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Topic : How can Tanzania end Violence against Women?  

The legal framework in Tanzanian has made some progress in preventing Gender Based Violence (GBV). For example, the Sexual Offence Special Provisions Act of 1998 and a number of by Laws (initiated by Local Authorities in Tanzania) pose harsh penalties for perpetrators of sexual violence. However, ...Click here to read more

Comments From TAKNET Members
Kurt Madoerin  : Tuesday, September 29, 2015    
  Dear Friends,

I red with interest the different contribution concerning gender-based violence. Yes, of course, the society has to change - but unfortunately the society doesn't change automatically - especially if there are vested or open (gender) interests behind the actual situation.

Living and working in a village in Muleba district (Nshamba) we are confronted with a high incidence of sexual violence against girl-child and girl-adolscents. (We work mainly with children affected by HIV - either living with grandparents or living with infected parents, mostly in femal headed households). So we decided to push the change in the society a little bit forward through the introduction of self-defense courses for girls. Since 2010 more than 2'000 girls have been trained and they have formed training groups in different villages and schools. Boys (any change of the society needs them as much as the girls) have the possibility to learn about non-violent (or maybe "less violent") male gender identities in "Peace is a Decision-PiaD". Workbooks are available for the self-defense course for girls and the Piad-courses for boys.

Both, girls and boys, started this year to be active in building in some villages alliances among committed people against sexual violence (called PAMOJA).

Kurt Madoerin, Advisor Kwa Wazee.

Contact: , Lydiah Lugazia


Jacks Meena  : Tuesday, May 26, 2015    
  Dear All,

I have been following the discussion and honestly much has been said. Violence against women- our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters will only end when societies (men) come to sobriety and realise that women are human just like the rest us. Women deserve a lot respect for what they are doing and what they have done


ANTHONY GIKURI  : Monday, May 25, 2015    
  For some time now I could not fully participate in this debate, although it is a topic that I liked once I saw it in this forum. Before I could suggest what should be done, may I share briefly with you about my experience in my tribe, Kurya which is regarded by many as a chief manufacturer of GBV incidents in Tanzania. I am sorry if at all my perspective upsets anyone.

Since I was a little boy I used to see parents separate girls from boys, almost in all walks of life. The group of male children was built on the philosophical foundation that itself is better. For example even if the boy was younger than his sister, still he deserved all the respect including from his own mother and other women in the village. When it came to performing domestic chores, boys were totally exempted. For example, it would be a shame to the father and the family as a whole to see boys carrying water on their heads or cooking even if their mother or sisters would need such services. In these circumstances, it is definitely a male child was socialized in a manner that propagates disrespects and ill-treatments to girls and women in society. This became the beginning of this male group to rise to dominance and act unjustifiably against girls and women.

Another area which propagates gender based violence is payment of bride price. Although this practice is not specific to Kurya, allow me to share my tribal experiences. Once bride price was paid, a girl immediately changed from being a human being to a property i.e. being transferred from her family to the husband’s family just like any other item you can name. A husband had all the right to keep his wife under his feet. Several times a married girl was beaten to death by her husband or her husbands’ relatives, but no one shown any reactions or even came to her rescue. It was not surprising also to see the daughter beaten up severely in front of her father with no any measures taken upon the husband. Some fathers were heard saying, ‘LEAVE HIM ALONE HE’S KILLING HIS OWN PROPERTY’

While these kinds of violent acts against women have been persistent for a long time, the last three decades have seen substantial change including reduced forced FGM. Thanks to the government and other development partners. However, more concerted efforts are needed particularly in rural areas. I concur with the previous contributors who focused on revising school education curriculum by incorporating aspects of gender and full participation of parents and learners themselves in the change process. Similarly, the government should revive the system of placing secondary school students away from their social contexts so that they get to integrate with other cultures at the early ages. Although it’s not a panacea, it could still help to expose them to external world leading to the change of mindsets.

