Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the country are in a process of forming an alliance whose aim is to end child marriages.
Plans to form the alliance were announced on Wednesday in Dar es Salaam at a workshop whose theme was ‘Girls, not Brides’. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was prepared for members of the movement to sign next week.
Addressing the workshop, Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF) executive director Koshuma Mtengeti said lack of clear statistics on the scope of child marriages and lack of political will were reasons for limited strategic interventions from the government and the CSOs.
“Now, it’s the right time for all civil societies to come together to end the serious problem of child marriages,” he said, adding early marriages affect girls’ health and education.
Mtengeti said the alliance would be launched officially in May this year.
Lenin Bazoba from the Tanzania Youth Coalition (TYC) said the formation of the alliance would help the beneficiary group and CSOs dealing with children matters.
He called for more efforts to bring together all CSOs addressing similar problems for efficiency as well as information and experience sharing. Bazoba said efforts being made by CSOs must be supported by religious leaders.
For his part, Helman Didas from Watoto Salama Organisation said poverty remain a key challenge towards addressing the problem of child marriages in the country.
He said that some people have been using their economic status to manipulate poor families by offering desperate parents money.
Organisations which participated in drafting the MoU for the alliance include TYC, Children Education Society, SOS Children Villages Tanzania, Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) and Women’s Dignity Project.
Others are Watoto Salama, Tanzania Media Women’s Association (Tamwa), Tanzania Women Lawyers’ Association (Tawla), Tukolene Youth Development Centre, Women’s legal Aid Centre (WLAC) and Kiota for Women's Health and Development (Kiwohede).