When the warmth of children’s celebrations mingle in stark contrast with coldness of the message being conveyed one can only predict an emotional storm that will haunt every soul that takes consideration of the situation. The picture of jubilant children, girls and boys; with chubby chicks and round bright eyes singing at the top of their voices, verbalising in unison the brutality and ugliness of female genital mutilation. It is even more chilling when one imagines the fact that most of the young girls attending the day are themselves already victims of such a horrible act. With an audience fairly representing all segments of the society, the day had received its due attention among villagers.
Singida is one of the regions in Tanzania where FGM is practised rampantly. Over time the practitioners have developed different ways to circumvent the arm of the law. For some time they have been cutting girls immediately after they are born. This practice enabled them to do it without attracting attention of the government, since the whole process is done in secrecy and even when the baby cries out of pain it is still too inconspicuous since babies do cry always. The practice eventually led to many deaths of under-fives due to bleeding, infection and trauma.
The infant FGM came to light, the government required that all girls to be inspected when they attend the regular clinic. The government’s reaction was successful to secure girls under before they reach the age of five; but after five years there is a loophole. So although the government took action, still girls are cut when they go past five years of age, and the problem persists. Women are the main culprits behind this harmful practise to girl children.
After consistent effort CCT has been working in Singida through multiple social fronts in order to sensitize the community on effects of FGM. Many adults have heard it through Village Community Banks (VICOBA) programs and meetings, but the most interesting is the children’s part: where children through Sunday schools and training camps have been so much sensitized that they are becoming ambassadors by themselves.
On 6th November 2016 Sunday school children from different parts of Singida district gathered at Ngimu village to voice their stand against FGM. As each group came forward for a performance it came very clear how the message against FGM has spread. On this day children are organized for such an event so as to continue sensitization among community members and children themselves.
For this year the event was graced by Rev. Rehema Gwau, the in charge of women children and gender at Lutheran Central Diocese (Singida) on behalf of the Bishop of the Central Diocese. In her message she stressed on child rights and the need for parents to be more responsible with their children well being as per God’s message in the Bible.
Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT) has been working on enlightening communities to abandon harmful cultural practices, particularly gender based violence since 2010. In particular a lot of work has been done to curb the infamous female genital mutilation (FGM) as well as poverty through VICOBA self help groups. In that course quite a few women circumcisers (Ngariba) have left the practice that has hurt lives of many girls and women in Serengeti district. So far 6 Ngaribas have quitted the practice. The history of Wansatu Ryoba
Wansatu Ryoba (55), a mother to 3 sons and 6 daughters, lives in Rungabure village in Serengeti district and has been in FGM business for over a decade now. She is said to have taken over the task of cutting the girls from her grandmother who magically appeared to her in dreams in December 2014. Next, the elders formally commissioned her to do the task through proper rituals that included slaughtering a goat. In essence being a Ngariba (women circumciser) is sort of priestly task, and not everyone can do it, despite lucrative returns.
Despite being a Ngariba Wansatu has been attending several training seminars conducted by CCT since 2010. Overtime she understood the long-tem effects of FGM. Being a traditional birth attendant (TBA) it was not difficult to notice the difference between cut women and the uncut ones during child birth. It was believed that if a woman gets torn while giving birth it is a sign of laziness. However from her experience as a TBA uncut women were giving birth with much less tear and pain. After witnessing the effect of FGM first hand, Wansatu was shaken to the core and decided to change. She had also been threatened to be thrown out of VICOBA if she were to continue with the ill practice. She gave her equipment to be burnt as a symbol of her decision to never go back to the tradition.
Wansatu built a strong business profile when she started cutting the girls by successfully attending to her own daughter Rhobi. The community appreciated her ‘gifted hands’ and the clientele eventually grew. She was in demand all over the area, at times she had to extend services to 12 wards. In her career Wansatu estimates her clients to have reached 5,000 per period/year. At her peak she would attend up to 400 girls per day. She says that in December 2014 she earned 6 million TZS in three weeks. This income is shared among the traditional leaders in specific areas.
