The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dar es Salaam gathered key Norwegian companies, experts and the Tanzanian government for a seminar and hands-on workshop on gender and human rights in the private sector. The seminar aimed at championing a new gendered approach to human rights and business.
We are happy to see Norwegian businesses engage with Tanzanian partners to put this into action, said Norwegian Ambassador Mrs. Hanne-Marie Kaarstad.
A win-win situation for all
Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adelhelm Meru from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments opened the seminar. He used the occasion to thank Norway for its support to private sector development in Tanzania. He also assured those present that the government sees gender, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and human rights as important issues, and that they expect all companies to work on improving the situation in the private sector.
Focusing on gender creates a win-win situation for the companies and for our country, assured PS Meru.
LHRC: This is what can be done
Several companies and organisations gave presentations on their work and perspective on the topic in Tanzania. The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) in Dar es Salaam gave several suggestions on what could be done to improve the current situation, amongst others the need for companies to implement effective policies on gender and put in place specific numbers for women to be employed. They also urged for gender assessments, implementation of operational guidelines for sub-contractors and suppliers on human rights and gender approaches, and the need to establish a mechanism to address grievances from communities, suppliers, sub-contractors and internal policies.
Tanzania should also put in place awareness raising programs on the importance of gender in business, said Imelda Lulu Urio from LHRC.
Key Norwegian companies presented their work on CSR and gender; Statoil (Oil & gas), Yara (fertiliser), Green Resources (forestry), Twiga Cement (cement), Tanga International Competence Center (TICC - Meetingpoint Tanga - social business) and Rift Valley (energy).
The event was organised with FOCUS Forum for Women and Development and Business and Human Rights East Africa, with input from United Nations Global Compact Tanzania, Legal and Human Rights Centre and Norges Vel.