Funded by the embassy of Finland, the three and a half year programme will focus on empowering young women and adolescent girls, including those living with disabilities, to uphold their right to live free from violence FGM and child marriage.
Jacqueline Mahon, UNFPA Representative in Tanzania said in a statement that the project activities will focus primarily on Mara and Shinyanga Regions, mainland Tanzania, and Zanzibar.
“Notwithstanding the progress and commitment by the government of the United Republic of Tanzania to tackle gender inequalities, gender-based violence remains a daily reality for many women. At the same time adolescence is also a period of increased vulnerabilities for girls," she said.
She noted that nationally one in 10 women are subjected to FGM in Tanzania, despite its criminalization, with Mara region reporting one of the highest FGM prevalence rates in the country at 32 percent. More than half of adolescent girls are married by the age of 18 in Mara and Shinyanga regions. Driven by persistent discriminatory norms, gender-based violence and harmful practices deny women and girls their rights, choices and chances to thrive, and are barriers to the realization of national and global development goals and sustainable and inclusive development.
“Every young woman and girl has within her possibilities that should flourish as she moves into adulthood, shaping her future and, with it, the world,” “UNFPA is committed to eliminating the obstacles that stand in the way of women and girls’ voices, choices, consent and equality. Their rights must be at the centre of the better and more equal world we have collectively promised to deliver,” Mahon said.
She explained that in Mara and Shinyanga regions, UNFPA will build girls’ and young women’s agency to uphold their rights to live free from violence, and realize their potential, by leveraging existing structures, including Adolescent Girls Clubs, and initiatives such as Alternative Rites of Passage to FGM.
In Zanzibar, the project will partner with faith-based leaders, who have been working with UNFPA as champions of ending gender-based violence for several years.
Young women and girls, including persons with disabilities, will drive programme activities, identifying community needs and solutions, while commitment to uphold young women and girls’ rights in project districts will be harnessed through extensive outreach at UNFPA-supported Community Knowledge Centres.