Wansatu’s success came with a price. Since the mutilation activity is carried in months of specific years it means that there is a small window to attend hundreds of girls. For her case her clan, the Nyabasi were conducting the ritual only in even years (years whose numbers can be divided by two), in December. Consequently she was kept extremely busy in that period of time. The elders were willing to pay up to 50,000 TZS per day for her transport, just to make her services available.
Another price she had to pay was mutilating her own daughter who was already married in 2004. Now 41 and a mother of six, Rhobi painfully recalls when she was called to be part of inauguration of her mother’s malicious career. The elders asked her to participate since by tradition when one becomes a Ngariba you must start with your own daughter, or if there is none then you will start with a niece. By the time Rhobi was asked to be cut she was pregnant and although the cutting was not deep, it caused her serious physical and mental problems. Moreover she got into conflict with her husband to the extent that she had to seek help from the church to rescue the marriage. Of course she managed to save her marriage and to date she is still with her husband in Nyamongo, Tarime. Since then Rhobi has been pleading to her mother to stop the malicious practice she was perpetrating.
In her testimony Wansatu says she decided to quit FGM mainly because of knowledge she has acquired since 2010. Also she says that the income from VICOBA seemed to have more impact in her life than FGM business, which despite coming in generously she could not use it for anything meaningful. Although she was later on expelled from her VICOBA group because of her involvement with FGM, she thinks it is high time she got back to a VICOBA group. She also strongly testifies that as a traditional birth attendant she has observed the uncut women have a safer delivery than the cut ones. She further quantifies that up to three quarters of uncut girls give birth without tear or severe bleeding.
Now that 2016 is an even number year, December of this year will see another batch of girls going through the ritual. However in the fallout of Wansatu’s turn of events already 23 parents who had enlisted their daughters to be cut in December have resolved not to go on with it. They do not see success of events without Wansatu’s hands. As it seems the rise and fall of Wansatu’s career is not short of widespread consequences, for better and for worse. Now that it is for better, CCT intends to build on such agents as Wansatu to build sustainable change in Kurya community. Given its strong traditional ways, Kurya community is not easily reached from outside. But with agents from within the impact could run multiple folds.
One of CCT mandates is to foster unity, peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance in Tanzania. In so doing CCT has involved itself with various interventions for the sake of conflict resolution, peace building and overall enhancement of peaceful and brotherly lifestyle, for which Tanzania is known all over the world.
Following recent developments in political landscape in Tanzania, under the shadow of 2015’s General Election fallout, the temperature has gone up. Tanzania has witnessed serious commotions in the National Assembly as both the Opposition and the Ruling Party threw tantrum; with the Deputy Speaker taking most of the blame. At its peak the National Assembly conundrum led into Opposition boycotting sessions; also a number of Opposition MPs have been barred from participating in Parliamentary sessions as a punishment for ‘misbehaving in the Parliamentary sessions’.
Tanzania has also witnessed the President banning political activities for the rest of time until the next General Election 2020. As the Government has been firm with its rulings so has the Opposition with its defiance. The Government is blaming the Opposition for incitement while the Opposition is blaming the Government for attempting to kill Democracy. It has been increasingly tense, and as time passed by, there came the UKUTA phenomenon (UKUTA stands for Umoja wa Kupinga Udikteta Tanzania, which means the Union against dictatorship in Tanzania), and as some have been looking at it; the nation was at a verge of widespread bloodshed. The tension between the two sides each with its millions of supporters was brewing into a bitter vendetta as some gestures of hatred were being witnessed in Mainland Tanzania as well as Zanzibar. Each statement from the Government courted its due defiance from Opposition, and so it went on. Despite all that none of the two seemed to buckle under pressure.
As all that was happening CCT in partnership with Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bavaria, Church of Sweden, Bread for the World and Tearfund organized Religious Leaders to muster their effort in order to sort out the situation.
The first meeting was on “Religious Radicalization” and it was essentially a seminar for Bishops on dynamics around the subject. At the end of the seminar it was decided that leaders should meet again on 20th July together with their Muslim counterparts. The second meeting was a consultative one and again under the same issue: Religious Radicalization. At the end of that consultation of Religious Leaders on Religious Radicalization, beside other resolutions, it was also decided that they meet and discuss the political situation of the country specifically on the boycott of Members of Parliament from Parliamentary Sessions (specifically sessions led by the Deputy Speaker).
