13 November 2017

Tanzania: Communities Team Up Against Early Marriages

AT long last the multicultural communities of Mbuguni ward in Arusha region's Arumeru have embraced the idea of waging war against early marriages and pregnancies.

Speaking at huge World Vision organised festival at Mbuguni Primary School grounds here, stakeholders appreciated the importance of the campaign to root out the rot.

Pupils from preschool to secondary schools moved the audience by their drama, poems and songs showcasing what transpire behind the curtain at homes, schools and on the streets or villages as adults seek to thwart girls' dreams in education.

They allegedly use simple things like mobile phones and food to seduce girls who easily fall to their traps. Pupils and students sent clear messages to the government and stakeholders to safeguard them by taking legal action against perpetrators of early marriages and pregnancies.

World Vision Nutrition and Child Protection Officer at Mbuguni Irene Mbando said the year-long campaign goes from school to school and at their cards are 10 primary and secondary schools, both public and private.

She noted that after launching the campaign, World Vision brought together teachers who spend most time with the children, raising awareness among them before proceeding to hamlet and village levels, targeting parents, guardians and other stakeholders. World Vision Manager Ngailo Eligius said Mbuguni has experienced more cases of child marriages and early pregnancies, with many victims dropping from school.

The organisation is now seeking to liaise with the communities so that they own the plan to rescue the girl child, saying going it alone is not an option for World Vision.

In her address on behalf of Meru District Executive Director, Ms Grace Elia thanked World Vision for joining the government in its war against early marriages, asking all stakeholders to join hands against the malpractices.

Ms Elia said the government was working towards addressing legal controversies to have harmonisation and settle the marriage age.

She challenged the communities to snub the outdated and harmful traditions and culture and instead embrace changes to ensure girls attain their educational dreams.

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