TANZANIA: FGM Still Prevalent In Tanga Region

Despite various efforts by the government and non-governmental organizations to alert the public on the dangers of female genital mutilation (FGM), the practice is still being carried out in some parts of Tanga Region, it has been observed.

Random interviews conducted in Kilindi District, Tanga Region, FGM is being carried out secretly in some villages which can hardly be reached by the non governmental organisations or government officials.

According to Pagwi Ward Executive Officer Josephat Paul, however the villagers were gradually becoming aware of the dangers of FGM.

The African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) through its Kilindi-based Nomadic Youth Sexual Reproductive Health project has been in the forefront in sensitising the residents.

He said that at first it was hard to change people`s notion about FGM, a practice they have been carrying out for hundreds of years, but were beginning to understand the dangers of the practice with time.

He said that the approach made by AMREF was very advanced because they started teaching the village elders about the dangers of genital mutilation, adding that elders were now teaching their subordinates of dangers of the harmful practice as a result.

Mvunge Ward Chairman Rehema Simon said that she had been organising meetings with elder women carrying out the practice in order to sensitise them.

``We were trained by AMREF on how to talk about those issues to the society without showing disrespect to societal tradition so that we can at least reduce the practice. So far we are succeeding, but in some areas people are still practicing,`` she said.

The Nomadic Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health project manager Godson Maro said the project which is being implemented by AMREF in collaboration with Kilindi District authorities had already started to bear fruits.

He said that some of the achievement of the project included, the reduction of early pregnancies and marriages, especially by students.

He said people were now getting latest information about sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/Aids.

Kilindi District Commissioner Sarah Dumba warned that the government was against the FGM tradition practised by some tribes in the district because it had hygienic complications to the victims and added to their poverty.

``I think time has now come to push for more effective action against those who are still persuading the practice in order to end the practice of FGM in Tanzania through education as well as enforcement of the law,`` she said.

She said the Kilindi District authorities were working hand in hand with AMREF to make sure that the Nomadic Youth Sexual and Reproductive health project met its intended objectives.


AUTHOR: Austin Beyadi

URL: Click here

DATE: 16/03/2009

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