MORE than 60 community trainers from different wards in Ilemela District in Mwanza Region have been trained in ending child violence in society and they are training their own communities in ending the vice in their areas.
Such training was conducted by Tanzania Interfaith Partnership (TIP) through Boresha Project in support of Centre for Disease Control (CDC) from the United States of America (USA) aimed at educating the community to stop violence against children.
Speaking to this newspaper recently, Dr Pastory Mondea, a specialist from Bugando Medical Centre (BMC), who is also Project Manager of Boresha Project said training brought together 61 trainers from different wards in Ilemela District.
He said some of topics covered in onemonth training included child safeguarding policy, violence against children, national policy of child rights, TIP policy on child rights and strategies to end the vice which causes the group to be prone of HIV/Aids.
Other components covered were the national plan of action to end violence against women and children together with United Nations Children’s Education Fund (Unicef) declaration to end violence against children.
Boresha Project is implemented by TIP through religious groups – Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT), National Muslim Council of Tanzania (Bakwata), Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) and the office of Mufti of Zanzibar (MoZ).
Dr Mondea said service providers had been trained to deliver integrated and multi- sectoral services combining social welfare, justice, health education and community development.
He said 20 health officers, 21 peer educators and 20 religious leaders were trained for one month from early May to June and now they had started training the community in churches and mosques in Ilemela District to end gender and sexual violence which causes minors to be prone to HIV/Aids.
Dr Mondea noted that many people believed in witchcraft which led them to rape children while other children were married off while they were still young, which denied them an opportunity to attain good education.
According to a 2009 survey of violence in Tanzania, some children were sexually assaulted, raped, physically attacked and emotionally abused whereas others were slapped, punched, beaten up or threatened to be beaten up by relatives, authority figures or intimate partners.
Dr Mondea urged community to be aggressive to reveal cases of child violence to enable the government to know about the problem so that stern measures could be taken against the culprits.
"We teach them to link the abused with police gender desks, social welfare offices and with one-stop centre which is at Sekou Toure Referral Hospital where they provide counselling, treatment and legal aid to the victims of violence," said Dr Mondea.
He advised the community to stop wrong perceptions which led them to rape children, believing that they might get riches after sleeping with them.