EU,TZ organizations join forces to combat FGM

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NO EXCUSE WHATSOEVER CAN JUSTIFY FGM: Ambassador Filberto Sebregondi, EU Head of Delegation in Tanzania

The European Union and Plan International-Tanzania (international children-centered organization) have launched a joint project aimed at stemming the increasing tide of Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation as an example of how countries across the Africa and the world should prioritize the scourge.

The two year EUR 359, 903 (TZ shs800 m) project was commenced in conjunction with Children Dignity Forum (CDF), Tackle Africa and Tanzania Football Federation (TFF).

Speaking at the launching Ceremony Friday in Dar es salaam, Ambassador Filberto Sebregondi, EU Head of Delegation affirmed the union’s commitment to continue promoting gender equality and women empowerment in the country.

He said the EU takes into account that neither custom, nor tradition, nor culture, nor privacy, nor religion or so-called honour can be invoked to justify any form of violence against women and girls.

“Nor can any of that be used as an excuse by states to avoid their obligations to prevent and eliminate violence against women and prosecute perpetrators,” he said.

The EU ambassador said gender equality and women empowerment were among the main pillars for development and that the project which will specifically focus on Tarime, Mara region will be a catalyst in efforts to prevent child marriage and FGM practices in high risk communities in the country.

At least 1300 young adolescent girls aged (10-18yrs), 100 FGM women victims, 200 boys, 150 community leaders and 20 gender desk police officers will benefit from the project.

Plan International-Tanzania Country Director Jorgen Haldorsen said the overall goal is to reduce the incidence of child marriage and FGM in Tarime especially to empower girls and strengthen community initiatives toward FGM and Child Marriage fight.

“The national child marriage average stands at 37 percent whereby 2 out of 5 girls are married before they rich 18 years. Mara has the third highest rate of child marriage in the country at 55 percent and with FGM rate standing at 40 per cent.”

Children Dignity Forum Director Koshuma Mtengeti expressed gratitude to the new effort that will see new partners collaborating to end child marriage and FGM practice in Tarime.

EU currently contributes over EUR 7 million (Over TZ Sh14billion) to projects that directly support women’s equal access to political and public life, vocational and employment opportunities, as well as ending violence against women and harmful traditional practices.