She made the statement yesterday during the launching of the women safety project at tea plantations in Mufindi and Njombe implemented jointly by UN Women and Unilever Tea Tanzania (UTT).
Addou said the project is meant to strengthen, prevent and respond to sexual harassment and other forms of gender based violence (GBV) in Mufindi and Njombe.
She noted that the project is an awareness campaign aimed at strengthening Unilever’s Women’s Safety at work to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and other forms of GBV at the tea plantations and at areas surrounding Mufindi and Njombe.
The programme forms part of UN Women’s Global Flagship Programme: “The Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces,” that was launched in same year that UN Women was established in 2010.
“I a m glad that we are launching this two-year programme during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, which this year is observed under the theme: “Generation Equality Stands against Rape,” said Addou.
She said as the world commemorates the Human Rights Day that fall on 10th December every year, it reminds people to desist from discrimination, harming or denying each other provisions and opportunities that all human beings are entitled to in respect of human dignity.
This initiative by UN Women and Unilever Tanzania, follows a realisation that although violence against women in other domains such as at household level, is widely recognized as a human rights violence that occurs in public spaces, workplaces, is largely neglected despite its severe impacts on the wellbeing of women and girls.
The launched project targets 6,000 workers and their families in Mufindi and Njombe tea plantations and a total of 1,000 women smallholder farmers in the two targeted areas.
Addou expressed satisfaction with the support they continue to receive form the government through the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, local authorities, police, development partners, private sector, civil society organisations and various actors who are equally committed to progress towards ending violence against women and girls.
She said implementation of the women safety programme under an enabling environment is characterized by a strong political will, as reflected in the National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children.
Mufindi District Community Development Officer, Hatibu Bwashehe expressed gratitude towards Unilever Tanzania and UN Women for the commitment towards improving safety in workplaces that will go all-out to prevent and respond to violence against women.
He said the problem of violence against women is not only experienced in the Unilever tea plantations but is daily reality for significant number of women and children in Mufindi and Tanzania at large.
Bwashehe said the programme will be implemented in seven wards out of 27 in Mufindi district insisting the government will complement the remaining 20 wards.
He elaborated that GBV cases and problems relating to violence are still high, requiring collective effort from various stakeholders to overcome.
“The programme has come at the right time when there is a big challenge of GBV. We must ensure that women and girls are safe,” he said.
At national level, an estimated 40 percent of women aged between 15 and 49 have experienced physical violence while 17 percent are survivors of sexual violence, according to the Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS) 2015/2016.
Beyond Tanzania, one in three women has suffered sexual violence while an estimated 15 million adolescent girls worldwide have experienced rape.