Human Rights & Gender Equality

UNFPA Tanzania working towards a vision of a Tanzania free from female genital mutilation and child marriage; where gender equality supports the realization of women’s reproductive rights. The practice and prevalence of FGM has been highlighted as an area of concern in Tanzania by CEDAW, CESCR, CRC and the Universal Periodic Review. While the national prevalence remains at 14.6%, five regions have recorded rates of 39% and above. UNFPA Tanzania as a part of the One UN leads the support to the Government of Tanzania to intensify the effort to end FGM. The UNFPA FGM programme engages relevant ministries including Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children (MCDGC), Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs (MOCLA), Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA); NGOs such as Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF), Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA), Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP); FBOs including Daughters of Charity Masanga Centre and Tanzania Interfaith Partnership (TIP); other UN agencies as a part of UN Delivering as One.

UNFPA Tanzania working towards a vision of a Tanzania free from female genital mutilation and child marriage; where gender equality supports the realization of women’s reproductive rights.

Intensifying the effort to end FGM

The practice and prevalence of FGM has been highlighted as an area of concern in Tanzania by CEDAW, CESCR, CRC and the Universal Periodic Review. While the national prevalence remains at 14.6%, five regions have recorded rates of 39% and above. UNFPA Tanzania as a part of the One UN leads the support to the Government of Tanzania to intensify the effort to end FGM.

The UNFPA FGM programme engages relevant ministries including Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children (MCDGC), Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs (MOCLA), Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA); NGOs such as Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF), Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA), Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP); FBOs including Daughters of Charity Masanga Centre and Tanzania Interfaith Partnership (TIP); other UN agencies as a part of UN Delivering as One.

The work takes a human rights-based approach to end FGM, i.e. working with duty bearers to increase their capacity to respond to and prevent FGM; to increase their accountability through strengthened evidence-based policies; increasing rights holders knowledge of FGM; provision of alternative rites of passage for girls at risk and increasing demand for justice where FGM has occurred. The programme is informed by and aligned with the objectives of the global UN Joint Programme on FGM/C: Accelerating Change’.

Mara is the priority region for UNFPA in FGM response but also in addressing low contraceptive prevalence rate, the high levels of intimate partner violence and child marriage among other GBV issues. Progress towards ending FGM is now evident: increasingly numbers of girls attend the alternative rites of passage during the month of December. Although the role of police continues to be predominantly in prevention of FGM, cases have also been successfully prosecuted.

In June 2014 UNFPA supported the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children to organize the first ever National Ending FGM Forum, which resulted in regional action plans being developed for Mara and the other 4 regions with the highest rates of FGM. UNFPA will be supporting the implementation of these action plans.

Creating a Child Marriage-Free Zone

Tanzania has one of the highest child marriage prevalence rates in the world. On average, almost two out of five girls will be married before their 18th birthday. In Africa over 42% of girls are married before they reach 18 years, with millions of girls given away to marriage before they reach puberty. 31 out of 41 countries in the world where prevalence rates of child marriage are more than 30% are in Africa.

To support the United Republic of Tanzania end child marriage and support child brides, the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children (MCGDC) in collaboration with UNFPA Tanzania, Graça Machel Trust (GMT), Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF), Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA), Mara regional authorities and Mara region CSOs among others launched the National Ending Child Marriage Campaign in August 2014.

The campaign which is branded – “Child Marriage-Free Zone” aims to strengthen national dynamics for ending child marriage and ensuring the realization of rights of girls and women through interventions aimed at both the rights holders, i.e. the girls themselves and the duty bearers in Mara and nationally.

Interventions that are being supported include national-level advocacy towards the review of discriminatory laws; supporting health, education and legal sectors to prevent and respond to all forms of discrimination against girls and women. In Mara specifically and in addition to this: increasing rights holders knowledge of child marriage and FGM through school-based clubs for the promotion of life skills; training of duty bearers such as community and religious leaders, police and judiciary in the rights of girls and women and gender based violence – including child marriage - prevention and response; community engagement interventions to change cultural norms that keep up harmful traditions of child marriage and FGM are being supported as a part of this campaign.

Campaigners are calling for increased investments in strengthening institutions to protect girls and women, sexual and reproductive health and rights; increasing the minimum age of marriage to 18 years of age, and retaining girls in education by making secondary education compulsory for all.

Reviewing discriminatory laws and status of domestication of international human rights treaties related to gender equality and women’s empowerment

UNFPA Tanzania is currently supporting the Government of Tanzania to prepare its 2014 submission to the CEDAW. In addition to the high-level advocacy related to ending child marriage and related law review, UNFPA has supported Zanzibar to review the Kadhi’s Court Act and the Marriage Solemnization Bill, to ensure women’s increased access to justice.

Coordination of GBV Actors

UNFPA supports and participates in the National Gender Based Violence and Violence against Children Committee on the mainland; the Zanzibar GBV coordination structures; the Police Partner Coordination Group and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare GBV Technical Working Group.