen them in their roles as change-makers. In addition, the overall project acts as an amplifier and enables women to reach out wider with their messages and stories (that relate to women’s political participation, freedom of speech, female empowerment, women in leadership and much more).
Female Creatives (journalists, photographers, writers, opinion-leaders, authors and academics). The making of the books and exhibitions, will involve the work and mentoring of up and coming
female journalists and photographers. They will benefit as their skills and professional networks are widened and deepened, and through a significant addition to their CV which can contribute to new opportunities. The project also works with 6 female writers, opinion-leaders, authors and
academics who will each contribute a short chapter on a topic related to women’s historical and
contemporary roles in Zanzibar. They will benefit through recognition, access to new platforms and networks and potentially new opportunities.
The Female Footprints project is implemented through a collaborative partnership.
Pamojaföreningen are responsible for overall project management, administration and financial
management as well as technical support and planning.
Tanzania Media Women’s Association, Zanzibar (TAMWA, ZNZ) leads the journalistic aspects
of text based content creation (including mentoring). TAMWA also leads project components
related to media, advocacy and outreach.
AshGallery leads the photography components, including mentoring female photographers.
WomenFuture Books will design, edit, print and publish the books and are responsible for overall
project coordination in Zanzibar, including implementing Phase 2 and planning for Phase 3 and 4.
The Government of Zanzibar through the Ministry of Gender and Ministry of Education and Vocational Training supports the overall project implementation.