Countering child marriage and FGM in Mara and Geita Region, Tanzania

Countering child marriage and FGM in Mara and Geita Region, Tanzania

When they introduced the idea of abolishing FGM I was totally confused. At the beginning it was difficult to cope with the situation because I was thinking on how I can survive. But through Plan International and CDF, engagement with the District Government led into support, provides with the government on entrepreneurship and vocational training to incisors.

Loisi James, previously Incisor before attending a seminar on the effects of FGM

CONTEXT

Child marriage and FGM are a violation of girls’ human rights and act as root causes for discrimination and violence against girls. Despite global and national efforts to turn the tide on these harmful practices, Tanzania has a national child marriage prevalence of 37%, one of the highest in the world. On average almost two out of five girls will be married before their 18th birthday. Early marriage has a significant impact on girls’ health, well-being and personal development, excluding them from education - every year more than 8 000 girls in Tanzania drop out from school due to pregnancy and child marriage - denying them of their right to live a prosperous and healthy life. The practice particularly affects those girls who are the least educated, poorest and living in rural areas.

OBJECTIVES

  • To reduce the incidence of harmful practices in Mara and Geita Region in Tanzania.

RESULTS

  • Girls and young women are empowered to make informed decisions on child marriage and FGM.
  • An enabling environment facilitates the reduction of child marriage and FGM.
  • Girls and young women have increased independence and social status in their communities.
  • Local child protection systems effectively prevent and respond to child marriage and FGM.
  • Local and national responses to child marriage and FGM are coordinated and use evidence-based advocacy to achieve long term changes.

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • The main activies within the project aim to reach about 4.500 people
  • Total budget: €800 000
  • EU contribution: €600 000
  • Duration: 3 years (2017-2020)

TESTIMONY

Going through FGM and then becoming a peer educator, Ester's story

Ester is one of girls who went through FGM and other taboos. But now she is one of peer educators. The following is her story.

"I was told by my parents that I should go through FGM to become a mature woman. What I knew and thinking of, was a full of clothes in a new bag that I used to see girls receive from their parents and other relative during the ceremony" said Ester.

With full of excitements I agreed that. BUT when the day came and already cut; oh God I was like half dead. I cried a lot, when I saw blood between my legs. That is how happened to me. 

Once a girl is circumcised; the community assumes that she is ready for marriage even if she is under 18. Therefore saving them from FGM means saving them from child marriage and supports them to achieve their educational dreams

I want to say that FGM is a slow poison killer. Peoples now understand the effect of FGM as we go around educating them.

We have a group of more than 15 members around the village where we used to meet once per week. However we regularly meet for planning the sessions as peer educators to educate our community the effect of FGM. It is a tough job but slowly we are getting there.

Already number of groups of young women has been empowered and they are now running small business activities like soap and batik making. Also they formed Village Saving & Loan Association (VSLA) where they get to save money and later on they can take loan depend on the saving have for different business and uses. She added.