Govt to inspect gender desks establishment at universities

THE government in collaboration with stakeholders from January next year will start making follow-ups on establishment of gender desks at middle and higher learning institutions.

The move aimed at ensuring that the institutions establish gender desks in response to government’s efforts to eliminate gender-based violence at higher education institutions.

“From January next year we (government) in collaboration with stakeholders will start making follow up on universities to see how they have implemented the directive of forming gender desks at their institutions.

“We would want to hear reasons from institutions that failed to establish the gender desks,” the Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special group, Dr Dorothy Gwajima said.

The minister made the statement yesterday in Dar es Salaam at the launch of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign 2022.

During the similar event last year, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa launched guidelines for prevention and management of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and sexual harassment at middle and higher learning institutions, which would include, among other things, the establishment of gender desks.

Yesterday’s event was organised by the Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) in collaboration with other Civil Society Organisations under their network for fighting gender violence (MKUKI).

This year’s campaign themed ‘ Every Life Matters: End Femicide and Violence Against Women and Children.

Dr Gwajima said “We still have an uphill task to educate the public over negative effects of the gender violence.”

She noted that her docket has started a process of reviewing policy and law on gender issues.

“We have already formed gender focal person at the ministry and did two meetings to discuss over the matter. We will then call stakeholders to hear from them,” the minister assured.

In her remarks, National Coordinator of the WiLDAF, Ms Anna Kulaya,  said this year’s theme aims at motivating every individual, public, institutions and the government to effectively engage in fight against gender violence.

“We members of Mkuki which is coordinated by the Wildaf have decided to focus on rampant gender violence which has been leading to serious economic, psychological and health effects as well as deaths,” Ms Kulaya stated.

She said in the recent years, the coalition, has been witnessing and receiving number of cases of gender violence, main reason being the love jealousy.

For instance, Police report of the year 2021 indicates that during the period between January and December a total of 29,373 people faced gender violence, out of which 20,897 women and  8,476 men.

“MKUKI and its stakeholders have well prepared to use these 16 days of campaign to conduct several activities aimed at increasing participation of every member of the community in eliminating gender violence,” she said.

On her part, WILDAF Chairperson, Dr Monica Mogoke, asked the government to finalize preparation of the new National Action Plan to end gender violence against women and children.

“The government through the ministry should fast-track finalising the new document as well as fast-track review of the gender policy in order to give guidelines for the ministry, institutions and other stakeholders in how to implement international conventions on eliminating gender violence,” Dr Mogoke remarked.

United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr Zlatan Milisic reteirated UN commitment towards supprting the government in fighting violence against women and children.

“We cannot achieve eliminating gender violence against women and children without empowering them,” he said, noting that the UN has been supporting the government such as setting up gender desks at police stations.

Commenting, Finland Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Theresa Zitting,  stated: “We need to stop this, we need to look at root cause of this. We need some serious behaviour change, this is a global problem.”

Ambassador Zitting commended the government for working on improving policies and guidelines to eliminate violence, arguing that the vice can be addressed through many ways including laws, policies, behavioir change and so on.

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