Mama Bukuku’s story

10th March 2015

E2 Mama Bukuku


To celebrate International Women’s Day Team Kyimo, have decided to tell the story of an inspiring woman in their community.

Name: Mama Bukuku

Born: 1973 - Ibungu, RUNGWE district, Tanzania

Raised in Ibungu, Mama Bukuku has since lived in Tunduma, Kyda, and most recently Kyimo. Here she met her husband and they have four children together between the ages of three and 22 years old. She went to primary school at Katab. Her inspiration throughout her childhood was her older sister who she describes as a great entrepreneur; breeding chickens and selling timber her primary business ventures.

E2 Mama Bukuku

Since arriving in Kyimo, Mama Bukuku has established herself as an important figure within the community. One of her first actions was to become leader of the women’s group at the local church, a position to which she has been re-elected eight years in a row. Further to this, the Bukuku home hosts seven different group meetings, one of which is a local women’s initiative set up by Mama Bukuku herself. This group aims to raise money in order to provide micro-loans for people in the community in financial trouble. They also offer emotional support to community members who may have experienced a recent tragedy or setback.

In 2012 Mama Bukuku took a leaf out of her sister’s book and saw a gap in the market within her local community. She set up her own small kiosk by the road next to her house from which she sells basic items such as cooking oil, fabric soap (which she makes herself – another feather in her hat!), soft drinks, and sweet treats. From a young age, rearing pigs for market has been a family tradition, something which Mama Bukuku has continued into adult life.

E2 woman bananas

The everyday life of Mama Bukuku is certainly not a quiet one. The only time you’ll see her ‘relaxing’ is when she spends quality time with her youngest daughter, Betha. The fact that she makes time for this every day without fail during her busy schedule is inspiring. Working long hours comes naturally to Mama Bukuku. Some typical day-to-day activities may include cooking delicious food for the family, hosting women’s group meetings, buying supplies from Kyimo town, endless washing of clothes, sheets and pans or fulfilling leadership responsibilities at the church. She’s a generous and charitable woman who greets everyone around the town, young and old. There’s no rest at the weekend either with the children home from school. They run the kiosk allowing Mama Bukuku to take trips into town to buy the weekly supplies.

Mama Bukuku is special, however our teams regularly meet women like her who are taking important leadership roles within their communities to achieve change and improve people’s livelihoods. The kind of community-based support systems they create and maintain are vital to those in rural areas who do not have access to regular banking institutions or other systems of support. It is also very encouraging to see that the women are becoming empowered to make an impact and create change.  It is inspiring to see first-hand a community member taking the initiative to set up and run a group like this with the drive and passion to better the lives of people in that same community. Real positive change will come from people like Mama Bukuku, people from the community, working with the community, for the community.

E2 WOmen bananas