THE Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has significantly dropped in Tarime District from 72 to 32 per cent, thanks to an on-going campaign aimed at ending this despicable practice in the district.
Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Faustine Ndugulile, who was in Tarime for a visit on Friday commended the campaign, saying he hoped FGM would soon be history in Tarime and other parts of Mara Region.
"Reports show that FGM cases have dropped from 72 to 32 per cent. This is a good beginning and I believe we would be eliminating the remaining per cent by 2020," Dr Ndugulile said during a crucial meeting he held with key organisations working with the government to combat FGM and other gender-based violence and violence against children acts in the region.
The organisations are Plan International, Children's Dignity Forum (CDF) and Association of Termination of Female Genital Mutilation (ATFGM) Masanga.
Ms Kambibi Kamugisha from CDF read a joint report to the Deputy Minister showing remarkable achievements that the organisations had registered in their campaign that also sought to end child marriage and teenage pregnancy in the area.
The campaign had widely reached various groups, including schoolgirls and boys, traditional and religious leaders through awareness meetings, school and out of school clubs.
"Plan International," she said, "has also supported child protection teams and assisted 160 young women and girls, who are victims of FGM and child marriage to establish small income generating activities after they underwent training on entrepreneurship."
Besides empowering gender-based violence victims economically, she said CDF had provided capacity building training to police officers working at children and gender police desks and other officials responsible for protecting the rights of children and helping some girls to go back to school through Complementary Basic Education of Tanzania (COBET) or Memkwa in Kiswahili.
The Deputy Minister congratulated the organisations for the work well done, saying the government wished to see the image of Mara Region changing to be positive instead of continuing to be damaged by outdated practices that contributed to making the region lag behind in development.
"Congratulation and I believe there will be fewer cases of FGM this year and I don't know why practices of this kind are still happening," Dr Ndugulile said.
The Deputy Minister said Mara was one of the regions in the country with high rate of gender-based violence cases.
He said 41,000 gender-based violence incidents were reported across the country in 2017 only, but insisted that the government was enhancing its measures designed to end gender-based violence acts.
He said about 500 gender and children police desks had been established across the country.
In addition to that, efforts are underway to establish one-stop centres that will be providing quick services to gender-based violence victims.
Thus, the Deputy Minister directed the establishment of one stop-centre in Mara Region immediately.