This project was made possible with support of the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) to Tusonge Community Development Organization. From the onset the project design had set out approaches such as facilitation, orientation, meetings and awareness campaigns to address various GBV challenges.
GBV has no territory
Gender based violence knows no boundaries; it affects minority groups such as women and children in many culture, race, social classes across the nations. It comprises of incidences and harmful traditions which fuel women and girls vulnerability. They may take various forms which may include early girl child marriages, female genital mutilations, rape women beating and child molestation. These, often, affect the well-being of these groups as the victims are saddled into physical harm and psychological anguish.
How the project enhanced MTAKUWWA committee
The fight against GBV incidences has benefited from the efforts of Tusonge in making MTAKUWWA committee active. These committees are responsible to ensure the National Plan of Action to End Violence against Women and Children in Tanzania (NPA-VAWC) 2017/2018 – 2021/22 implemented at the local level.
Previously, the local government leaders in Arusha Chini had managed to successfully form the committee but less so in making it effective to bring about expected results. In that sense, Tusonge project came at the right time to resuscitate MTAKUWWA by facilitating and build the capacity of members on GBV issues.
Evarist Komba, a MTAKUWWA committee member had this to say; ‘‘after we were educated by Tusonge on GBV issues we gave that feedback to our community. We started monitoring these occurrences such as early pregnancies and others against children. We also keep records of these events and report those which need to be reported to village chairman. In addition, those serious cases are reported to Police station for further legal actions.’’
Another, MTAKUWWA member Ms. Mwanahamis Katala; ‘‘there other challenges which are related to those parent who don’t care for their families. Some have the drunken fathers who would rather consume local brew than buying for their children school facilities such as exercise books and uniforms. We have been calling these parents and educate them on family care as the harsh conditions force these children into child labor such as becoming house girls where sometimes the money is taken by the parents. We have also position ourselves to act on any occurrence of GBV in our communities’.
Also, Tusonge facilitated the formation of the youth group known as Wote Sawato work on the youth such as those who engage in boda boda business to address acts of GBV.
Samsoni Joshua, a chairman of the youth group Wote Sawasaid; ‘‘we attended to a number of training sessions prepared by Tusonge where we learnt about different forms of GBV. I have myself dealt with children in protecting them from exposure to video kiosks which show immoral materials. Also, we are working to contain children from walking at nights on their own (without their parents) to prevent any possible harm. There are events like one where a mother chased out her form one daughter at night and threatened her with a knife. We took time to talk to a mother with the help of village chairman we sorted this case from escalating to a full blown crisis.
In a club to fight
From the beginning Tusenge thought that GBV has to be fought in all fronts which include educating school kids about the ordeal. In collaboration with teachers and school administration they facilitated the establishment of school clubs on GBV in Arusha Chini ward. One of it is the one at Langasani Secondary School known as Vunja Ukimyaliterary meaning stop the silence (on GBV).
David Ezekiel a form four student and a leader of this club had this to share;
‘‘We discuss about GBV in our communities and where to report in case one of us observe it in the areas we live’. Our GBV club meet once a week on Tuesday.’’
Holiness Allen also a club member said; ‘‘I have learnt GBV acts include what GBV is; that are those harmful acts someone face just because of her gender. It does involve FGM, rape, and sodomy.’’
In this club students perform different educative activities which include drama, songs, and plays with case messages against GBV. They perform this in parent’s day and other events which involve public members. With what they learn in the school club the members have set their sights to become GBV ambassadors and rights defenders in the community they live.
With this project now structures are in place to respond to GBV challenges in places of worships such as churches and schools with school clubs. Further, the project has also been able to help in identifying agents of change who are mostly influential members of the society to report in case of any GBV incidents.