The third meeting was conducted on 24th August where CCT again called a small number of Religious Leaders and discussed both the boycott and demonstration. The Religious Leaders met with Opposition and Ruling Party at different slots of a 10 hours meeting. In the meeting the Opposition was very vocal with the idea that the country is run oblivious to the rule of law and that the Government is controlling the National Assembly. Moreover the Opposition questioned the belated response from Religious Leaders on the situation. In their turn the delegation from CCM contended that the Parliament is run by rules and regulations which should be adhered to. They also questioned the wisdom of Opposition to boycott the sessions since they had not exhausted the Parliamentary procedures to deal with their case against the Deputy Speaker. After long discussion particularly with the Opposition leaders they agreed to go back to the Parliament, effective from September.
One of the resolutions of 24th August meeting was to meet the President on the next day, 25th. However it did not work out as planned. Because of that the Religious Leaders decided to meet again on 30th and decide way forward before 1st September.
As 30th of August approached the temperature increased. The Opposition, led by CHADEMA was very clear with its UKUTA message. The public was well scared as police and military forces made some displays of power in the streets. Fear must have been the most common feeling for the public in that period. By that time the Government had practically banned any sort of political meeting, internal or otherwise.
The gleam of hope shone when the leader of CHADEMA accepted to attend the 30th meeting. In the meeting with Religious Leaders the CHADEMA leadership made clear of their rationale as far as UKUTA is concerned. Essentially they stood by their opinion until the deal was struck such that they would only postpone their activity till 1st October, given that Religious Leaders will be working to sort out the matter with the President. The aim of Religious Leaders was clearly stated that they want to meet the President and convince him to meet with Opposition and talk with them to end their political differences for the sake of the peace of the nation.
Following the meeting, the CHADEMA leadership agreed and informed the public on their decision to postpone the demonstration until 1st October. Eventually what could have been a black Thursday became a peaceful day for stargazers to enjoy solar eclipse, especially what they call the ring of fire. Peace had prevailed.
Currently Religious Leaders are planning to meet the President in this September, preferably between 12th and 16th. There is a lot of optimism that the President will be willing this time to meet with Religious Leaders. Although Tanzania is not yet out of woods, in this context, there is hope that there will be a breakthrough. There is hope that before 1st October, God will grant Tanzania another chapter of Democracy maturity and political wisdom.
Miss Sara Lechipya is 42 years old. She was diagnosed HIV positive while she was 36 years old. However three years ago Sarah gave birth to a baby girl (Winfrida) who is negative and is growing healthy now.
When she was interviewed the secret behind giving birth to a non positive baby, Sarah responded by saying; “I thank God for bringing CCT Tunajali services here, I have been receiving regular counseling and encouragement;after all, I am not stigmatized any more by the community members at Msalato A”. When asked how far she is sure that the baby girl is HIV-negative Sarah said; “My baby was tested for three times and she is still negative, I thank very much Donald Kalowoka my Home Based Care provider”.
CCT through Tunajali II has been conducting regular supportive supervisions to provide a number of services to PLHIV (People Living With HIV/AIDS) like education on how to live positively, education on Savings and Internal Lending and Adherance to ARVs. In so doing, Miss Sarah concluded by saying; in fact I have benefitted with the intervention because I have followed the instructions given by the doctors when I was referred to the Rural Health Center (I receive education on Prevention of Mother To Child Transimission)”, she said recently
Rev. Ezra Machasa is a father of three children and has been working as a Priest for over 6 years. As he told his story, he said how like many other priests in his diocese, he was always hoping to be located in an area where there are many Christians and this was driven by economic factor. When he was sent to Maweni Parish in 2012, he says he was disappointed because it was a small parish with few Christians; which implied that his life is going to be difficult; and indeed it was.
To his favour Maweni Parish was placed under CCMP program and Rev. Machasa was selected together with some other priests to undertake the training and Later on in 2014 he was again selected to join the Self-help Group model under the PAMOJA Approach which he thereafter started to facilitate herein his parish.