Anthony Gikuri

Kizumbi Campus

Moshi Co-operative University (MoCU)

Kizumbi Campus

P.O.BOX 469



Mobile +255713634382/+25589448244/+255768805441

Website: www.muccobs.ac.tz


Monica Stender  : Monday, May 25, 2015    
  Dear Sirs,

We are talking about cultural changes and it’s not easy and take a long time. In addition of banning these practices by law, Government Programs must try to convince older that FGM and GBV are bad practices, and must be based in education. Different levels of citizens are involved: grandparents, parents and teachers must first change mind and be convinced that this practice are not good. If not they will not stop it at home, and educate children the new way to treat their sisters, sheer colleagues and friends and women in general. And all will be the same forever.

Mónica E. Stender, PhD, MBA


Av. Madrid, 102 Entº 3ª

08028 - Barcelona - España

Tel: (34) 610 792450 Fax: (34) 93 229 6934

mstender@stender.biz www.stender.biz

Skype: monicastender

Linkedin: stender@stender.biz


Eugenia Maeda  : Monday, May 25, 2015    
  In considering the wide subject of Institutional, legal and financial bottlenecks on poverty, environment and Gender based violence (GBV), one has to look at its physical and emotional impact that such violence has, to the inflicted person. In majority of cases it is the woman.

The subject can be divided into four major groups, to wit:

1. General Physical weakness of women.

2. Male chauvinism, stemming from traditions, culture and customs,

3. Religious beliefs and

4. Legal Rights.

1. Physical Strength:

Nature has relegated a woman to an inferior and weaker position in he society than men, merely because of her less physical strength. Taking advantage of the situation, men have used their physical power to dominate and suppress women in variety of ways: Taking a few examples:

1.1 Men have, in many cases, wanted to have a final say in matters that affect welfare of both, men and women. Descent, is met with cohesion or physical force, often times, leading to dire and fatal consequences.

1.2 Sexual demands. In sexual relationships some women are “forced” into such relationships even when the women partners are not ready for such relationships, leading to long term psychological torment

2. Traditions, Culture and Customs. Some of the traditions and customs are a great impediment and mental deprivation to the whole development of a woman, as a human being. A few examples:

2.1 A woman as the Child bearer: Indeed, nature has endowed women with an enviable capability of bearing and raising offspring. Men have tended to use the child bearing activity, as an excuse for confining women at home and expecting them to be responsible, not only in raising and looking after the children, but also for all the chores of the house, 24/7: (fetching water, fire wood, feeding the family and the animals in the house, etc), with little help from her male spouse. Eventually, a woman finds herself a prisoner of her own home.

Men, on the other hand, have maintained that they are the breadwinners and as such, they have to be out, to look for whatever they look for. More often than not, the actual breadwinner, in many a home, is a woman and not the man spouse. Unfortunately, a woman has been disabled, intentionally, by being denied the important tool of education to enable her access the financial market, which would have empowered her to be a better contributor, a breadwinner and an equal partner in the socioeconomic development of the country.

2.2 Given the misguided, but real entrenched custom, that once married, a lady belongs to another family, there is as little incentive to invest on a woman, in terms of educating her, such investment being considered as a waste and non productive. When they reach puberty period, a woman is expected to marry and start bearing children and start to attend to the domestic chores. Dowry paid by the bridegroom, is still an important source of revenue to many a home. With almost no education behind them, the young women end up occupying the lowest economic activities in the economy: e.g as bar and domestic maids etc. unable to leave any legacy or contribute to the general development of their families (the future generation) or the nation. On the other hand a boy is presumed to be there, for the old folks, at their old age. The truth could not be further from reality. The daughters are, in fact, closer to their parents than the boys.

2.3 Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Of all the customs still rampant in our society, there cannot be a more sinister, hypocritical, double sided and backward custom than FGM. For some unknown reasons, Custom has it, that, women are generally promiscuous than men. The truth is that promiscuity as, a vice, practiced by both men and women. The assertion that it is a phenomenon confined to women alone has never been empirical tested. The hideous custom is performed on young girls, at their tender age, by removing the most sensitive part of their entire female genitals. This is considered to be a means of checking and controlling the vice, as

it were. Women who refuse to go through this decadent ritual, are rejected and ostracized by their entire community and considered unfit as future wives and mothers

3. Religious Beliefs: Some of the religious beliefs, as expounded and amplified by respective clergy men, segregate women and deny them of their basic fundamental rights such as right to free speech, right to education and right to develop their total sum. For example, women are not allowed to become priests or sheikhs.

