20 November 2012

Tanzania: Girls Flee Homes Over Forced Circumcision

Mara — SOME girls have started fleeing their homes fearing that they might be forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) this season, in the Northern Tarime District of Mara Region.

Children Dignity Forum (CDF), a local NGO that has been on the forefront of anti-FGM awareness campaigns in Tarime in recent years, confirmed the reports yesterday.

"Last week, there were three girls who fled from Masurura and Kitaguti villages about 60 km to Tarime town and they spent two days on the way," the CDF Mobilizing Actions to Safeguard Girls Rights Coordinator, Mr Joram Wimmo, said.

"We are making arrangements to send the girls to Masanga where there is a rescue centre," the official added. There is fear that about hundreds of girls mostly school children are line-up for circumcision in the entire Tarime District of Mara Region.

FGM is illegal, according to the law. The organization strives to cut the number of girls lined-up for circumcision this season (November and December) in the area. Mr Wimmo also said the NGO is getting support from the police gender desk at the Tarime Special Regional Police Zone.

A few weeks ago the NGO conducted an anti-FGM public dialogue that brought together key stakeholders such as girls, female circumcisers, parents, local, religious and traditional leaders.

They are also going through Tarime rural villages conducting meetings to deliver anti-FGM messages in the area, according to Mr Wimmo. Under the project, CDF is also creating awareness campaigns against child marriages and early pregnancies in various parts of Mara Region.

The NGO is getting technical support from Forward (UK) and sponsored by COMIC Relief also from the UK.

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