12 March 2018

Tanzania: Bus Drivers Warned Against 'Love Affairs' With Schoolgirls

WITH research showing an increase in sexual abuse to primary and secondary schoolgirls, activists have embarked on awareness campaigns to enlighten motorists, one of the groups that love having affairs with the students, putting some of them out of school.

The observation was made over the weekend at a seminar for commuter service operators, organised by the Dar es Salaambased Non-Organisation (NGO) WAJIKI which deals with among others, the fight against sexual abuse to school children and other minors.

WAJIKI Executive Director, Ms Janeth Mawiza presented that, her NGO had recently conducted surveys in Mwananyamala, Makumbusho and Kawe Wards' schools, wherein many students admitted to have been experiencing sexual violence abuse.

According to her, research results showed that offering free transport, plus a small amount of cash were commuter bus and motor vehicle operators' approach to hook the minors, said Ms Mawinza.

"They end up in sexual affairs which lead in to an increase of early pregnancies and school drop-outs. Again, sexually transmitted diseases, including HVI/AIDS are obvious in such un-protected affairs," she said.

For her side, Director for Gender in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Magreth Mussai said that the fight against sexual abuse to schoolgirls are for everybody in the society given that moral decay seemed to be among of main causes. She urged parents to set time, specifically talking to their children on early sexual affairs negatives; complaining that many parents do prioritise cash-earning activities and completely abandon their core-parenting tasks, ethically.

She also praised 'no public school re-entry' order by President John Magufuli; explaining that the order awakened parents' response towards sexual abuse fight, basing on the fact that most (parents) are financially weak, couldn't support private education to their girl-child.

Ms Mussai went on that crises violence including sexual corruption have human costs-physical and scaring impacting over-all quality of life; adding that: "In additional, it also has a significant economic cost.

Globally, economic impact and cost of physical, emotional and sexual violence against children are between three and eight per cent of a global Gross Domestic Products," she said.

In Tanzania, according to her, containing violence in general is estimated to cost over $6.5 billion. Commuter bus operator, Mr Elisha Isiaka admitted existence of sexual corruption to schoolchildren but commended law enforcers accountability as a 30-jail term sentence punishment was a serious threat to sexual abuse perpetrators.

Legal authorities' seriousness, plus government and activists' endeavours, especially for public awareness campaigns might be top solutions against gender based violence; he recommended.

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