Winnie Godlove Msamba Tanzania, 18

project: FanikishaMama
basic human NEEDS: Health

Theme Song: “Let it Go” by Idina Menzel

In Winnie’s nation of Tanzania alone, more than 3,000 women develop obstetric fistula every year. On a global scale, more than one million women suffer from fistula and remain untreated, living with excruciating pain. Shockingly, a large portion of society doesn’t even know what the disease is, and sadly, many of those who do shame its victims. Winnie founded FanikishaMama to educate society about obstetric fistula and improve the lives of survivors. Since many females with fistula have been kicked out of their homes or abandoned by their spouses, they have no means to support themselves. FanikishaMama empowers women who have been ostracized with basic survival items, entrepreneurial skills and seed income to start businesses. Women gain means to support themselves, and their contribution to their communities helps dissolve the negative societal beliefs.

By sharing stories of survivors on their website, as well as accurate information about the disease, FanikishaMama replaces the ignorance surrounding fistula with compassion and understanding. Winnie won first place out of twenty-one competitors in the Apps & Girls Annual Hackathon, as well as “Best Startup” from Reach for Change Africa’s continent-wide competition. Already directly impacting more than 350 women, FanikishaMama will soon expand their programs into additional areas where fistula is common. The future also holds a FanikishaMama magazine, on and offline, which will discuss and promote social action for the challenges that women face.