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Sex coercion or sex corruption?

In the last two years, we have heard a new terminology in our country, one that seeks to define sexual coercion as sexual corruption. Sexual coercion, when a person woman or man is being forced to engage in unwanted sexual acts is a form of corruption; however, encapsulating sex coercion in sex corruption limits the...

Notes on Gender Based Violence

In the photo (foreground) Gender Justice Activist Professor Ruth Meena of the TGNP makes a point against GBV Article 1 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights says “Every individual must be entitled to equal protection of the law.” Tanzania has inherited the English legal system though it sometimes works parallel to customary...

Being a Feminist

THE MAINSTREAM often has this image of feminists as a bunch of mustachioed; shouting until hoarse; man hating women. However, the reality is far from this stereotype. Most of the feminists I know, Yours Truly included, are ordinary, feminine women, with ordinary, feminine characteristics. We wear make up; fall in love with that macho...

Strategies to Confront Gender Based Violence GBV

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a grave reality in the lives of many women in Tanzania. It results from gender norms and social and economic inequities that give privilege to men over women. There is a mounting recognition in Tanzania of gender discrimination and gender equity in different facets of life. This awakening includes a...

Elimination of Discrimination against Women in Tanzania

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women met on February 26, 2016, in Geneva and considered the combined seventh and eighth periodic reports of Tanzania on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women CEDAW. Presenting the reports, Modest J. Mero, Permanent...

UNYAGO Puberty rites

UNYAGO, or puberty rites, was brought to the coast of Tanzania by Ngindo; Manyema; and Nyasa; migrant ethnic groups in the early 19th century but as a practice, was confined to African peoples until the late 19th century when it was adopted by the Swahili coastal community and incorporated in Swahili culture as an...

Domestic Workers

DOMESTIC WORKERS are the least respected and least exposed working group of women though their contribution to the economy is substantial.  Though they are in the periphery as a labor force, they enable professional women to have the time to engage in practical pursuits to further their careers. They are the ones who spend...

The Kinondoni Files

The Social Welfare Department in the Kinondoni District Commissioner’s office receives an average of 120 domestic violence cases per month. Over 45 per cent are new cases while the rest are ongoing cases. BAKWATA, the National Muslim Council of Tanzania, receives an average of 11 new domestic violence cases per month. The Tanzania Assemblies of...

The Rights of Women in Islam

BISMILLAHI RAHMAAN, RAHIM  In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, and the Most Merciful MANY issues are brought to light of the atrocities committed against Muslim women on the mistaken belief that it is an Islamic prescription. This is in contrast to the fact that the Koran strongly condemns all forms of oppression...

Tanzania needs Domestic Violence Legislation

Domestic Violence is a violation of Human Rights.  Violence directed against women by their intimate partners which is known as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is an epidemic of global proportions with devastating physical; emotional; financial; and social effects; on women, children, families, and communities around the world. The definition of Domestic Violence needs to...

Rejoice!

SONG AND DANCE are two mediums of communication that women have used the world over as a way of expression. Indeed, the poetry of movement; the lyrics; the lilting melodies of many of our songs have been perfect vehicles for putting together our thoughts; aspirations; triumphs; sadness; displeasure; and love. Through song and dance,...

He is in Love………..

HE IS CONSUMED by a passionate fire which has engulfed his entire life; his entire being. He is faithful. In fact, he has always been in love with one person. He spends hours gazing at that person, never getting tired. He admires the person’s wit; the person’s charm; the person’s savoir faire. When he...

When Polygamy Backfires

THERE IS NOTHING women dread most than to hear their husbands announce “I’m getting myself a second wife”. Polygamy though tolerated in many ethnic groups in Tanzania, is the stuff that nightmares are made of for the women, not only for the first wife, but the subsequent ones as well! However, there is a...

Stories of Empowerment

Surviving HIV I AM A SURVIVOR. This story is about life, not about death. My name is Sikudhani. I’m 48 years of age. I’m a person living with HIV (PLHIV). I have been living with HIV/AIDS, by living I mean I have been living with the HIV Virus, for the last 25 years. Most...