Rev. Machasa on the left showing the grass that he normally collect to feed his cattle. On the right Martin the Pamoja trainer facilitator and Rev. Machasa behind visiting his rice farm
The processes of both Pamoja and CCMP have real changed my world view as I started to see life in another angle. I as a facilitator I though it is important to be the best example to others. Using the skills I learned that the animal keepers are always selling their cattle in low price during the dry season because of limited areas for grazing. I therefore decided to collect glasses during rainy season and put in my back yard at home. I bought six cows in very low price at the average of Tsh 40,000 and sell them at the price of Tsh 400,000 after three months. It was possible for me because I had grass to feed my cows and this skill gave me good income. I have also invested in agriculture where I have grown seven acres of Rice and is my plan to collect the rice remnant which I will use as the feeding stuff for my cows which I will buy during the dry season. I have also bought plot of land and started to build my own house. I have bought my own motorcycle as a means of transport to help me to in my ministry and family issues as well. In this short time I have done a lot to help my church and my family as well.
Now I have no doubt about where to be taken, I am sure I can stand as a priest wherever my Diocese will take me to. I have enough skills and knowledge to transform people’s life. I therefore understand the same river which Peter spent the whole night fishing in vain it is the same river which he got a lot of fish after Jesus told him to fish again.
St.Dorcas women group is made of 25 women of Mother’s Union at St.Andrea Church in Miyuji Parish Diocese of Central Tanganyika, in Dodoma. All these women are residing at Msalato Ward. They had been running their families relying only on the income through their husbands where the later are breadwinners for their families. These women were just taking care for the families while their husbands were involved in income generating activities.
Their leader explained as follows:
It is through CCT that we were trained on PAMOJA groups-saving and credit; whereby the training was conducted at our church where all 25 Mothers Union members learned the concept of Saving and credit as per PAMOJA. In the group our activities include saving and credit, family welfare and social sustainability. We started bysaving a small weekly amount of Tshs.5,000/- (2.4$) per member. We are now in 8th month and our savings has grown to a total of Tshs.5.3 M (2,500 $) – where on buying share is 3.2M (1,500$), Social fund is Tshs 750,000 (360$) and a profit of Tshs.1.4M (670$) earned from low interest rate loans to members.
We then felt the need for having bigger income generating activity for the group and we set a goal of buying a grading mill machine where we will be adding our group capital.’’ We have already cleared a place to install this machine at Church Compound. This project will cost Tsh.3million, which we can afford and our income will increase considerably and as results family income will increase
So far the profit I am getting I add of what my husband is getting; we have improved our home and pay fees for our children
Now, women economically are no longer dependent on their husband as the only breadwinners for households. This gives them confidence and a sense of security. They have been able to buy 40 plastic chairs for their church and are contributing better offering than before.
This project has a long history where PETS committee mobilize the villagers to demonstrate against SANDS Company on their activities of quarrying stones without any consideration for the villagers. Following villager demonstration they passed a resolution that, SANDS Company will build a Secondary School, water wells and construct the village road the obligation which was unfulfilled. In 2015 the villagers boycotted again against SANDS Company and together they requested the meeting with the Minister of Energy and Mineral resources Hon. Simba Chawene who met with them and command SANDS Company to construct the road and fulfill the rests of the agreements.
Evelina Malogo is a mother of three Children living at Maweni Village in Manyoni District. She has been living miserable life especially after her husband run away from the family 10 years and left her alone to care for the family. “This was one of the most difficult time in my entire life because the left of my husband placed all the burden of caring these children to me and in fact I saw like everything has stopped and life will not continue any further”, said Eveline who is 38 years old. She said the most difficult thing to manage was food supply. It was even more difficult because sometimes they would have to sleep with empty stomachs, such moments would leave her feeling very embarrassed before her children.
I heard about Mchakato(CCMP process) in my Church (Maweni ) and attended the mobilization sessions since 2014. One year later I joined the PAMOJA group which then was a turning point of my life. The two processes have changed my life completely; they opened my new way of thinking and therefore with confidence I stated to work for my life. The first loan I took from my group I invested in my handcraft and started to make mats. This business increased my household income and ability to meet my needs where food was not a problem anymore. “Furaha yangu kubwa ni kwamba sasa naishi kwenye nyumba yangu mimi na watoto wangu na wala hatuna tatizo la chakula na biashara ninazofanya zinaniwezesha kusomesha wanangu alisema Evelina”.
