Minister directs higher learning institutions to form gender desks

29Nov 2019
Polycarp Machira
The Guardian
Minister directs higher learning institutions to form gender desks

THE Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Minister Ummy Mwalimu has directed higher learning institutions in the country to establish gender desks, aimed at stopping sex violence at campuses.

Speaking while officiating at the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against GBV Campaign held at Jamhuri grounds in the country’s capital, she said such acts cannot be tolerated.

“Its really uncouth that sexual violence remains a problem in the country despite the government’s efforts to end the vice,” she said adding that authorities will not relent in the fight and ensure offenders are brought to book.

Her statement follows the recent series of criminal incidents at different universities, where lecturers have been accused of demanding sexual favours from students, mainly girls, to facilitate their passing of examinations.

She said recently, incidents of sexual violence were on the rise especially at higher learning institutions where female students find themselves in dilemma when their lecturers threaten them that they would fail if they don’t offer sex corruption.

It is due to the unending cases that she directed the managements of all higher learning institutions in the country to establish gender desks.

She argued that the desks will help in providing education to students as well as taking appropriate steps against perpetrators of sexual violence,’’ she said adding:

She applauded the University of Dodoma (UDOM), Vice Chancellor for recently admitting that there were such incidences at his learning facility.

However, the minister did cite this week’s case, where the Kisutu Resident Magistrates’ Court in Dar es Salaam on Monday sentenced an assistant lecturer with National Institute of Transport (NIT), Samson Mahimbo, to three years imprisonment for demanding a sexual favour from a student.

At the yesterday’s event, the United Nations (UN) expressed continued support to the Tanzanian government in support of efforts that continue to ensure that women and children are much safer from all forms of violence.

UN Women representative, Hodan Addou said that in partnership with other Development Partners (DPs), the civil societies and the private sector, the UN would reinforce its partnership with the government and remain committed to the successful implementation of the National Plan of Action to end Violence against Women and Children (2017-2022).

“We remain committed to continue supporting the effective implementation of laws, policies and other investments working to improve prevention and response to Gender Based Violence,” she noted.

She named them as Police’s Gender and Children Desks and collaborative efforts with traditional and religious leaders and men to champion social norms that negatively affect women and girls.

This year’s theme for an International Day for Violence against Women is Orange the World: “Generation Equality Stand Against Rape.” According to Addou, the theme reminds people of the disturbing far-reaching consequences of sexual violence on families, communities, countries and the future generations.

She paid tribute to the government for the unwavering commitment, which is demonstrated through national programmes that are pushing for an end to violence against women and children, and in particular, the recent efforts to make gender responsive budgeting a reality for the effective implementation of the National Plan of Action.

Statistics show that globally, one in three women are impacted by sexual violence, and an estimated15 million adolescent girls worldwide have experienced rape. In Tanzania, it is estimated that 17per cent of people are survivors of sexual violence.

Many years of research on rape and its effects have shown the harmful, and costly, impacts on the physical, psychological, social and economic well-being of survivors, and how if not prevented or left unpunished, can cause a lifetime socio-economic burden to countries.

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