Press Release

An Evening with Champions Active to #EndFGM

13 July 2018
An Evening with Champions Active to #EndFGM
An Evening with Champions Active to #EndFGM

On 16 July, 2018, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Tanzania and the East African Community (EAC), the British High Commission, the Embassy of Ireland, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the High Commission of Canada will host an event to highlight the intensified efforts that are needed to end female genital mutilation (FGM) in the country. The event will include remarks by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania represented by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children and the Tanzania Police Force, as well as human rights activists, and the screening of the internationally acclaimed film “In the Name of Your Daughter”, followed by a Question and Answer (Q&A) Session with the audience.

“In the Name of Your Daughter” tells the story of some of the most courageous girls in the world; children in Northern Tanzania who are risking their lives to defy a pre-determined destiny and follow their dreams. These girls, some as young as eight, are running away from their homes to escape FGM. It is the story of Rhobi Samwelly, a strong Tanzanian woman living in Serengeti who has dedicated her life to ending FGM in her community.

However, despite the efforts of Rhobi and many others, the continued practice of FGM has been highlighted as an area of concern in Tanzania by major human rights treaties to which Tanzania is a signatory. This life threatening practice remains a ritual in many communities, and of concern is that it is increasingly practiced on girls under the age of one.

EU Head of Delegation, Ambassador Roeland van de Geer, and the High Commissioner for Canada, Ian Myles, will give the opening remarks at the event. Remarks will be delivered by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, as well as the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mary Nzuki, the Head of the Police Gender and Children Desks, who are on the frontline of the response to prevent FGM. The Canadian Director of "In the Name of Your Daughter", Giselle Portenier, will introduce the film and take questions together with human rights activist Rhobi Samwelly and lead film protagonists in the Q&A Session. The Deputy Country Representative of UNFPA, Dr Hashina Begum, will reflect on overall efforts to eliminate FGM in her closing remarks.

The organizers would like to acknowledge the support of the Tanzania Media Women’s Association in engaging members of the media to participate at this important event.
 
Status of FGM in Tanzania

United Nations Member States have committed to eliminating FGM by 2030 within the framework of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.  The 2030 Global Agenda makes an explicit and universal commitment to end violence against women and children in all its forms as part of an integrated agenda for investing in the protection and empowerment of women and children.  The National Plan of Action to end Violence against Women and Children (NPA-VAWC) 2017/2018-2021/2022 specifically addresses FGM as a traditional practice that harms women and children.

The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania criminalized FGM in 1998. Since then, the prevalence has decreased from 18 per cent in 1996 to 15 per cent in 2010 and to 10 per cent in 2016. Progress towards ending FGM is evident: Increasing numbers of girls are attending alternative rites of passage, and more cases are being reported to and investigated by the police as a result of awareness-raising and systematic training of police on FGM response and gender-based violence more broadly.

June 2018 global data from UNFPA, however, shows that population growth is jeopardizing progress made to date as the real number of girls at risk is growing.  Overall the observed reductions in FGM are not sufficient to offset the expected population growth. Ongoing efforts need to be accelerated to achieve meaningful impacts in eliminating this practice.

Elimination of FGM cannot and will not be achieved without a multi-stakeholder effort across a wide range of programmatic interventions.  Once the practice of FGM is ended in Tanzania, evidence from around the world indicates that it will never return. It will be a victory for the women and girls of Tanzania to keep.

Who is the EU Delegation in Tanzania?
The European Union and its 28 member states are committed to promote gender equality and women empowerment and are closely associated with the global movement to end FGM.  The EU recognizes that FGM lowers the quality of life for girls and women and impacts negatively on the 2030 Development Agenda. In Tanzania, the EU is supporting actors, including Plan International and Save the Children, to prevent and respond to FGM.

Who is UNFPA?
UNFPA Tanzania, as part of the One UN, is the lead agency supporting the Government of Tanzania to intensify efforts to end FGM within the context of the National Plan of Action on Violence against Women and Children 2017/18-2021/22. The UNFPA FGM programme engages relevant ministries and NGOs such as the Tanzania Police Force, Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF), and the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), among others.

Who is the High Commission of Canada?  
Canada’s government is committed to advancing gender equality, and empowering and protecting women and girls’ human rights at home and abroad. In line with Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy and Feminist International Assistance Policy, the High Commission of Canada prioritizes gender rights through its programmes in Tanzania. In addition to supporting local civil society organizations who are working to end FGM and child marriage, the High Commission of Canada has supported screenings of “In The Name of Your Daughter” globally, including in Northern Tanzania.

Who is the UK in Tanzania?
The UK has committed to tackle violence against women and girls, end female genital mutilation (FGM), and combat child, early and forced marriage both at home and abroad.  The UK has increased its resources to tackle violence against women and girls by more than 60 per cent in recent years. This includes the UK Department for International Development’s £35 million programme to tackle FGM and £36 million programme to end child, early and forced marriage. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is supporting women’s rights projects through the Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy across at least 28 countries with a total expenditure of £3,626,037 between 2016 and 2018.

Who is the Embassy of Ireland?
The Embassy of Ireland’s development cooperation programme is focused on health, agriculture, nutrition, good governance and human rights and has a strong focus on the rights of women and girls. It works with partners to promote transformative change that addresses the unequal power relations that prevent women and girls from participating in decision-making and from contributing to and benefiting from sustainable development.

Who is the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands?
Women's rights and gender equality are important goals of Dutch foreign policy. The world does not prosper when half of its population is left behind. Equal rights and opportunities are essential for development, prosperity and peace. The ultimate aim is a life free from discrimination and violence for women and girls, and a world in which they can realize their full potential. Inspired by the new Dutch policy note ‘Investing in global prospects’, the Netherlands ensures the inclusion of gender rights in its programmes.

Who is Alliance Française in Dar es Salaam?
Alliance Française de Dar es Salaam is a Tanzanian non-profit association operating with the support of the French Embassy. It is part of an international network of more than 1,000 Alliances Françaises worldwide. The Alliance Française in Dar es Salaam has two main missions: promoting the French language and offering free cultural activities (concerts, shows, conferences, exhibitions, projections, etc.) to facilitate cultural exchanges between French-speaking and Tanzanian artists.

For more information about the film: www.inthenameofyourdaughterfilm.com

Contact: Anna Holmstrom, Programme Analyst, UNFPA: holmstrom@unfpa.org +255 222163504, +255 (0)683501990