(EN: I feel so happy as I am now living in my house with my children and we have assurance of food and the business I am doing is helping me to pay for the school fee of my children said Evelina in her Swahili tongue).
Her first born is in secondary school while the remaining two are in primary school. She has a big courage to attain her goal of ensuring her children are living better life the same way other children who are care by all parents.
A total of 42 participants from Geita, Gairo, Kilosa, Bahi and Chunya attended the Festival; 2 being religious leaders 3 officers from District Executive Council and 31 PETS Facilitators from six districts. The festival ended in the evening of 13/11/2015 and all the participants attended were happy and promised to work for change in their communities. CCT-Program Officer thanked the participants for their participation and their contribution to the success of the event.
What is PETS?
Public Expenditure Trucking System/Survey is a system used to track the flow of public resources from the highest levels of government to front-line service providers. Citizens are empowered to hold the duty-bearers accountable. This project was started in Bahi District in 2007 as a pilot project later it was expanded and adopted to other Districts in different regions.
CCT among other project is implementing a project of Public Expenditure Tracking System/Survey in six district of Tanzania that is Kilosa, Bahi, Gairo, Geita, Chunya and Same. In 2015 CCT, through the program of PSEJGG prepared CCT Annual PETS Festival to recognise the work done by PETS committee and PETS Facilitators; and to equip and mentor them into becoming active PETS Master Trainers.
PETS master Trainers along with PSEJGG-CCT program Officer started the festival with peace demonstration of the participants, along ELCT-Gairo grounds and the peace demonstration was received by the District Executive Director Hon. Aloyce H. Buhori, and the religious Leaders Rev. Lupyana Mgimba Aglican Church and Rev. Aidin Kaseka.
PSEJGG CCT Program Officer, Miss Beatrice Dengenesa, told the participants that the main theme of the festival was to make a self reflection of where we are coming from, where we are now and where we are going with the project of PETS committee in our villages. Also to recognise and celebrate the success of PETs committees for the whole time they have been involved in these activities. To understand accountability from the ground, how the people at the community level participated in holding the duty bearer accountable. And lastly to examine ourselves how much we have archived so far along the way since 2007.
PET’s master trainers were happy and they sent their note of thank you to CCT for their contribution towards bringing Social, Economic Development and Good Governance at the community level.
Achievement, So Far
From 2007 to date, we have more than 100 Village PETS Committees and among them, they have succeeded in tracking various projects which most of them have brought positive changes to the communities. These committees have succeeded in holding local leaders accountable and have been able to build capacity to citizens on questioning duty bearer about public fund expenditures and services delivery. People are actively make a follow up to the public project funds, people are now aware of their rights and they can claim and demand them from the duty bearers as the case of Mpamantwa Village..
The project has equipped 15 PETS Master Trainers ,from these Districts includes Mbwana Omary, John Makorokoro, SelinaMbeti ,Joel Mwihambi and Peter Kihiyo just to mention a few. Linkage of the community and the central and local Government authorities, through PETS activities had led us to suppress the gap existed for the longest time between the ruler and the ruled.
PETS have succeeded in imparting civic education to the community, and mobilise the community to choose member of Pets Committee, mentoring these committee through capacity building workshop, has brought astonishing result to these districts. Below are samples of CHANGE STORIES out of PETS ACTIVITIES.
MPAMANTWA STONE QUARRYING
This project has a long history where PETS committee mobilize the villagers to demonstrate against SANDS Company on their activities of quarrying stones without any consideration for the villagers. Following villager demonstration they passed a resolution that, SANDS Company will build a Secondary School, water wells and construct the village road the obligation which was unfulfilled. In 2015 the villagers boycotted again against SANDS Company and together they requested the meeting with the Minister of Energy and Mineral resources Hon. Simba Chawene who met with them and command SANDS Company to construct the road and fulfill the rests of the agreements. (See annex No. 1)
THE FISHING DAM PROJECT OF ZOMBO VILLAGE
A lot have been achieved in Kilosa to make headlines, the construction of the bridge due to PETS intervention, the Zombo water Tank, the Zombo administration block, are among the few success stories we have gathered from Kilosa.
