HomeNewsTanzanian girls return home after fleeing genital cutting

Tanzanian girls return home after fleeing genital cutting


Some 643 Tanzanian girls who escaped female genital mutilation (FGM) in the district and gathered at one rescue centre, are expected to leave the camp soon.



Police Commander for Tarime Special Police Zone, Benedict Mambosasa, has ordered parents to immediately stop “cutting” their girls and failure to adhere to the directive would attract punitive action.

Minister for Labour and Employment Gaudensia Kabaka is expected to be the guest of honour during the occasion that is scheduled to be witnessed by many gender-based violence (GBV) activists.
The girls, majority of them hailing from Tarime villages, have camped at Termination of Female Genital Mutilation (TFGM) Masanga Centre for more than two months.

Several hundreds of girls have been mutilated in the district during the latest FGM season that was widely conducted in five clans of Kurya tribe in November and December last year. But, those who sought shelter at TFGM Masanga Centre managed to escape the outdated harmful culture, which exposes girls to severe pain and at times excessive bleeding.

The 643 girls camped at the centre with support of several organisations, including the Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF), a non- governmental organisation which donated 40 million shillings to support the initiative, according to the organisation’s executive director, Koshuma Mtengeti.
CDF has in recent years helped to enhance the campaign against FGM, child marriages and teenage pregnancies in Tarime and the neighbouring districts of Mara Region.

The organisation enjoys the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a major funder of anti-FGM programmes here.
The director of TFGM Masanga Centre, Germaine Baibika, confirmed that the girls will start leaving the centre this week, shortly after the ceremony.
“The Minister for Labour and Employment will be the guest of honour and some parents have started arriving ready to pick their children.
“What is important is protection of the girls after leaving the centre. I will be disappointed to hear that any one of the girls has been forcibly cut,” Baibika said.

The centre has since 2008 been providing alternative womanhood-education, thus saving many girls from being mutilated, each year.
Commander Mambosasa warned that anybody who will be found forcing the girls to be mutilated will be arrested and prosecuted.
“I have already been informed that there are threats coming from some people who want to cut the girls by force after leaving the centre.
“I have instructed my subordinates to make a follow-up and take action.

Anybody who will be found doing so will be arrested and taken to court,” Mambosasa told the Daily News when reached for comment.
FGM is illegal in Tanzania according to the law.

Many organisations including the Tanzania Media Women’s Association are concerned with ongoing FGM cases in Mara region despite what is seen as global efforts being made to stop the practice in the area.

Stakeholders in the fight against the longstanding custom of FGM have urged opponents of the heinous practice to collaborate more with the government to eliminate the obnoxious out-dated custom in Tanzania region, the tradition’s home for ages.
Tanga Inter-African Committee Imelda Hyera said Tanga is one of the regions in the country which has a big number of women undergoing female circumcision and that 25% of the women have been affected by the vice.

The statistics, she said, meant that today the situation would be even worse due to intermarriage and a bigger population following the immigration of people in Tanga region.

She said that despite the intensive training they conducted, the problem was still going on secretly because the circumcisers had devised another means of committing their evil actions by “cutting” infants just after delivery.

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