AfricaPress-Tanzania: TANZANIA has intensified efforts in ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by teaming up with five neighbouring countries, it was disclosed.
Acting Director of Child Development in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Mr Sebastian Kitiku , on Saturday said that with increasing new trends of cross boarder FGM practices, Tanzania has formed a joint taskforce with others to help in controlling girls being trafficked.
He said since 2019 Uganda, Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia formed the taskforce after an agreement to prohibit trafficking of girls for FGM, terming it a new cross border malpractice trend that must be fought.
Besides, the common front to fight the menace, the government had put in place a number of initiatives including adopting the National Plan of Action to prevent and eradicate violence against women and children with all its forms, and engage stakeholders to ensure the practice is eliminated.
As the country joined the rest of the world to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey 2015/2016 indicates that the prevalence of FGM has dropped in the two decades from 18 per cent in women aged 15-49 years to 10 per cent in 1996 .
However, in implementing the agreement, Mr Kitiku said the country has conducted a number of capacity building trainings to Regional Security Committees in the borders of Sirari (Tarime), Holili (Rombo), Namanga (Longido) and Horohoro (Kilindi) so that they note the techniques being used to traffic girls and women for FGM.
Elaborating, he noted the ministry in collaboration with districts along the borders have been using community radios and television to propagate anti-FGM messages.
He said the government on March 15, this year will launch a National Plan against FGM as they want to end the menace which has adverse health impact to girls and women who undergo it.
Mr Kitiku said they also impose a 500,000/- fine or six month imprisonment or both for, whoever will be found guilty of practicing FGM.
The acting director, further pointed out that the societies should also join forces with the government to end FGM practice with statistics showing that one out of ten women have undergone the genital cut in their lifetimes in the society.
Mr Kitiku named the regions with high cases and their per cent in bracket as Manyara (58), Dodoma (47), Arusha (41), Mara (32) and Singida (31).
He further said mid next month in Arusha the ministry will organize a national stakeholders’ conference against FGM, where the national plan will also be launched and deliberate strategies on how to deal with the menace.
International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is observed on February 6, to spread awareness and educate people about the problems female faced due to genital mutilation.
With the theme this year-No time for Global Inaction: Unite, Fund and Act to end FGM, the celebration was aimed at ending FGM with support from every quarter especially youth and other stakeholders.