During 16 Days of Activism, Hope organised filmings and Road shows at Natta Village. Through this outreach it was possible to educate and to show the film to 430 people, while 605 people took part in the road show.
Particularly touching was the story of Neema. Our heroine Neema Chacha educated the public about the effect of FGM at Natta Village. We all admire her courage and her empowering words, which illustrated the danger of FGM. She said: “If a girl will undergo FGM she will be in danger of getting diseases like HIV because during cutting a cutter will share the same razor blade with many girls”.
Butiama and Mugumu safe houses receive girls who are fleeing from FGM. During cutting season, which usually happens in school holiday/vacation time to allow the girls time to ‘recover’, there is an increase in cases of FGM and this often leads to desperate girls escaping their families on foot, some to our safe houses. In Tarime, there are two main clans that are running the FGM practice, Wairege and Bamera.
During the latest cutting season, there was testimony from one girl who had to undergo an early marriage. She explained that she stopped going to school and got married when she was 16 years old, because her father wanted to get cows as a source of income. She gave words of inspiration for parents and girls, “People should stop thinking that girls are a source of income because by doing that many dreams of girls are killed.”
16 Days of Activism takes place annually from 25th November to 10th December. In 2019 6,000 organisations across 187 countries used this time to drive the call for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence. Rhobi Samwell and the Hope team participate in the campaign each year along with girls who have escaped to the Hope safe houses. This helps to educate those in the local community about the dangers of the practice of FGM and to give the girls a voice.
This year, Mugumu Police Officer Sijali Nyambuche educated those gathered about the Law on marriage in Tanzania, which states that a girl is supposed to get married only from 18 years of age, not earlier. This was an important message to share with the community and the audience which included men, women and children.
Following Siyali’s speech, our heroine Rhobi Mwita, shared her story on escaping FGM. It is important for everyone to hear stories like this, particularly in communities where FGM is still happening. It provides hope for young girls who may be concerned they will have to go through it too, but it also shows adults and parents that FGM needs to end and that girls and women are now standing up for their right to make decisions about their own bodies.
On Friday, a very special graduation took place at HGWT. Congrats to the girls who finished the course of entrepreneurship and tailoring at HGWT.
Our Guest of Honour for this graduation is the District Commissioner of Serengeti, Mr Babu. After an inspiring speech, he distributed tailoring machine and handed the certificates to girls who graduated today. Congratulations!
Here are girls from HGWT together with Inspector General of police Saimon Siro, Rhobi Samwelly and Director of UNFPA Tanzania Jackline Muhon, standing in front of a new office during of gender desk office inauguration at Serengeti last week.