4. Lack of Social and Economic empowerment: As already stated, the various traditions and customs, which deprive women of education, automatically deprive them of their rightful and most important tool for their “total liberation and independence”. They can not, in their own right, enter and compete effectively on equal footing, with their male folks, for positions of power, politically or economically. The ugly consequences of this disadvantaged position is to make a woman economically dependable, less confident, subservient and psychologically violated by men.

5. Legal Rights within the laws of the country. Some of the statutes have appeared to be in favour of men. For example: the inheritance laws, which, until quite recently, forbad women from inheriting immovable property. Ladies were not considered part of the family they were born into and could not be bequeathed any

immovable property, presumably because they would move with the property to another family. The custom ignored the fact that a marriage act is double edged, in the sense that a family with a boy and a girl, will give away a girl, who goes to the family, with whatever property is bequeathed to her and gain a girl who comes with whatever property is bequeathed to her.

6. Suggested solution. The most important solution is to change the mindset of Tanzanians, through education, to inculcate, among our young lads, right


Oswald Mashindano  : Tuesday, May 19, 2015    
  Dear members!

Thank you very much for the very provocative but inspiring contributions on Gender Based Violence (GBV) as well as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). I commend members for taking efforts to make this forum active. Initially, we thought the focus will be on GBV alone. However, since FGM is closely related to GBV (also supported by the ongoing discussion), I concur with the way our discussion unfold. Kassala has mentioned the involvement of teachers and parents in eradicating GBV and FGM in Tanzania. Much as I support this intervention, Kassala has not given us his thought on how teachers and parents can be involved. One of my suggestions on this would be to mainstream GBV and FGM in schools, and sensitize parents (who do not practice GBV and FGM) to create awareness among family members particularly the young ones.

I also commend Kassala's acknowledgement on measures which have been taken so far. I thing this is the relevant steps in the right direction. However, as Danford Sango alarms, GBV and FGM in Tanzania are still taking roots! Why? What are the root causes and how can this vice be reduced or eliminated? A practical suggestion by e.g. Vic Don on the use and building capacity of the Ten Cell Leaders are cogent. we therefore need to say a little bit more on how this model can be practically adopted and implemented in Tanzania.

Thank you and Best Regards

Oswald Mashindano


Vic Don  : Thursday, May 14, 2015    

That also is a good suggestion. This is a social issue. Whichever social structure has moral and ethical authority will work splendidly

Kind regards


paul mikongoti  : Thursday, May 14, 2015    
  Dear all,

May I also add some definitions/explanations in regard to GBV and FGM...

Gender based violence (GBV) is defined as “an umbrella term for any harmful act that is perpetuated against a person’s will and that is based on socially ascribed (gender) differences between males and females.” The term gender based violence is often used interchangeably with the term violence against women. The UN Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women defines violence against women as “Any act of gender-based violence that result in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering for women, including threats such as coercion, or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.”

Gender based violence takes many forms including physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence. Acts involving gender based violence and violence against women include battering (beatings), sexual abuse and harassment, rape (including marital rape), female genital mutilation (and other traditional practices harmful to women), human trafficking and forced prostitution.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a practice involving the cutting or removal of the external genitals, mostly for traditional and cultural reasons. WHO defines FGM as involving removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and hence interferes with the natural function of girls’ and women’s bodies.


Camillus D. N. Kassala  : Monday, May 11, 2015    
  Unfortunately what Vic calls 'TCLs' do not have a legal basis, they are not part of the local government system constitutionally. They are a legacy of the one-party system, and they may not exert full authority to non-CCM citizens.

