Women Gender Development & Children

Children singing and dancing in Child Festival Anti FGM Singida 2014
Children singing and dancing in Child Festival Anti FGM Singida 2014

Women Development, Children and Gender Program of Christian Council of Tanzania is focused on building capacity of women in issues pertaining to social rights with an emphasis on bringing gender equality. The program also targets to facilitate women and children into participating in decision making processes, politically, economically, socially and traditionally. Mostly the program works through a number of social activities including the following:

  • Facilitating trainings to women in church and social leadership for them to understand various issues of gender development
  • Conducting workshops and seminars on leadership, gender and family relationships about HIV and AIDS
  • Motivating women in initiating various activities and programs to improve their economic well being
  • Mainstreaming and integrating gender issues in CCT’s programs
  • Facilitating and conducting trainings with a purpose of raising strong feelings against gender based violence and child abuse

Map showing Project Areas

This program has been working in a number of districts, particularly Singida, Kiteto, Serengeti, Rorya and Tarime. A survey done in all these districts revealed that gender based violence, especially female genital mutilation (FGM) for women and young girls is prevalent in these communities; While in Singida FGM is done while girls are still infants or new borns, in the other four districts girls are cut when they are teenagers, 12 years or more. In Singida the age for mutilation was lowered after introduction of Anti-FGM law of 1998 (SOSPA) which forbids practice of FGM to girls. The program advocates against FGM because it has a number of effects including the following:

  • Acute Pain
  • Trauma
  • Severe Bleeding
  • Unconsciousness
  • Swelling of genitals
  • Death
  • Anemia
  • Transmission of STDs
  • Transmission of HIV and AIDS
  • Damaging of Urethra

Long term effects of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

  • Altered and weakened genitals because of scars
  • Grieving
  • Pain during sex
  • Failure to enjoy sex
  • Protrusion of flesh in genitals
  • Uterus infection
  • Infertility
  • Severe pain during monthly periods
  • Frequent Urinary Tract Infections(UTI)
  • Kidney Stones
  • Complications during birth (may amount to FISTULA)

Some of the crude tools used in FGM, usually clinical standards are far from consideration in these practices

Some of the crude tools used in FGM, usually clinical standards are far from consideration in these practices

Social Effects of FGM

  • Loss of man power
  • Child marriage
  • Teenage pregnancy with entailed complications during birth
  • Dropping out of school
  • Deaths of women
  • Fistula

 

The program has kept advocating against gender based violence and more on FGM through training different groups, dialogue with elders and ngaribas (women circumscisers); also training to rural health workers and traditional birth attendants. Moreover the program facilitates study tours for target groups to enhance learning. On top of that schools pupils and Sunday school children are involved in various festivals that campaign against GBV

 

Stakeholders:

Important stakeholders for this program include women, elders, ngaribas, primary school pupils, traditional birth attendants, primary school teachers, Sunday school teachers, religious leaders and the community at large.

In order to strengthen advocacy activities against FGM, the program has started and supported community based banks namely Village Community Banks (VICOBA) where members of community join in groups of 30 to buy shares which later on according their guidelines serves for loans after 12 weeks. Loans are at a small interest rate. VICOBA programs have gained fame in project areas where everyone is enthusiastic to join and get trained. Most people have been attracted after seeing transformation in lives of VICOBA members. In VICOBA members are trained in several subjects their including issues of FGM and gender at large. VICOBA seems to be a good approach in addressing gender based violence because in their weekly meetings, agenda of FGM and gender in general is discussed and addressed.

The program supports paralegal trainings in project areas in order to meet legal aid needs of members of community that encounter GBV. On average, paralegal units in the project sites receive and support at least 5 cases per day. Apart from gender issues paralegals are also sought for help in issues like land, employment, inheritance and marriage. Since legal aid services is for free, and also that most of rural areas are without legal services, many people resort to paralegals whenever they face legal problem. In some districts even civil servants seek legal aid from paralegals.

Overall the program continues to realize tangible results including girls running away from FGM in Rorya, Serengeti and Tarime districts during FGM period. In 2012 for example more than 400 girls ran away from FGM in Serengeti district. VICOBA is seeing as a good mechanism to address FGM and other GBV issues. Members of VICOBA are expected to shy away from FGM and GBV and be good role models in these aspects otherwise they get thrown out of groups if found involved with FGM and GBV in any way.

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