6 February 2012

Tanzania: Centre Sets Agenda On Gender Based Violence

A NATIONAL centre which will conduct research and publish information, statistics and documentation on Gender Based Violence (CBV) has been established.

The move follows the country's plan as well as call by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) in 2003 to member states in the Great Lakes region to strengthen action in favour of women and children living in conflict zones.

Opening a stakeholder's workshop on the establishment of the National Centre at the weekend in Arusha, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children Ms Anna Maembe said the Centre would be housed at Tengeru Community Development Training Institute (CDTI).

She said the centre was part of the implementation of resolutions made by forums that met between 2003 to 2009 and decided to establish national associate centres and a regional documentation centre headquartered in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"The National Associate Centres will function in the network coordinated by the Regional Centre and shall carry out joint researches on the regional themes with a view to exchanging information in matters related to women's rights and gender equality," she said.

Apart from Tanzania, other Great Lakes region members that would also establish national centres include DRC, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, Angola, Burundi and Central African Republic.

The Great Lakes region is historically characterized by strong customary practices and values which are largely responsible for existing structural and systematic inequalities that have placed women as marginalized members in the society.

The centre's coordinator who is also head of Research and Consultancy Department at CDTI Mr Verhan Bakari said his department would temporarily house the centre pending future arrangements to secure a permanent location.

He said about 1.6 million US dollars (about 2bn/-) would be needed to undertake major renovation of the centre's building including installing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) materials and office furniture.

"About 221,832 US dollars will be sourced locally while the remaining 1.38m US dollars will come from development partners, including United Nations agencies," he said.

The centre will also be entrusted to promote, publish and ensure access to research based information and data that will help policy makers, advocates and other key stakeholders in developing policies that promote the rights of women.

Ms Maembe told the 'Daily News' that the ministry has already made a request for the funds in the 2012/2013 financial year to facilitate the take off of the centre.

The Director of Gender Development at the Ministry Mr Meshack Ndaskoi said the centre would help trace various acts of gender violence citing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as one of them.

Of late, he said, Manyara Region was leading in FGM prevalence estimated at over 80 per cent followed by Arusha (over 70 per cent) and Mara (about 47 per cent) but reliable statistics were needed to show the magnitude of such cases in entirety.

The UNESCO Principal Programme Officer Ms Modesta Mwinula said the UN under the Delivery as One motive was ready to assist towards the establishment of the centre in collaboration with other development partners.

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