This prevents massive examination failures and cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) against school girls lured for food.The Tanzania Media Women Association (Tamwa) Executive Director, Ananilea Nkya, said in a statement issued on Sunday that GBV acts committed against community secondary school girls is a result of lack of feeding programmes in schools.
Ms Nkya noted that rape has far reaching consequences including risks of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS and getting unwanted pregnancies. Tamwa, in collaboration with media houses, conducted two different surveys covering almost all regions in the country, this year, which revealed that some parents opt for their daughters to get married.
According to the statement, the parents opt to marry off their daughters because they realized that under the prevailing conditions, their daughters are vulnerable and risk failing to complete their education or fail the exams.Available data indicates that currently, there are 3,425 public secondary schools in the country, out of them 3,337 are community secondary schools.
By March, this year, 1,460,242 students were studying in community schools. The data from the office of the Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister's office, Regional Administration and Local Government (Education) indicates that currently food is provided to 228 government schools of which 140 of them are community secondary schools.
According to the data, the government needs 354,838,806,000/- (about 355 bil/-) to enable all community secondary schools country-wide provide their students with at least one meal a day.
"Tamwa believes that should MPs play their role effectively, the august House is able to persuade the government priotize meals for community secondary school in this financial year, for the purpose of ending the shame of rape and massive failure, as a result non-provision of basic rights to children in schools," the statement noted.
Indeed, provision of budget to cater for the feeding programme in community secondary schools not only will save students from negative impacts, but will help the country implement one of the Millennium Development Goals; children's right to education, the statement read in part.