• Mary Ann talks to Aisha Hannibal about their work together establishing the Red Tent Directory and how it has organically grown and now lists almost 100 Red Tent Circles for women across Europe.
  • What’s special about red tents and other women’s circles?
  • They talk about what they have learnt in the process about sustainable growth and leadership,
  • What is important to them about attending Red Tents and other women’s circles
  • How Red Tents and circles differ from other forms of women group.

Some quotes from the show:

‘When people say how are you? we rarely answer honestly.’

‘We often don’t know how we really are until we slow down’

‘We sensed there was a need for the directory and that got validated in the process’

‘Whenever I find something that I really enjoy my next thought is, everyone should have this’

‘We started off with five listings and I remember thinking oh blimey we have only got a few and we are going to have to launch with what we have got..we just kind of went with it’

‘We didn’t have a clear plan or targets set but the whole point was I thought people will find us’

‘Actually it’s this network of women coming together all over the world’

‘We’ve tried to work as much we can in a way that reflects the concept of red tents so to not to completely wind ourselves up and exhaust ourselves with all the things we have got to do on the Red Tent Directory but to be very mindful of how much time we have got to put into this, it’s a voluntary project, and not the main thing that any of us do and do it in a way that is about staying connected to yourself, giving yourself time to rest, giving yourself time to stay connected to what your own needs are and then also to the needs of women around you, that’s been a really interesting journey for me.’

‘I think it’s looking at female leadership and saying, can we do it in a way that doesn’t lead to burnout?’

‘We are a vehicle with lots of happy people on the vehicle waving flags and and throwing flowers out’

‘I love that red tents can happen anywhere and that anyone can start one’

‘The toolkit is really about saying, yes you!’

‘We are giving voice to that way of being, that women can be a real force of support and encouragement for each other. I wanna see that voice more in the world and in the media which is where we see this cat fighting and other view of women’

‘There is something quite counter cultural about it even though red tents can be quite simple’

‘There’s is something quite counter cultural about really allowing it to be a meeting of women that’s not any of those kinds of judgemental or commitment kinds of interaction and really being clear about that and having a really clear structure that every women gets to share for a specific period of time. We are not interrupting or giving our take on it or any of the things that we might normally do that we might do in our work places and familial or in our everyday lives’

‘Just in that simple act of sharing and letting it be what it is. It’s like switching on a different way of being, it’s ok for her to be her and you to be you and to support each other in that’

‘It sounds simple and yet it’s a real call out to a different way of being I think’

‘You also realise that you’re not alone in this’

‘What would be different in the world if there was more of this kind of space?’

‘I’ve learnt how to communicate better because actually listening is a real skill that I think a lot of people could do with having an opportunity to practice a bit more’

‘When you really listen and you’re not thinking about what you have to say you can really just sit back there and I think empathy comes from a place where you have compassion for another person and whatever they’re saying you can hear it and you have a sense of what that might be like for them and for me the more empathy we have, women are 51% of the world you know the more empathy that we can share with each other about what’s happened, what people are experiencing on a day to day basis you know I think that fosters peace you know the compassion that can come from really listening is really powerful’

‘I think of this work as a critical component of how we change things in the world. There is something about women coming together in ways that we’ve not being doing because our culture has pushed us away from each other that feels like a little seed of something and it feels like the ripple effects of that can make a difference not just for the women that show up but the people around them, their families, the other women they know.’

‘I feel like there is something really transformative about this simple act, that is more than it appears’

‘If you are a change maker in the world, we need to make sure that we rest and take time to do that and time to be quiet and I think that red tents really offer that’

‘For change to be sustainable and long lasting radical self care is essential’

More information about Red Tents:


  • How Ziada and Mary Ann personally pick themselves up when they fall
  • Why you have to get used to not letting your critical voices ‘drive your life’
  • How you motivation has to start from within and true passion if you want to stay the distance
  • How setbacks and obstacles are always part of the journey to bring your ideas to life
  • Why feeling your feelings can be your friend

Some quotes from the show:

‘It has to start from within because if you don’t see the end of it it becomes very difficult to be motivated’

‘At sometime you are going to think to yourself, why am I doing this, this is too difficult’

‘How you pick yourself is what determines whether you succeed’

‘There is always a part of you that internalises those negative voices and wants to keep you safe in someway’

‘You can choose to notice it and choose to say you know what, I hear you and I am going to carry on anyway’

‘whichever route you decide to take you are going to meet obstacles, there is no easy way out’

‘If you do something a bit different and a bit innovative and a bit unusual, then you will have more of these challenges’

‘You’ve got to develop your way of coping’

‘If I have a real set back I allow myself a day or two now to be really upset, rather than pretending I am not’

‘Let it be what it is, allow yourself to feel that defeat and pick yourself up from there’

‘It’s along journey from an idea to a successful business or project’.

