THE Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) yesterday joined the rest of the world to mark the International Day of the Girl Child, challenging the public to play an active role in campaigns to eradicate trends and tendencies that hindered girls from attaining their dreams.
Addressing journalists, the TAMWA Executive Director, Ms Edda Sanga, said in the light of the theme of this year’s commemorations being ‘Eliminate child pregnancy to girl child to reach an industrialisation economy’, joint efforts were needed to realise the goal.
“In order for Tanzania to attain its vision of becoming an industrialised country, ef forts are needed to overcome all barriers hat affect young girls, which include teenage pregnancy, so that no one is left behind in the process,” said Ms Sanga.
She pointed out that the theme was in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Number Five, which focuses on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls to attain 50/50 representation by the year 2030.
She stressed that the commemorative day provided an opportunity for reflecting on the importance of investing in and empowering girls while preventing and eliminating the various forms of violence they were experiencing.
According to the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Katavi Region had the highest teenage pregnancy rate, prevalence being set at 45 per cent. Next (percentages in brackets) are Tabora (43), Dodoma (39), Mara (37) and Shinyanga (34).
Nationally, the prevalence rate is at 27 per cent.
“This kind of circumstance is contrary to girls’ rights which require every person to protect them while strategising on ways to overcome child marriage. The government in collaboration with stakeholders last year launched a strategic plan to overcome gender based violence against women and children aiming to reduce violence on the groups by 50 per cent in 2021/2022,” Ms Sanga noted.
TAMWA’s Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, Mr John Ambrose, observed that challenges hindering girls to reach their goals included lack of sanitary pads, having to walk long distance to and from school and exposure to many household chores.
“These girls fail to attend school throughout the months because they do not have access to sanitary pads…unlike boys, most girls can only attend 15 days, thereby tending to miss out a lot,” said Mr Ambrose.
On his part, the Strategic Manager at TAMWA, Mr Davis Lumala, noted that the organisation had launched the Youth Media Fellowship initiative, under which at least 10 journalists had been trained, to report on gender based violence issues across the country, in order to drive change in the society.