President Hussein Ali Mwinyi has appreciated the contributions of civil society organizations in supporting the government in fighting against gender-based violence (GBV) and issued directives to government officials to strategize and increase efforts to fight against the human right violation.

Let us strategize to win the war against gender-based violence. More actions s are needed,” President Mwinyi at the launch event of a database on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) held at Sheikh Idris Abdulwakil Hall. The event was organized by the Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA) in collaboration with JUWAUZA, ZBC, TAMWA, ZAFYCO, ZLS, ZLSC, FAWE Zanzibar, LSF, KAS, THRDC and ZWA.

Dr Mwinyi vowed to lead the battle against GBV, calling upon all respective authorities and institutions such as the Police, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), and Judiciary to join forces with the public to end all forms of abuse in Zanzibar.

Dr Mwinyi said GBV is a cross-cutting issue and touches the lives of many, all people, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and government executives should join forces to end the human violation. The New system of data collection aims to minimize duplication of information. Before launching the new system, several victims of sexual violence, rape victims narrated their ordeal in attaining justice developed psychological problems.

He said that it is distressing to continue getting reports about human rights violations and GBV involving executives and law enforcers who are corrupt.

The President also commended the contribution of CSO organizations in fighting against GBV.

In appreciating the contribution of CSOs, the President presented an award to Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) appreciating the contribution towards the fight against GBV in Zanzibar. ZAFELA is an FCS grantee implementing a project intervention titled Fight Against GBV through the development of a Database system in Zanzibar.

ZAFELA chairperson Ms Sofia Abbras and Director Ms Jamila Mahmoud informed the President and participants that ZAFELA record around 100 cases of GBV annually, but from January to June this year they have recorded more than 300 cases while the data from Zanzibar Legal Service Centre (ZLSC) is 500 cases, an indication that abuse is still prevalent in

ZAFELA highlighted the challenges contributing to delays in addressing GBV cases included lack of enforcement, policies, and guidelines, and lack of accountability insufficient budget or lack of fund allocation for GBV in many government institutions, and delays in accessing justice.

ZAFELA called upon the President to push for reforms and regular evaluation on GBV interventions and consider possibilities of forming a ‘special National and GBV Commission or task force.’ Representatives from development partners who spoke at the forum pledged continued support to the government and NGOs to end GBV.

Addressing the Hon Guest of Honor and the partipants during the event, FCS Executive Director Francis Kiwanga highlighted some of the FCSs achievements in the past 5 years working with CSOs in Zanzibar.

”Since 2002, FCS has had great relations with CSOs in Zanzibar and the government through the Office of the Registrar of Civil Societies in Zanzibar. FCS works with 16-20 CSOs in Zanzibar annually. In the past five years, FCS has granted Shillings 4 billion (TZS 4,094,639,230/=) to 73 CSOs to work on policy influencing and implement inventions on Women rights to own land, fighting against GBV, Livelihood and youth employment, citizen participation in development, peace building and conflict resolution.” he said.

Among the achievements of FCS’s support in Zanzibar over the past five (5) years include:

  • In tackling the challenges of livelihood and Youth Employment, FCS has been providing learning opportunities for university graduates to work in civil societies in Zanzibar thus increasing their experience with working in communities and connecting them with employers in the sector.
  • FCS has also supported and contributed in the process of drafting the NGOs Act by providing funding for stakeholder consultations and the collection of their views in Pemba and Unguja.
  • FCS has facilitated the establishment of the Resource Centre where stakeholders can access various information depending on their interests. This center is important as it provides an opportunity for organizations to go to work in the center located at the offices of ZIRPP (Zanzibar Institute of Research for Public Policy)
  • FCS has worked to build and strengthen the capacity of Zanzibar Civil CSO as a key participant in the formulation and implementation of the Policy as well as to contribute directly to development. To achieve this, FCS has been facilitating various training, establishing the Zanzibar CSO Center.
  • To build and promote relations between Civil Society and Government in Zanzibar. To achieve this, FCS has been facilitating various dialogues between the Government and Civil Society in Unguja and Pemba, encouraging the participation and engagement of civil society in various social and developmental processes.

”On behalf of FCS Members, Board and fellow CSOs thank you very much Hon. President Dr Mwinyi for participating in this event and for the cooperation and solidarity between CSO and the Government that enables us to fulfil our duty of improving the lives of Zanzibaris and Tanzanians ” he concluded.