They made the challenge in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday when speaking at the roundtable meeting on gender issues among Maasai communities, which was organised by non-profit organisation-- Internews as part of the implementation of the ‘Boresha Habari’ project aimed at empowering civil society and media with new skills.
The meeting involved editors and senior journalists from different media outlets in the country’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.
Namayani Lazier, an anti-FGM campaigner from Monduli District, Arusha Region said media has a big role to play to phase-out the practice which has negative effects on women’s health as well as shattering girls’ education.
“We have been campaigning against the menace for years, but we cannot reach where we want if the media is outside the fighting rim,” she said, stressing on the need for more awareness creation for communities condoning FGM.
Elizabeth Jama, is one of the girls who managed to run away from home when her father wanted her to undergo FGM and forced marriage.
A 21-year-old Maasai girl who graduated from a teachers’ training college in Arusha called upon the media practitioners to chip-in the campaign against abuse of women’s rights, particularly in the Maasai pastoralist communities.
She says her 13-year road to education had many potholes, windy and dusty, but she managed to break the myths and she is now a teacher by profession, something which becomes impossible for Maasai girls.
“My father attempted several times to circumcise me and forced me to marry a 60-year-old man, but I managed to escape,” Jama says, commending a non-profit organisation of Health Integrated Multi-sectoral Services (HIMS), for rescuing her to where she had reached.
Executive director of Health Integrated Multi-sectoral Services (HIMS)—an NGO operating in Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara and Mara regions, Mackrine Rumanyika also said that it was high time to invest in massive education on the negative impacts of the vice.
Internews Media and communications director, Wenceslaus Mushi, said the idea behind the five-year project (2017-2022) is to ensure that the voice of the voiceless is heard for swift socio-economic development.
He however said that more than 500 journalists will be trained across the country.
The project will focus more on rural-based journalists, particularly those working in community radios.