AT least 30 young women and men from Tanzania and Kenya have been trained on how to use digital storytelling to combat cross border child marriages and Female Genital mutilation (FGM) acts.
The week-long training was held in Tarime town last week under the ongoing project called accelerating progress to child marriage in Tanzania and Kenya.
The ambitious one-year project is implemented by the Children's Dignity Forum (CDF) – the local non-governmental organisation, in-collaboration with the Kenyan NGO called Msichana Empowerment Kuria with the support of Girls Not Brides of UK.
It targets several rural wards in Tarime District in Mara region on the Tanzanian side and Migori County in the neighbouring Kenya.
"After looking at the trends we have seen the need of coming up with new innovative approaches of using digital storytelling to tackle child marriages and FGM. We have provided the training to 30 male and female youths from both sides (Tanzania and Kenya)", CDF Programme Officer Euphomia Edward said on the sidelines of the training here last Friday.
She said the trained youth will be using smartphones and other digital tools to spearhead ongoing anti-child marriages and FGM campaigns in their villages.
The youths can also take images and stories related to child marriages and FGM acts and report them to relevant authorities responsible for protecting children’s rights for immediate interventions, according to her.
FGM is said to be a source of child marriages and massive school dropout out among school girls during FGM seasons in some parts of Mara region, including Tarime district.
"We believe youths have the power and can bring positive change in this campaign, "she pointed out.
The youths welcomed the training and promised to make good use of digital communications to stop child marriages and FGM acts.
"We have learned how to use digital storytelling by compiling information and pictures and convey them to the society and the whole world ", Mr John Mjunwa , a participant from Tanzania in Tarime district said.
On her part, Lydia Moronge from the Kenyan Msichana Empowerment Kuria made it clear that they have been going without knowing how to use digital communications to tackle child marriages and FGM.
"We didn't know innovative approaches by using digital communications. The training will now be helpful from the planning steps", she said.