Gender Based Violence, School Pregnancy Cases On The Rise In Tanzania

By Mugini Jacob

THE number of gender-based violence (GBV) and schoolgirl pregnancy cases in Tarime District, Mara Region, is reportedly alarming.

A police officer from the Gender and Children’s Desk from Tarime Rorya Regional Police Zone said this at a meeting held recently to assess the situation of GBV in Tarime.

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Pregnant and rape cases among schoolgirls are the major issues widely reported in the district, according to the officer.

“Cases of pregnant pupils have increased. For example, 17 cases of pregnancy involving schoolgirls have been reported in Tarime at this time of coronavirus (Covid-19) holiday,” Ms Hamidiki Omary from the Police Force’s Gender Desk at Tarime Office said. She added: “We believe the wave of pregnant schoolgirls will be high after classes resume.”

Tarime Town Council Social Welfare Officer Awaathe Mafgi said the reported cases of rape had also increased in recent months.

“We have received many rape cases. Some involve close relatives. It is a big problem,” the social welfare officer said at the meeting organised by Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF), a national non-governmental organisation working hard to end GBV acts and child marriage in the region.

The town social welfare officer gave an example of a case involving a girl who was a victim after she was reportedly raped by a stepfather.

 For her part, Ms Siwema Sylvester, the Social Welfare Officer in Tarime District Council (Tarime Rural) called for a prompt intervention to contain the situation before it got out of hand.

“There is a need for stakeholders to learn and do something to improve children’s protection in Tarime District,” Ms Siwema said.

The officials also said the coronavirus pandemic had helped to make GBV cases drop from courts due to lack of evidence.

“We lose cases in court due to lack of evidence. Witnesses do not turn up to testify,” she said.

A senior police officer from the Tarime Rorya Regional Police Commander’s Office, ASP Francis Nyanderere said the issue of witnesses not to go to court to testify over GBV cases was a big problem.

“Lack of evidence is not only a problem in Tarime but also in other places in the country,” ASP Nyanderere said when he was winding up the meeting on behalf of Tarime Rorya Regional Police Commander (RPC) William Mkonda.

CDF Executive Director Koshuma Mtengeti was represented by CDF Programme Manager Dorothy Ernest at the meeting.

Source: Daily News

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