The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

How Mbulu residents get empowered to cut down cases of Gender Violence and Child Pregnancies

Incidences of Child Pregnancy in Mbulu District of Manyara Region have dropped from over 487 cases in the year which ended in 2022 to only 102 cases in 2023.

On the other hand, Gender and Sexual violence incidences have also been trimmed down from 380 cases that were recorded in 2022 to just 100 such reports as of 2023.

That was stated by the Mbulu Town Social Welfare Officer Tomic Simbeye, who also revealed that many families have also been improving their domestic incomes.

“In the past more than 50 households used to report at the social welfare office to be provided with subsidy allowances but today the number has dropped to less than 10 families,” explained Mr Simbeye.

The Social Welfare Officer was speaking during the awareness raising seminars held at the Mbulu Township, organized by the Tanzania Gender Networking Program (TGNP), through their ongoing Rural Women Cultivating Change Project.

Mbulu is one of the districts of Northern Tanzania that have been notorious for cases of child pregnancies, gender and sexual violence as well as economic violence against women.

Such incidents, according to participants during the seminar, have been ignominious in the precinct because most cases used to go unreported.

That is because many victims have been suffering in the hands of close relatives and matters solved or hushed, at family levels.

Some casualties have also been losing lives leaving no traces or evidence to enable the perpetrators to be prosecuted.

But now local communities have been empowered to report such incidences.

“Gender Violence cases are on the decline in Mbulu, because there are toll free hotlines for people to report all incidents,” stated Mr Simbeye.

He added that also through the Mama Samia Legal Aid Campaigns many people in the 17 wards of Mbulu have been assisted to secure their rights and solve most legal challenges free of charge.

“Through the Mama Samia Legal Aid Campaigns we have been able to address matrimonial problems, family conflicts, cases of property heritage and gender violence,” explained the Social Welfare Officer.

He said at the moment Mbulu is facing problems of Female Genital Mutilations among local girls which is what his office is working to address.

Most incidents occurring in rural villages go unreported as victims are either afraid to be labelled, stigmatized or the culprits happen to be feared people or close members of the family.

On her part the Policy and Program officer of Tanzania Gender Networking Program, Rogathe Loakaki explained that their initiative is to provide voice to the previously voiceless victims of gender violence in rural parts of Tanzania.

She added that the TNGP implements the ‘Women Cultivating Change Project’ in the three mainland regions of Manyara, Morogoro and Kilimanjaro.

“In realizing the goals of empowering rural women to advocate for change in society the TNGP works alongside the Civil Organization Society known as PELUM Tanzania which is based in Morogoro region..”

“..in Manyara, the program focuses mostly on Babati and Mbulu District,” she said, adding that the project is executed with support from Global Affairs Canada through Seed Change.

“We work to empower the communities to solve their own problems using the available local resources,” she added.

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