AUCD Professional Fellows alumni Gwaliwa Mashaka (Fall 2018) and Aneth Gerana (2020) from Tanzania have been named among the recipients of the 2021 Zero Project Awards, which honor the world’s best innovative practices and policies in disability inclusion every year. Gwaliwa and Aneth are being recognized for their groundbreaking work on inclusive employment in Africa, and they will be formally showcased as leaders in global best practices in the 2021 Zero Project Report. They join an elite group of 82 awardees from around the world this year and will be honored on one of the world’s most prestigious disability rights platforms.
GWALIWA’S ZERO PROJECT AWARD
Gwaliwa’s Zero Project award honors her creation of Employable Africa, an innovative online platform which helps individuals with disabilities (especially women) find jobs and enables employers to post job listings so they can recruit inclusively. Gwaliwa strengthened Employable Africa’s capacity during her PFP-IDE Fellowship in the U.S. in 2018, which she spent at The Ohio State University Nisonger Center (Ohio UCEDD), and has expanded the platform’s reach and impact significantly. Since her Fellowship, Gwaliwa has met with U.S. Embassy officials and partnered with other Professional Fellows alumni in Tanzania to conduct employment trainings and public events, and has maintained close alliances with her U.S. hosts.
Gwaliwa has expanded Employable Africa’s scope in many ways during 2020, and has transformed it into a platform that advises private sector firms across Africa on best practices for accessibility, which remain a key concern for inclusive employment advocates. She has also created and incorporated new assistive technology resources, including Rafiki Connect, the first transcription service designed to support individuals with disabilities across Africa.
ANETH’S ZERO PROJECT AWARD
Aneth’s Zero Project Award honors her innovative work to empower young women with disabilities economically by building their entrepreneurial skills and technical expertise, creating professional learning centers, and expanding their access to business and credit providers. Aneth founded and leads FUWAVITA (Furaha Ya Wanawake Wajasiriamali Kwa Viziwi Tanzania), an organization committed to disability inclusion and gender equity. So far, Aneth and FUWAVITA have enabled 500 women with disabilities (mostly Deaf women) to become independent entrepreneurs by administering specialized trainings that build leadership skills and help them develop technical expertise to pursue a variety of careers.
Aneth and her team have also educated the Tanzanian public and policymakers about disability inclusion and recently conducted an inclusive COVID-19 project which employed women with disabilities to create accessible masks for Deaf individuals. She has also advocated for greater access to microloans for persons with disabilities, and successfully pushed the government to let entrepreneurs with disabilities access credit for small business owners via Tanzania’s Presidential Trust Fund.
Aneth plans for the initiative honored by the Zero Project to train 900 deaf women in entrepreneurial and leadership skills by the end of 2022. She will also expand access to digital content that will connect women with disabilities to credit, new markets, and skills development platforms. Aneth is currently enrolling Tanzanian women with disabilities in FUWAVITA’s network in WhatsApp and Facebook groups that will serve as professional networks and enable them to broaden the reach of their small businesses. She also plans to create a new web portal and learning centers in Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro that will promote ICT trainings for women with disabilities.
Gwaliwa and Aneth’s recognition marks the second consecutive year that the Zero Project has honored program alumni. Spring 2017 alum Maria Omare received a 2020 Zero Project Award for her innovative delivery of inclusive education and community resources in Kenya.
Full Announcements of 2021 Zero Project Award Recipients
Aneth Gerana’s Zero Project Summary
Aneth Gerana’s Zero Project Plan Statement