Girls’ Football Match to Boost Campaign Against FGM

By Mugini Jacob

Musoma Queens celebrate after beating Tarime Queens in a special anti- FGM match organised by Plan International, in collaboration with Children’s Dignity Forum. Musoma team was awarded 200,000/- while Tarime walked home with 100,000.

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TRADITIONALLY, the seasonal initiation ceremony is around the corner. This is the time when Kuria parents and guardians prepare their girls aged 13 years onwards to undergo a ritual, harmful as it is, so they may get a name in the community, recognising them as adults.

In essence, this means that some girls will have to drop out of school and join the ceremony, otherwise they will be cursed as outcasts.

However, with just a few days remaining before the next female genital mutilation (FGM) season sets in Tarime District, a girls’ football tournament has been held to enhance on-going campaigns against the archaic tradition in the district and other parts of Mara Region.

The tournament carrying the message “Saying No to FGM and Child Marriage” was held at Serengeti ground in Tarime town recently. The tournament involved girls’ football teams from Serengeti, Tarime and Musoma districts.

The girls and other stakeholders welcomed the use of sports in fighting FGM in the region especially at this time when reports say some communities are preparing for next FGM season.

“Sports will help to save some girls from undergoing the ritual, we thank the organisers of today’s match,” Rubi Maiko, from Musoma Queens football team told the ‘Daily News’ shortly after her team participated and emerged the winner of the game. Another player from Musoma Queens, Anna Nyandego said it was high time the people of Mara Region ended the weird practice.

“I advise parents to stop embracing outdated harmful cultures like FGM and they should also join this battle “, Anna who is also 19 year-old, said. Almost all districts of Mara Region have communities still practising FGM. They see FGM as an important culture and non-circumcised girls are sometimes discriminated from participating in important social events.

The use of sports in tacking FGM in Mara Region had been introduced by Plan International in collaboration with Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF) under an ambitious project that seeks to end FGM and child marriage in the region.

The project is funded by European Union (EU). Other partners taking part in the implementation of the EU funded project are Tackle Africa and Tanzania Football Federation (TFF).

Source: allafrica.com

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