Every March 8, the world mark Women’s International Day—to celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action to achieve equality for women.
Likewise in Tanzania, the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (Tamwa) in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) joined a number of campaigners from a group fighting for child rights especially a girl child demanding for more action to end violence against women.
Most surprisingly, girls who come from various secondary and primary schools in Kisarawe raised their voice in favour of better future for girls and young women in the country.
Neema from Visegese village and a form two student said “there is no way out and the government should get ready to listen to our plea.”
She points out that children in her village who go to school are not sure whether they would complete their studies.
She told this writer that it gives her endless nightmares despite hopes to serve the national as a marine solder.
“The two girls who have lately dropped from school simply got pregnant. More or so have also suspended class just to engage in other issues other than classroom activities … this is challenging.”
She says “all these girls are prepared to be a time bomb not only by the government but with the family.”
It appears members of the family are not taking it serious for their girl child to go to school.
Most families in Kisarawe according to the acting district commissioner Nahya Mansour are making little efforts to invest in a girl child education.
Education is a key to human’s success, she tells campaigners who ended their demonstration at the district council on Tuesday.
Like Nahya, Neema echoes that education helps to unlock social community challenges and that it has to be a priority to all children.
Another child, Martha who resides in Sanza village and currently in form three says social or peer groups were a challenge to a girl child.
At sixteen, she admits that she has witnessed several fellow colleagues cutting short their schooling due to the so-called bad groups.We need real actions, she went on to add.
She cautions that should families fail to stick to their gun in protecting the rights of girl child and a little commitment from community leaders a young woman remains at risk.
“Some parents don’t bother to question or make critical analysis of their children’s day-to-day progress. This is in two ways. Some parents just don’t care but others have their own interests –choosing husbands to their young daughters.”
She said such a guardian or relative can be easily identified when they persistently turn down basic needs for their daughters.
Malsera Rungu, Social Work Officer speaking on behalf of Tamwa at the ceremony told participants the 50/50 equality for men and women would not be archived come 2030 if no further commitment are put on board both state and non-state actors.
Citing Marriage Act, 1971 she said the legislation has been poked holes for two decades yet the government hasn’t taken time to make amendments.
She said the law has so far undermined the dignity and value of a girl child by endorsing her to be married at the age of 15 and 18 years for a boy child.
She called on the community not to stop making noise and pointing out perpetuators of gender based violence in the community.
“There is no need for FGM, early and forced child marriage … we need all girls to attain equal rights as to boys,” she said.
THE 2013 survey done by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said that Tanzania has one of the highest child marriage prevalence rates in the world, and on average, almost two out of five girls are married before their 18th birthday.