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Church intervenes to help impregnated underage

Church intervenes to help impregnated underage

THE NorthWestern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (NWD-ELCT) has taken a holistic approach through conducting entrepreneurship programmes aimed to help underage girls who get pregnancies to get back to normal life.

NWD  Bishop Abednego Keshomshahara told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview at his office that  about  58 underage girls in Muleba and Missenyi districts had to-date attended the programs  while the church was closely following their development.

"The NWD is committed to help the underage girls who became pregnant to realize their dreams. The underagegirls would still be resourceful to the nation's development and the family as a whole," he said.

Elaborating, he said some among the 58 underage girls became pregnant while attendingschools adding that they had already attended entrepreneurship andtailoring programs which enabled them to start incomegenerating projects.

DrKeshomshahara appealed to Tanzanians to keep a close eye and assist underage girls who become pregnant while others were raped. "It is a duty for all of us to help the unfortunate girls. You never know, one of the girls could one day become a president," he remarked.

The clergy appealed to the residents to collectively fight against outdated laws, customs and practices that conspire to keep millions of women in society’s backyard and impinge on most of their constitutionally guaranteed rights while they also contend with various other forms of discrimination.

 "We must come together to find an  agreed consensus which will bring us closer to keeping women and girls safe and free from violence or threats of violence.  Gender based violence, remains a major health and human rights concern and no human development can be achieved as long as women and girls continue to suffer from violence or live in fear of it," he said.

Explaining the magnitude of the problem, DrKeshomshaharasaid millions of women and girls are subject to all forms of violence including; rape, intimate partner violence, female genital mutilation, child marriage, and sexual violence, adding that all these forms of abuses leave the victims in a prolonged psychological pain.

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is violence that is directed against a person on the basis of gender. It constitutes a breach of the fundamental right to life, liberty, security, and dignity, equality between women and men, non-discrimination and physical and mental integrity.

GBV includes domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, sexual violence during conflict and harmful customary or traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, forced marriages and honor crimes.

Trafficking in women, forced prostitution and violations of human rights in armed conflict in particular murder, systematic rape, sexual slavery and forced pregnancy, forced sterilization, forced abortion, coercive use of contraceptives, female infanticide and prenatal sex selection.

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Author: Meddy Mulisa in Bukoba

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