Singida Sunday School Festival
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.