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  • C-Sema Team

Conversations from this year's AGM with the Tanzania Network to End FGM.

Updated: Jul 1

Tarime, Mara.


In 2024, the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) continues to gain momentum, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Tanzania Network to End FGM. C-Sema has proudly been a part of this coalition for years, united by a deep commitment to protect girls and women through impactful awareness campaigns and community engagement.


The network's Annual General Meeting (AGM) is a crucial event for reflecting on progress, sharing insights, and strategizing for the future. It also provides an invaluable opportunity for stakeholders including community leaders and government officials to reinforce their dedication to ending FGM and plan coordinated efforts to overcome remaining obstacles.


This year's AGM took place in Mara, Tarime, with around 220 villagers, government leaders, and coalition members in attendance. Notable attendees included Ward Councilor Ms. Victoria Gerald Mapesa, District Councilor Mr. Waryuba Wakuru Mirumbe, the village chairman, and the head of police, Mr. Rashid Chamwi. Their presence underscored the importance of this issue and demonstrated a unified front against FGM.


The meeting kicked off with community engagement sessions in Serengeti and Sirari, strategically located at the Tanzania-Kenya border, that focused on addressing cross-border FGM, child abuse, and human trafficking. These sessions fostered mutual understanding and collaborative action among participants, emphasising the need for cross-border cooperation.


Mr. Godfrey Mpandikizi from the Anti-Human Trafficking and Legal Initiatives (TATLI) highlighted the severe exploitation of children used to pan handle in the streets, underscoring the critical need for united efforts to protect vulnerable children. His insights brought to light the urgent necessity of cross-border cooperation in combating human trafficking.


The conversation on FGM awareness was led by Mr. Bishangazi, who discussed the severe health risks associated with the practice and encouraged community members to abandon the harmful tradition. Ms. Getrude Bhene from the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) stressed upon the devastating effects of corporal punishment, abandonment, and sexual abuse on children, reminding the community of its role in protecting children's rights.


Ms. Gertrude Bhene (LHRC) engaging community members.


On the second day, coalition members gathered at Tarime’s District Hall. Chaired by Mr. S. Selasini and Vice-Chair Ms. Rhoby Samwel, the meeting reviewed ongoing efforts and strategized the network’s future actions. Members of the coalition spoke of the need for sustained funding and resources to support the network’s initiatives. They called for greater involvement from international organisations and donors, highlighting that the fight against FGM is a global issue requiring collective action. The impact of their work has been profound, showcasing the power of unity and determination in driving social change.


The AGM reinforced the coalition's commitment to  its cause and moving forward, the Tanzania Network to End FGM aims to intensify educational initiatives, community engagement, and legal enforcement to create a safer environment for all children and women in Tanzania.


The Tanzania Network to End FGM's work is a great reminder of what can be achieved through unity and determination. As the coalition looks to the future, their focus will be on expanding educational programs, strengthening community engagement, and enhancing advocacy efforts in order to continue making significant steps towards the eradication of FGM.


The lessons learned from this year's AGM and community gatherings will inform even more impactful work in the years to come. We are aiming for a future where every girl can grow up free from the threat of FGM, empowered to pursue her dreams and contribute to a more just and equitable society.

 

Prepared by the anti-FGM secretariate and compiled by C-Sema's communications team.

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