I would prefer involving the primary school Parents'-Teachers' Committees. These have authority over school administration, and can easily influence all parents and task them to see to it that there is no GBV in their community.



Camillus D. N. Kassala  : Monday, May 11, 2015    
  Thanks TAKNET Moderator!

Let me now continue with the discussion. Last time I finished by pointing out that no wonder, since then (i.e. 2005) there has been no other conference of the same scale on women issues! However, the UN Women division has realized how far the efforts towards women 'inclusion' need to be improved upon. Perhaps it is opportune now just to to give an account, albeit in a summary way, of what has been done so far in terms of the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action.

The Platform for Action targeted 12 key areas. My concern here is, obviously, the African context. So, what efforts have been expended on each of the 12 targets/critical areas in Africa since Beijing 1995? Here is the answer:

1. Women and poverty : 80% of people living on less than $1.25 a day (i.e. 1.2 billion persons) are women in Africa.

2. Education and women : All developing countries have achieved parity at primary education, i.e. girls equal boys. However, there is a wider gender disparity at the secondary and tertiary schools, i.e. 64 girls per 100 boys.

3. Women and health : although there are fewer maternal deaths (45%) than in 1990, still 800 women die daily, and 99% of such cases are in developing countries including Africa.

4. Violence against women : this chronic male behaviour against women is still around! Since 1995 1 in 3 women still experience physical or sexual violence and, surprisingly, mostly by intimate partner! (The most famous case is Pestorius of South Africa).

5. Women and armed conflict : Despite the 2000 UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (to increase women's participation in peace talks because war impacts women differently) till 2011 only 9% of negotiators at peace tables were women. Come home, in Tanzania: in the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation (which was founded for peace negotiation in the great lake Region), how many women are co-opted?

6. Women and the economy : though there has been an increase from 40% to 50% of world's women being paid wage and salary, until today women earn 10-30% less than men for the same work!

7. Women in power and decision-making : If we take the case of parliament, women in parliament has nearly doubled from 1995 to 2015. However, this is only 22% of MP's are women in parliament in 2015.

8. Institutional mechanism : although 143 out of 195 countries provide for constitutional equality between women and men, discrimination against women still persists through laws and politics, gender-based stereo-types and social norms and practices.

9.Human rights of women : women cannot exercise their rights as citizens as men and hence to enjoy the rights afforded to citizens (habitat, voting, work, owning land and property, accessing education and health care); and this happens in 60 countries.

10. Women and the media : only 24 percent increase of women's presence in the media by 2010, compared to 17% in 1995! However, what is worse is the fact that 46% of the stories in the media today reinforce gender stereo types, and only 6% challenge such stereotypes!

11. Women and the environment : In terms of accessing water, women spend 16 million hours per day to collect water in 25 sub-Saharan countries, compared to 6 million hours for men, and 4 million hours for children!

12. The girl child : the widespread issue is FGM (=female genital mutilation) of girls and women, affecting 133 million girls and women in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

So for 20 years that is all what men and women have managed to 'recover' the dignity and freedom of the woman. But, may concern is this question: What kind of thinking is behind all societal stereotypes against women, almost anywhere and every where in the world? What gender theory informs such practices? Is it possible think beyond biology, psychology and sociology about these issues? In my next contribution I will tackle these question!



Vic Don  : Monday, May 11, 2015    
  We have a great social structure called the "Ten Cell leaders" (TCLs).

This must be reinforced. TCLs can be provided with assistants, say 3 who are mostly women.

The TCLs, to be educated against GBV.

Long Term way forward is to educate women so that they can achieve economic independence.

Best wishes


Danford Sango  : Sunday, May 10, 2015    
  It amazes me that despite significant efforts put to combat the practice, FGM is still prevalent among certain societies in Tanzania.


