Over 50 women practising female genital mutilation (FGM) in Iramba District, Singida Region, have finally abandoned it thanks to a five-year effective strategic campaign.
Iramba District Social Welfare Officer Hezron Msule said the campaign, which started in 2000 to 2005 led Nyilamba people to abandon FGM.
According to a survey conducted by The Guardian in collaboration with the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (Tamwa), only few people practising it most of them are from neighbouring districts and regions.
Msule said the government’s campaign was supported by the World Vision and Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Network (AFNET).
“The campaign, which lasted for five years, has been a great success because FGM is no longer practised in our district,” he noted.
Msule explained that people, who were practising it fled to unknown destinations and those remaining in the district were given capital to establish other income generating activities.
Iramba District Commissioner (DC) Grace Mesaki said FGM had become history in their area.
“I started working in Iramba District in 2006 but I have never heard of FGM. The Nyilamba people have changed,” said Mesaki.
Elizabeth Mkumbo from Lunsanga Village in Mtenkente Ward said FGM was believed to be traditional beauty and at least five girls were undergoing it every month.
“Women have decided to stop FGM as many girls were dying due excessive bleeding,” she said.
Mtenkente Ward Council member Elias Shani said girls were now happier as FGM had been abandoned in the area. He said most of the people had no good reasons for practising it only that they considered it as a long time tradition.
Rebeca Mpinga from Kisiriri Village in Kisiriri Ward said the Nyilamba people were no longer undergoing FGM.
Village Executive Officer Amani Yumbya said they had succeeded in ending FGM through seminars. He noted that during the seminar plays were performed and villagers saw how FGM was practised and how women got complications during delivery and sometimes ended up dying.
Lunsaga Village Executive Officer Ramadhani Ilunde said they had successfully managed to eliminate FGM in their area.
Nguvumali Village Executive Officer Elisha Makala said the problem was serious in the past but now more people feared to be arrested.
Acting District Medical Officer Dr Jabir Juma said most girls undergoing risked HIV/Aids because they used same equipment.