In 2015, the PETS committees in Kilosa have tracked the Fish dam projects, where the investor was paying only 90,000 Tshs annually following the fishing activities in the dam. The village PETS committee had intervened and discovered that the investors is earning more compare to the fee he had been paid to the villagers, the PETS committee mobile and requested for a village assembly where they brought it as a meeting agenda. As a result the tender was advertised and the investors who promised to pay 900,000/= TSH won the tender and had already paid the fee for 3years the amount of Tsh 2,700,000. Through PETS intervention the village has been able to save Tsh 810,000/= which has been lost from the previous contract.
MABANA SECONDARY SCHOOL IN MBIGIRI/MAGOLE
PETS committee discovered the construction of Mabana secondary schools’s buildings does not match the standards required. PETS committee has intervened and reveals the mismanagement of the funds for the building projects. The village chairman and the Village executive officers were apprehended .On October 2015 the school was closed down for standard renovation.Just to mention few of them.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”– Helen Keller
If it were not for CCT’s intervention Mathayo Bony (42) would not be a man of influence that he is today. It all happened when he accepted changes, and then became a change himself. He has shown that the horizon is not the limit, but there is a land of flowing with milk and honey just beyond it; the land of justice, development and integrity. The land where the lowly are respected, the weak are strengthened, the elite are humble; the wingless fly and the legless walk.
Before 2009, Mathayo was just a common man, he was not known for anything peculiar. Through CCT projects facilitated by NCA in Kilosa, Mr. Bony had an opportunity to learn through various workshops, seminars and trainings organized by CCT. Out of such facilitations Mathayo became a CCT IR- VICOBA facilitator, a PETS facilitator as well as a Paralegal Facilitator for Zombo Village in Kilosa.
Mathayo is a humble story of zero to hero. After the training on IR-VICOBA, he mobilized his neighbours to form a group of IR-VICOBA named FARAJA. Under FARAJA they had a program of loan borrowing as one of the products of IR-CCT-VICOBA. “As a far as I can remember, my first loan was 60,000/= Shillings only” said Mr Bony. He started with it the business of cooking and selling snacks with the help of his lovely wife. When the snacks business got many customers they decided to build a restaurant and thence expand their business portfolio to sell meals and refreshments. That was his first business, and it had a lot of success.
“It was not easy, but we struggled for everything and we made it through our hard working while following the entrepreneurship skills from the IR-CCT-VICOBA workshops.” remarked Mr Bony
Apart from the restaurant business, Mathayo learnt that he could make more progress by seizing the opportunity in power supply. In his village there was no electricity. Mathayo stepped forward and started to produce power by a diesel generator in 2014. He took a loan of 2,000,000 TSh from his VICOBA group and started power production business. Currently he boasts a clientele of 47 households each of whom pays between 30,000 TSh and 45,000 TSh.
Apart from economic prosperity, Mathayo is also basking in the adulation of numerous adorers of his. He is one of the most respected personalities in his communities. Not for his economic feats, but mostly because of the contribution he (together with other members) had in the PETS committees. With his influence and the trust people have on him, he was elected Zombe Village Chairperson in the last Local Governments elections in 2014.
Mathayo has been unique for his ability to be daring yet wise enough to pick business ideas that have not failed him. Moreover the pursuit of prosperity is an endless one to him. Recently he has started a project of building business outlets in order for letting to the business persons. This is a long term investment for sustainability of his business. He has also bought the Satellite Dishes for TV shows; especially for the world famous football leagues.
Despite significant success, Mathayo continues to dream. In his statement he still aspire for becoming a good leader of his people as well as a successful entrepreneur.
“My life under IR-CCT-VICOBA has changed from nobody to somebody, I am totally and completely a different person and I believe my dreams of becoming a Zombo Councillor and owning my own company will materialize. As I have always believed success is not a miracle; but it happens through hard work, determination, focus and vision. I am would like to encourage my fellow Tanzanians to work hard and to determine to succeed in life” Said Mr. Mathayo Bony.