The 2013 UN International Women's Days has come and gone, providing women throughout the world with a platform to air their voices on various aspects including their rights.
Tanzania, just like any other country, joined in marking the event as women from all walks of life thronged various designated areas to make sure that they contribute to the cause. Thousands of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women's groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day.
And, many groups around the world choose different themes each year relevant to global and local gender issues. Though this year's commemoration can be considered a success, the celebrations came at a time when women are fast becoming an endangered species. Gender-based violence among other issues continues to rock women as they continue to suffer at the hands of their loved ones.
The fight against GBV has not only intensified worldwide, as various organizations join hands in educating the public on the dangers of the social anomaly, but has also reached an advanced stage where different ways and means are used to fight such.
And of late, the Tanzania Youth Alliance (TAYOA) announced recently that they are on the verge of introducing a communication system, to be used by youths all over the country, aimed at stamping out gender violence. The organization has scored a first in the sector as the system enables youths to send reports of violence against them through texting messages on their mobile phones.
This was revealed, over the weekend, by the TAYOA Resident Director, Mr Peter Masika, at a meeting involving youths from 12 universities in Dar es Salaam and Coastal zone. Mr Masika said the communication system known as 'VIJANATZ SMS' is on trial at the moment and will be in full use in the next three months.
He said the communication system will enable youths and the public in general to send reports when they become victims of gender violence, adding that they can also make free calls to TAYOA where they will be counselled. The move by TAYOA is commendable as it does not only give the opportunity to the youths to participate in curbing the problem, but will also give an opportunity for the concerned authorities to monitor the extent of GBV in the country.
The best way to tackle GBV is to involve the youths who are future leaders. This is so because despite the efforts by governments and NGO's to tackle the problem, it seems as if no end is in sight for it, and as long as the root cause of it is not addressed, then woman shall remain victims of the society's creation.
Violence in homes, especially when parents fight in front of their kids is one of the problems fueling GBV because the mere sight of these ugly scenes will affect the children for the rest of their lives. Some of them will see it as a way of life, while others will turn violent and aggressive in self denial and a few of them will hate it. It is unfortunate that no solution seems to be in sight for the eradication of GBV because it is deep rooted in culture and male chauvinism.
And, there are cases where the tables are turning on men, when the hunter becomes the hunted. This is when men become the victims of GBV. There is a considerable number of men who are suffering at the hands of their loved women. But, it doesn't make it better because the tables have turned.
What is important is for the society to get rid of this cancer once and for all. But in doing this, it is vital that the society uses all means possible to make sure that the problem is solved. The TAYOA initiative is one such step of which when supported can mark a watershed in the history of the problem.
This is so because the system will be used to evaluate the extent of gender violence in the country, to make it easier for victims to communicate their plight to the organization and make it easier to apprehend culprits. Therefore, unity of purpose is needed if ever the world has hopes to make an end to the problem.