WITH many girls fleeing their homes with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing to escape child marriage, domestic abuse, sexual assault and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and finding shelter at a Safe House in Mugumu, Mara Regional Commissioner (RC) Major General Suleiman Mzee has been touched and paid a visit to the centre and commended the good work being done by Hope for Girls and Women in Tanzania which runs it.
The safe house shelters girls fleeing their homes for fear of being subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other acts of gender-based violence.
In his visit, he promised to donate 2m/- to the Serengeti District based safe house, while praising its Director, Ms Rhobi Samwelly for doing the remarkable job.
In his address, he also warned the people that FGM was outlawed in the country, adding that the government would take stern action against all perpetrators. Reports available show that the philanthropic organisation (Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania) which runs the centres in Mugumu and Butiama has rescued nearly 4,000 girls from undergoing the FGM in recent years in the areas.
Meanwhile at least 70 girls have reportedly been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation, a few days after leaving the Tarime-based ATFGM Masanga Centre, where they had camped for almost a month. In turn, authorities in Mara region have ordered immediate arrest of the girls’ parents.
Taking the stance, Major Mzee ordered the police force in Tarime/Rorya Regional Police zone during a meeting he conducted at Masanga village in Tarime district on Tuesday to arrest the girls’ parents. It is not clear how the girls were subjected to FGM despite staying at ATFGM Masanga centre, a local NGO involved in the fight against FGM in the district.
This is against the commitment and efforts of government agencies – the Tanzania Police Force’s Gender and Children’s Desks – organizations and individuals who work so tirelessly to ensure that no girl in Tanzania lives in fear of FGM.
In Africa there is a saying: “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”.This reflects the collaborative and diverse approach in Tanzania to accelerate efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2030.
And the approach is beginning to yield results. More families are choosing to uphold the rights of their daughters not to be cut; more girls are attending alternative rites of passage programmes; increasing numbers of attempted FGM cases are being reported to the police by girls and family members; and the National Child Helpline is responding to more calls from girls seeking protection from FGM.
For instance, individuals and organisations recognised included Hope for Girls and Women and the Association for the Termination of FGM, Mara Region, who in collaboration with the Police and Women and Children Protection Committee, led by Social Welfare Officers, protected 801 girls from FGM in 2018.