Tuesday 27 December 2022

Anti- FGM NGOs in Tarime a total failure, they only eat donors' money

By a Correspondent

In today’s Tarime there is a horde of NGOs, purporting to be defenders of the rights of women and children and human rights in general.

But on the top of the list are those that identify themselves as the champions of the rights of the girl child, anti-gender based violence, (GBV) aiming at ending outdated traditions, especially Female Genital Mutilation ( FGM).

As usual, those in the service of the NGOs identify themselves as activists who loathe the acts of GBV against the girl child. The tradition mainly being attacked is FGM which is inherent in Kurya communities.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that the so-called activists receive billions of shillings from donors outside Tanzania, for educating society on the negative consequences of FGM and why it is important to do away with it.

Understandably, FGM is harmful to girls and women if not to society as a whole. It’s one of outdated cultural practices in the world.

However, it shocks many to see that FGM is still rampant in Tarime district, even with the presence of so many NGOs, receiving hefty funds from foreign donors to fight against this practice.

A living example is this year’s FGM season, I mean this very month of December, when in Tarime district, boys and girls have undergone circumcision in broad daylight. It’s no longer done in secret!

We would expect that the targeted girls, many of whom are students, would have received sufficient education on the bad effects of FGM and would thus be courageous enough to say “No to FGM”. Sad to say the opposite is the truth. People continue to celebrate this outdated tradition just as they did when we did not have these NGOs and activists in the district.

In actual fact, if education against FGM was provided in an orderly manner, by integrating all groups key to this tradition, including tribal elders, parents and even the circumcisers themselves, FGM would have greatly decreased instead of increased. This situation leaves many questions unanswered as to the competency of these NGOs in implementing their programmes.

Indeed, the continuing FGM practice in Tarime district, which has literarily been invaded by a swarm of activists, compels us to doubt their capability to provide anti- FGM education which would enable people to abandon their outdated customs.

These activists have many years of presence in Tarime district. We know that they get billions of shillings from donors, they drive posh cars and have very well equipped offices. Unfortunately, they have failed to curb FGM!

It is disheartening to note that these activists are not being monitored either by their donors or the government to ensure they have accomplished their anti-FGM missions. Many of them are just profiteers, using donor funds for personal gain.

While it is true that in today’s world of stiff economic competition, everyone is a fighter, what we are witnessing from the activists is no difference from dishonest and abuse of human rights.

To be honest, the anti- FGM crusade has been derailed and is now a personal way of soliciting money from donors which is not for educating communities so they may abandon this harmful tradition.

It is recommended that this issue should be followed up by the government and the donors themselves so the misconduct of these activists may be laid bare. Otherwise the donor funds will just end up in the wrong hands while the goal of persuading the Kurya community to abolish FGM remains unmet.

Maybe we should also admit the bitter fact that these activists do not want to see that FGM in Tarime is brought to an end because their wellbeing which results from activism against this practice would also cease.

If FGM is buried, it would be upon the activists to look for another challenge in society to get donor funds, a difficult thing to start indeed.

Still, the donors have an opportunity to take action against the faulty activists, instead of continuing to send billions of shillings to these beneficiaries who have miserably failed in their mission. Donor should look for other organs to help push their agenda.

Such organs could be religious organizations, government departments and the media, which have a proven experience in educating communities. If they could be empowered, they have a better chance of reaching out to communities because of proximity and language that is understandable to many.

It’s enough to say that seeing is believing. Many NGOs purporting to fight FGM in Tarime district are mere ghosts. They are a failure and are incompetent to say the least. I challenge anyone to come forward and prove us wrong!

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