‘You have to have quite a few setbacks to build your I’m gonna do it anyway muscle’

‘You can’t allow your internal critical voice to drive the car, you have to put them in the backseat’


  • In this episode we interview Chiedza Muguti about her experience with Fibroids. We talk about
    Her symptoms and how they were finally diagnosed
  • The solutions she was offered to help fix them
  • Common misunderstandings about what Fibroids are how they affect you
  • Her advice to other women who may be suffering from Fibroids
  • How you can support other women who might also be experiencing them

Some quotes from the show:

‘Something that really helped me was to have people I knew who’d been in the same situation’

‘It’s very difficult to quantify bleeding, it is something vague you have to have an instinct about’

‘If a close relative has fibroids the likelihood is that you will have them’

‘I felt a bit shy about it, I had spoiled some clothes and some sheets and I didn’t want anyone near me’

‘I knew something had changed, but I just couldn’t’ put my finger on what it was. I felt broken and so run down and defeated’

‘I lied and said it wasn’t that bad.

‘Even now I just think what were you not accurate, what was the reason for that?’

‘I didn’t want seem like a hypochondriac, I didn’t want to seem like I was complaining’

‘Sometimes you see in life that everything is ordered for your benefit’

‘Know your dates, know your cycle, know how long it lasts, know how you feels during those four fives days’

‘There is a myth that when you get fibroids you have no chance of having children. It’s not the case’

‘Sometimes you see in life that everything is ordered for your benefit’

‘Know your dates, know your cycle, know how long it lasts, know how you feels during those four fives days’

‘There is a myth that when you get fibroids you have no chance of having children. It’s not the case’

ind time to decompress. I have quite a stressful job.I had to put up a front. I had to put up an act so I had to dig really deep to get through the day. Don’t underestimate how much that takes.’

‘Occasionally my body would just grind me to a halt where I just felt I couldn’t get up, I couldn’t do anything’

‘Listen to your body & if you go anywhere for help with a problem, tell the truth.’

Get in touch with Chiedza:
Twitter: @janetistaa

More information about living with Fibroids:
Boots Guide to Heavy Periods
Boots Guide to your Risk of Fibroids
Boots Guide to Uterine Fibroids
NHS Information about Fibroids
Net Doctor about Fibroids
British Fibroid Trust
Health Channel You Tube Video about Fibroids.


  • How to get started fundraising for your Change Making project
  • What you need to have in place in order to persuade someone to give you money
  • How to go about proving what you have done with money you have been given
  • Starting small and using your network to test and prove your idea.
  • How cultures of giving vary

Some quotes from the show:

‘You need to be able to describe exactly what you want to do before you go anywhere asking for money.’

‘My biggest concern is how people are accountable, that the money is used according to the business plan’

You need to have a detailed plan – to really know what you are going to do and be able to explain it to anyone you meet’

‘Do your research about funders properly. Send them what they ask for tailored for them. Make it clear that you know who they are’

‘to stand out you need a compelling story about the difference you want to make.’
‘get your first money from people you know who have faith in you.’

‘My number one recommendation if you are starting a charitable project would be to raise the first money you need from people you know who have faith in you’


  • Lily tells us about how she gave up her job to start this project to provide education to children from the informal settlement
  • We talk about how her vision has grown from the five children she originally wanted to help in 2003 to the hundreds, including many disabled children, whose lives have been changed since
  • Lily explains to us how she accidentally became a passionate advocate for inclusion
  • We talk about the challenge of gathering resrouces for this kind of work – and why passion is what matters in the end
  • We also hear what Lily has learnt in the process of developing and expanding the project
  • And she gives us her advice about getting your own change making project started as well.

Some quotes from the show:

‘The needs of children an informal settlement are more than education, that was why we called it an early childhood development centre’
‘The main challenge is being able to get enough resources to provide the kind of services that the kids need because the majority of their parents are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table’

‘I mobilised my friends and we sat down as a committee and all the ones who were thinking I was crazy are now the ones I put on the committee and said we can do something’

‘We thought we were going to work with five children but the number of kids was growing everyday’

‘I looked at my child and I asked myself, if this set up was meant for my own child, what would I provide for them?’