Three generations of women Beggars

MY NAME IS TUMAINI. My mother called me Tumaini, Hope, thinking that my birth would improve her lot in life. It did not! All members of my family are beggars. My two aunts; my cousin Wema; my little brother Nyau; and all our friends here in Dar es Salaam are beggars. We survive by...

Who Should be Responsible for CHILDCARE in Tanzania?

Childcare has been invariably defined as a process which requires proper manipulation of the child’s environment and needs before birth, early childhood, pre-school age, school-age and teenage. This is essential for the physical, mental, psychological and social development of the child. It is a dynamic process of physical, emotional, intellectual and social growth and...

STOP Trafficking of Women and Girls

Anecdotal evidence as well as formal research seems to show that the practice of trafficking in women and girls is increasing in Tanzania, and thus we should no longer hide our heads in the sand and pretend this constituency does not exist. Current interventions among women and girls who engage in the sex trade,...

Tanzania Urgently Needs a Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy

SEXUAL and Reproductive Health encompasses health and well-being in matters related to sexual health; sexual relations; pregnancies and birthing Rights. It deals with the most intimate and private aspects of people’s lives, which can be difficult to write about and discuss publicly. As a result, the public misunderstands many sexual and reproductive health matters....

The Best of Both Worlds

Having the best of both worlds is what all married women who work strive for. A successful, well paid career on the one hand and a happy marriage with a well-oiled home and healthy children on the other hand. “However, since most of us are not ‘Super-women’, we fail to attain the dream and...

Quotes from Feisty Ladies

“Women have the inner power to accomplish anything we set out to do. It is patriarchy which prevents women from reaching our full potential. Isn’t it time that we dismantle patriarchy and put in place a gender responsive culture” Amina Mama, Feminist Activist     “Eti ngwinji atambe! Atambie kitu gain?” Siti Khadija Kopa,...

Hidden Voices of HIV/AIDS

TANZANIA has been ‘living with HIV/AIDS for 34 years’! There is an entire generation of young people who were born in the wake of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and this generation has not experienced a world without HIV/AIDS. To them, the two words- HIV and AIDS are a fact of life which they have had...

The Mtwara Files

The Mtwara Files were compiled by this writer after conducting research in Mtwara Urban in 2009-2010 on the Impact of Intimate Partner Violence IPV on household incomes, for REPOA which was coordinated by Alice Nkhoma and Mary Rusimbi, both strong feminists and research coordination specialists Sexual Harassment and Rape From the files perused at...

Violence against Women VAW

Findings in Kinondoni district, Dar es Salaam The Social Welfare Department in the Kinondoni District Commissioner’s office receive an average of 200 domestic violence cases per month. Over 45 per cent are new cases while the rest are ongoing cases. The National Muslim Council of Tanzania, BAKWATA receives an average of 16 new domestic violence...

Mind your own business

Ever thought of starting your own business? Working for yourself is an attractive proposition – you decide what to do and when, and you can work in a field of your interest and in which you excel! It also means saying goodbye to a structured routine and a regular income; moreover, you’ll find yourself...

Cervical Cancer can be avoided!

Every year, an undisclosed number of women die of a disease that is totally preventable, and in its early stages, totally curable. Deaths from this disease in women below the age of 45 have doubled in the past 10 years. Well before the disease takes hold, doctors know how to identify those women who...

Women and the Right to Vote

ON OCTOBER 25, this year 2015, Tanzanians will go out to polling stations to cast their ballot. Come rain or shine, Tanzanians will go out to vote.  The right to vote is the most important and fundamental in our list of Basic Rights. It bestows on us the right to elect public servants to...

The International Day of the Girl Child

IN TRADITIONAL AFRICAN SOCIETIES, when a boy child is born, it is a time for celebration; rejoicing; gifts for the mother; festivities; slaughtering of the goat to herald  the arrival of a warrior; ululating; and songs on the prowess of the father for spawning a lion. With great pride and aplomb, the birth of...

World Peace Day

SEPTEMBER 21 has been designated the International Day of Peace. It was in 1981 that the UN passed a Resolution to have the International Peace Day, which was commemorated for the first time globally, on 21, September, 1982. The slogan for the 2015 World Peace Day is “Partnerships for Peace, Dignity for All”. As...