Camillus D. N. Kassala  : Sunday, May 10, 2015    
  Twenty years ago, at the Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women of 1995, one of the things that the Conference was determined to work on was to "Intensify efforts and actions to achieve the goals of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women by the end of this century". This was in the twentieth century. Today, in the twenty-first century, 2015 - twenty years after the Beijing Conference - we are still working on women issues, like gender-based violence (GBV). Incidentally, the reference to Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for Advancement of Women shows how far the Beijing Conference was still behind in implementing the Nairobi Strategies. These Strategies were laid down in Nairobi in 1985. Thirty years ago! Therefore, a girl who was born in that year is now a grown up lady of 30 years old. And yet none of the strategies has been realized even by 50 %!!!! The strategies were intended to deal with equality, development, and peace. There were also areas of special concern, namely women affected by drought, urban poor women, elderly women, young women, abused women, destitute women, women trafficking and prostitution, mental disabilities, detained women under penal law, displaced women and children, migrant women, and minority and indigeneous women. Most likely most women of the age 30 and older today are still victims of those special concerns!

If we have not yet made any substantive progress (re recent refugees from Burundi, the Boko Haram syndrome, the complex South Sudan male/masculine squabble, etc...etc), it is because we have not yet made a thorough and critical evaluation of the failures of the women conferences in Mexico (1975), Copenhagen (1980), Nairobi (1985), Beijing (1995), and UN-New York (2000)! No wonder, since then there has been no other conference of the same scale on women issues!

(to continue)



Abdallah Hassan  : Sunday, May 10, 2015    
  Dear Ibreck

Thank you very much for your observation.

It was taken for granted that the two abbreviations - GBV and FGM are known. For the purpose of this discussion GBV which stands for Gender-Based Violence are all acts that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private (The Council of Europe) and FGM which stands for Female Genital Mutilation is the act of removing part or entire female genitals with the goals of fulfilling traditional beliefs including inhibiting a woman's sexual feelings.

I think this explanation will help contributors to understand the topic and thus contribute meaningfully as Mr. Ibreck suggests. Other experts are invited to give explanation of the terms.



joseph paul  : Sunday, May 10, 2015    
  You have brought on platform a very realistic and problematic constitutional issue in undefined abreviations GBV and FGM contexts. We have to be specifically told what those abbreviations stand for to enable us contribute meaningfully. Ibreck  

joseph paul  : Wednesday, May 6, 2015    
  You have brought on platform a very realistic and problematic constitutional issue in undefined abreviations GBV and FGM contexts. We have to be specifically told what those abbreviations stand for to enable us contribute meaningfully. Ibreck  

Abdallah Hassan  : Tuesday, May 5, 2015    
  ESRF is undertaking three years UNDP sponsored project titled “Pro-poor Economic Growth and Environmentally Sustainable Development Poverty and Environment Initiative (PEI)”. Through the project two studies - “Assessment Study to Identify Institutional, Legal and Financial Bottlenecks on Poverty, Environment and Gender (P-E-G) Implementation” and “Mapping Study of Poverty, Environment and Gender Related Innovative Local Best Practices and Local Private Funding Opportunities”. The findings from these studies indicate among others that GBV in Tanzania can be tackled effectively mainly through the Local Authorities (District Councils) who are lacking the requisite capacity in terms of financial resources and human resources. Despite the resources, operations of the local authorities on gender, GBV and FGM in particular in Tanzania have further been disrupted by political interference and limited women empowerment.

We invite TAKNET members to provide views and ideas on the effective measures to prevent or minimize the scale and cases of GBV (protection system) in Tanzania. The focus should be on measures and protection systems that can improve community knowledge, awareness and therefore empowerment necessary to eliminate GBV in the country. It is our hope that your contribution will ultimately inform the legal system, policies and action plans that are intended to address violence against women in Tanzania.

Specifically your contributions can focus on the following areas:

• Causes of GBV prevalence in Tanzania

• The scale or degree of GBV in Tanzania

• Strategic Interventions to end GBV in Tanzania

• Comments and/or opinions on existing national and local laws, policies and action plans that are meant to address violence against women in Tanzania

• Political and Cultural will to end GBV in Tanzania

The discussion is Moderated by: Dr. Oswald Mashindano, Mrs. M. Nzuki and Mr. A. Hassan


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