‘The project is a collaboration between little rock, the child and the parents’

‘After the post election violence the parents had begged you to keep the school open because it was the safest place for their children, I always remember that’

‘There is no way you can teach a hungry child and you cannot teach a sick child, so the porridge and the lunch really is a boost for them’

‘Even if a mother or father walks in and they have nothing, their children are fed’

‘Biggest lesson is the joy and the opportunity that the children have got’

‘A number of the kids have been able to go to high school including three kids admitted to national schools because of their grades’

‘We simply spend our door to disabled children and said please come, we are ready to welcome you, we are ready to communicate with you and provide your child with quality early childhood education which was our mandate and our core business’

‘In 2006 a mother brought her child to the centre and we realised that the child was not able to walk so we asked ourselves if this was my child, what answers would I expect from the other side and so we accommodated her daughter who had cereal palsy in to our set up’

‘Our classrooms our inclusive we do not segregate the kids and have a special unit, we put all the kids in the classroom and they are learning together. So we have become advocates of inclusion.’

Connect with Lily
Little Rock Website:
Little Rock Facebook:
You can also find a few different interviews with Lily on You Tube by searching for Little Rock Kenya there!


  • The differences between our attitudes to entrepreneurship in Tanzania and the UK
  • How the internet is changing how entrepreneurs work all over the world
  • We ask whether people in rural areas are being left behind as entrepreneurship gets easier for those who are well connected?
  • We also talk cash economies, chutney and what happens when you have too many tomatoes?
  • We ask each other what we think is innovative in business right now?
  • How companies like Uber and Air BnB are spreading their reach by solving our problems

Some quotes from the show:

‘We had to jump into the fire to discover just how difficult it it’
‘In the UK being an entrepreneur is like a choice, something you do if you have creative ideas and want to do it your own way. In Tanzania everybody wants to have a business on the side.’
‘If you’ve got an idea and you are willing to experiment with it, like try it out, see what works and tweak things like you did with Kipilipili and make changes in response to what people want and need from you, then it starts to become a business idea’
‘It’s not like the old days when you had to pay someone to print a flyer for you, or you had to pay someone to design a logo or you had to pay someone to design a website for you, nowadays you can actually do everything yourself’
‘You have UBER, are you serious? Wow! All they are really doing is providing the technology’.
‘There are so many technologies that are slowly being introduced to Tanzania’
‘We are talking about the same things even though we are 7000 miles apart that these things are so transferable and replicable and it’s the same system extended to a new territory. It’s like an an unbelievable entrepreneurs opportunity that you couldn’t have imagined 30 years ago’
‘A lot of them have two sides to the coin. The UBER things probably means taxi drivers get more work but they don’t have a lot of security. Generally these technologies are allowing people to get work they wouldn’t have got before but not on a secure or lasting bass with a long term contract, pension or national insurance. The flip side is they might not treat people so well’
‘And then when you look at Air BnB that’s just kind of like  community, right? Basically its people offering their houses to people – it doesn’t even sound like a business idea at all!’
‘It’s just a matter of listening to what the people or community about you are saying, or what is the pressure point? And then try and give a solution’
‘Being an entrepreneur simply means giving out solutions to people and then just not giving up if you truly believe in your idea’
‘If you are consistent enough you will reach your goal!’

In this episode Ziada and Mary Ann speak about menstruation and how the taboos about it affected our lives growing up both in Tanzania and in the UK. They reflect on the fact that having periods is such a normal part of our experience as women, even if we can’t talk about it and how not talking about how menstruation and our cycles affect us it makes things harder. We do some honest talking about the particular challenges we each experience when we bleed and Mary Ann talks about how you can start to get more in tune with your menstrual cycle and plan you work and life accordingly. We also share something about how we experienced our first bleed, about the fact that the number one reason for girls dropping out of school is because they can’t afford sanitary products and Ziada speaks about why that needs to change and what the Tanzanian government is doing about it. We conclude that the change should start with us breaking the taboo and talking about our bleeding with the women and men in our lives.

Some quotes from the show:

‘To pretend that you feel fine is actually a massive effort’

‘It’s a very different state of mind when you are bleeding from the rest of the month’

‘When I am bleeding I’m tired of everything, I’m even tired of hearing myself talk’

‘Allowing yourself to say, you know what I can’t do it and if you do that even the weight of it and the struggle becomes lighter because you are acknowledging it, part of the weight of it and part of the struggle is actually because you are the whole time trying to pretend like you can cope.’