Breast Cancer Awareness, October

ONE IN 8 WOMEN will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Most of those one in 8 women should be able to survive breast cancer, with early detection and treatment. However, in developing countries, specially in Southern Africa, most of those 8 women would not have the awareness or skills on self examination for unusual...

Defending the Defenders

Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) tend to be invisible and their safety is never taken in account in Tanzania, yet, we, the women human rights defenders exist and we often put our safety and sometimes, our lives at stake when we stand on the frontline to defend human rights and social justice, not knowing...

HIV and AIDS- The Moral Dilemma

In the photo, Retired President, Ali Hassan Mwinyi (in the center) lights a candle on World AIDS Day TUMAINI, a pretty young lady of 22, who has bright eyes, a wonderful smile, and a charming disposition, is a Person Living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV). No, Tumaini did not get HIV infection through sexual...

The Wonders of the Kanga

A kanga is regular piece of cloth, which has a border running around all the four sides and has a central motif often depicting a flower. What make the kanga different from other African print cloth are the proverbs that are printed on the lower part of the cloth and which are always boxed....

WOMEN AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Violence against women both domestic and sexual and discrimination at work places, women’s multiple responsibilities and their poverty, are just a few of the glaring examples that are cited here and which African countries have ratified Human Rights Charters have failed to observe or have violated shamelessly. Most national development plans relegate women to...

Prevention is the best option on sexual harassment

Despite the enactment of the Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act, 1998, Sexual Harassment continues to be most perpetrated crime against women. In the workplace, Sexual Harassment often includes threats, bullying, intimidation and emotional abuse. Tanzania has made strides in enacting SOSPA 1998 but much, much more needs to be done to protect women, especially...

Corny chat-up lines Are unwanted like the floods!

*          “I want you to have my baby” from a strange man with bad breath at a cocktail party. *          “Is that locket made of gold?” said an office mate while delving inside her brassiere.   *          “I will marry you”, upon being introduced. *          ”I know you are dying for IT” from the...

Men, Men, A-Men!

You’ll know your man is cheating on you when   *   You hear him whispering into his cell phone in the bathroom   *    His phone rings and when you answer they cut off and the number is not shown on the screen.   *    There are lipstick marks on his...

Women in the Informal Sector

Photos by: Charles M. Kayoka WOMEN in the informal sector want to get training on building group dynamics; advocacy; human rights; and basic legal literacy; which would give them the skills to lobby for a gender progressive National Loans Policy.   They hope this would be a Regulatory Mechanism for women to get access to soft...

WOMEN WHO CHEAT

An estimated 7 to 12 percent of married women have had an extra marital affair at least once in their married life in Tanzania. In contrast, it is estimated that between 450 and 60 percent of married men have cheated on their wives. That is to say, more men compared to women get involved...

VOICES OF WOMEN

TRADITIONAL TANZANIAN SOCIETIES ARE SEGREGATED.  The practice is more pronounced and entrenched among rural communities of Tanzania where traditionally, interaction between the two sexes is structured and limited. There are clear demarcation lines separating what is designated male and what is designated female.  This includes work; socialization; and ownership of resources.  Tradition in rules,...

SEXUAL HARASSMENT -The Silent Crime

In definition, sexual harassment means “unwanted sexual attention”. It can take the form of direct verbal proposition; it can be in the form of direct physical contact like groping, touching of hair, bottom or breasts. Or it can take form through crude language about women’s anatomy, backbiting with intent to defame, showing of women’s...

SAMPLE OF SCHOOL PREGNANCIES: 2006-2009 MTWARA REGION

2006  2007 2008 – JANUARY-FEBRUARY, 2009 Interventions taken on schoolgirl pregnancies 2008-2009   SAMPLE OF SCHOOLGIRL PREGNANCIES MTWARA DISTRICT, MIKINDINI AND MANISPAA   What needs to be done to reduce schoolgirl pregnancies? In consultation with CSOs working on the elimination of Gender Based Violence we need to develop a National Initiative to develop strategies to...

END GIRL CHILD MARRIAGE

Photos by :Charles Mustapha Kayoka NEEMA was married off at age 13 to a man of 62 who has two other wives. Her father was approached by the man who became her husband, after the man saw Neema on her way to fetch firewood for her mother. That same evening, the man, whom Neema...