The Child Dignity Forum yesterday launched “Tanzania Ending Child Marriage Network” (TECMN) to lead the fight against early marriages in the country.
The Network of 20 non-governmental organisations was the highlight of the International Day of a Girl Child coordinated by Child Dignity Forum.
The Executive Director for Legal and Human Rights Center (LHRC) Helen Kijo Bisimba, who was the chief guest at the opening ceremony, said for a long time girls in the country have been denied their rights due to negative perceptions that girls were inferior in some areas.
She said some parents denied their girl children school because of greedy pursuit of dowry.
The Director of the Child Dignity Forum (CDF) Koshuma Mtengeti said the network reflected stakeholders’ efforts in fighting the problem.
Mtengeti said research reveals that many girls are married before age due to outdated cultures and traditions, while others are given away in return for property in the form of dowry.
The Director and the Coordinator of the newly established network Grace Mghamba called for amendment of the 1971 Marriage Act, which allows girls to get married before the age of 18.
They said the current Act denies a girl the right to education due to early marriage, noting that its amendment shall enable girls exercise their right to education.
Mghamba said that the establishment of the TECMN also marks an important step in the efforts to fight against early pregnancies.
She added that the newly established network should collaborate with other regional networks in order to make sure that its services reach all areas of the country.