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Friday, 16 August 2019

TANZANIA MOBILIZES TO STOP FGM

Former South African First Lady, Ms Graca Machel greets and congratulates young girls saved  from undergoing FGM by ATFGM Masanga  in 2014.  Ms Machel is accompanied by Bishop Michael  Msonganzila  of  Roman Catholic Diocese  in Musoma .

By Jacob Mugini in Tarime.


Come December, it is expected that about 600 girls are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) in the Tarime District of Mara Region.

Efforts to save those girls from the procedure have begun. Preparations are being made by the Tarime-based Association for the Termination of Female Genital Mutilation (ATFGM) Masanga to educate the girls and provide support.

“We are informed that the Weirege clan of Kurya tribe are planning to have FGM season by the end this year, and we are asking girls to escape to our centre (camp) or to the nearest police station whenever they see any signs of being subjected to forced FGM,”  ATFGM Projects Manager Valeria Mgani said.
Girls who are at risk can also report to the village executive officers (VEOS), or call ATFGM Masanga directly for immediate help, he said.

The association is expected to receive and save 300 girls on the Kenyan side in Migori County. “This year will have two camps, one in Tanzania and the other one in Kenya  and we expect to receive more than 900 girls on both sides,” Mr Mgani said. 

ATFGM Masanga , he said has this year widely conducted anti-FGM campaigns in schools in the Tarime district and Migori county in Kenya.

As a result, he said, many girls are now are aware of the harmful effects of the practice, and they will say no to FGM, thanks to all partners supporting the anti-FGM education in the area .

children carry placards with anti- FGM messages during an event organized by ATFGM Masanga
Since the association started the rescue centre in 2008, over 3,000 girls have been saved from undergoing FGM. Key partners supporting the initiative include United National Population Fund (UNFPA), Terre des Hommes and Daughters of Charity.

There are reports that the rate of FGM cases has declined in Tarime district following ongoing campaigns by the government in collaboration with local and international organizations. While FGM is illegal in Tanzania, some communities still consider the ritual an important part of their culture.
ATFGM Masanga Director Sr. Stella Mgaya urges Kurya traditional elders in Tarime  to support anti- FGM campaigns
Tarime is one of the districts in Mara region with high cases of FGM, despite ongoing campaigns by local and international organizations to stop it.  The practice subjects girls to severe pain, both during and after the cutting. 

 Experts warn that it also results in  other health complications, such as fistula. FGM is also cited to be the source of early marriage and massive school dropouts among schools girls.


 
Women celebrate at an anti-FGM event in Tarime

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