‘All the adverts for sanitary towels and tampons are about how you can do anything if you use then your life can continue as normal’

‘When you are bleeding might be a really go time to think inside of yourself, to do creative stuff, because you are in that slightly altered state of mind, even if you shut yourself in your room to be with whatever you want to be. Then when you are ovulating, that’s the time to go out and have business meetings, you should try to organise your life in a way that respects your cycle basically’

‘I guess it requires a lot of practice and a lot of acceptance’

‘There’s a few days before I bleed when I am really quite nasty, but I am so productive on day 14 or 15, I’m like, yeah, I can do this!’

‘Something that has been happening to women forever, it must have been, it’s part of how the life of our planet is sustained, this ability to create and shed life in our wombs – so why have we made it in to this thing that we have to pretend doesn’t happen?’

‘all these times in school growing up how shameful it would be because a bit of a stain would show on your skirt, you stress over that in class, you aren’t even concentrating’

‘It’s time we should teach our children that its ok, a normal thing and this should start at a younger stage, it needs to be normalised’

‘Growing up for my was different, right now you get hygiene and cleanliness education in school, children now a days know more, us growing up was different, we stayed in for seven days when we began to bleed’

‘I did not know about menstruation until I got it’

‘The thing that was weird for me wasn’t at home, and then it wasn’t like you could talk about it in school, I was like ten, quite young and you couldn’t put your hand up and say ‘I started bleeding’, so although it was factually open at home, at school it was this thing you were trying to hide the whole time, hide the tampons in your bag, not let there be a stain on your skirt, the whole day worrying’

‘We could work with them if we had that awareness, the taboo is holding us back and making it more difficult’

‘Urging everyone to normalise it, it happens to us until it stops happening, it shouldn’t be scary, it should be something as women we can talk about and teach our young woman’s that its ok, not to feel ashamed and embarrassed’

This is the second of a two part launch episode in which we introduce you to the women behind Change Making Women.


  • What Nia is and how it has cured Mary Ann’s problems with her back
  • Working on disability and children and young people as Director of AbleChildAfrica
  • Working on mental health and illness in Tanzania as Regional Representative for BasicNeeds
  • Getting burnt out trying to make a difference
  • The on-line community Mary Ann is working to establish for Change Making Women
  • How making a difference can start where we live
  • What food Mary Ann says she could eat for the rest of her life!

Some quotes from the show:

On finding Nia –
‘I’m in her class and I’m like, I wanna do this, this great, I love it, I love it!’

On teaching Nia:
‘I tell my students, here’s a movement, but follow your body’s way with it, so if that doesn’t feel go for you, adjust the movement….
Get used to how the music makes you wants to move and just feel your way with it’

‘It’s a really go balance with a lot of the other stuff I do which is more in your head’

‘For me personally, it was just like, I can’t do this anymore, there is mixed feeling on the inside’

‘Maybe I don’t actually have to take so much responsibility on myself and think that this is all my thing to solve’

‘What I am really wanting to do now is really support other people that are working in the NGO sector to really kind of basically look after themselves so that they do have the energy’

‘People always look from the outside and they load this ‘your so amazing’ thing on you but the reality of your work can still be hard work, a lot of travel, and a lot of not being with your family and personal struggle’

‘I am working on setting up a community for women who want make a difference which will offer them support so that they can kind of make sure that they are doing their work to make a difference in a way that’s healthy for them – It’s giving people a bit of space to step back from the daily grind of their work’

‘If you wanna make a change you don’t have to travel a thousand miles you can just start with your neighbour’

‘I do miss the food, I could eat Pilau and Chapatis for the rest of my life!’

This is the first of a two part launch episode in which we introduce you to the women behind Change Making Women.


    • What Kipilipili means and why Ziada believes it is so important to love your natural hair
    • How Kipilipili has grown organically from a simple idea about sourcing products to a business with a change making mission behind it
    • Working with a partner  – and tips about how to make it work if you are already friends
    • The huge importance and benefits – of listening to your audience
    • How Ziada is maximising social media channels to expand the impact of Kipilipili
    • Mixing making a difference with a business that provides what real women actually want

Some Quotes from the show:

‘Love your natural hair’

We are learning as we go along – it’s been a beautiful journey so far’

‘Especially Instagram is really big in Tanzania, people do business on Instagram a lot’

‘What we are really telling you is not to alter your natural hair, you don’t have to change yourself’

‘We are very much data driven, our inspiration comes from women who give us feedback’