By: Mariam Oushoudada.
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is a violation of human rights that denies the human dignity of the individual and hurts human development. (UNHCR 2017).
In Tanzania, 40% of all women aged 15-49 years have experienced physical violence, while 17% have experienced sexual violence. The latter 44% have experienced either physical and or sexual violence by an intimate partner. Spousal violence is highest in rural areas, averaging 52% while the prevalence in urban areas averages 45%. Almost 30% of girls experience sexual violence before the age of 18. (www.worldbank.org 2022)
Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) in partnership with Seed Change under Global Affairs Canada conducted a Media Training Workshop on gender transformation to strengthen community media’s capacity to address and Cultivate Change on Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV). Specifically, the workshop was focused on sharing IMBC findings related to SGBV from Mamire ward in Babati District, Vumari Ward in Same District, and Rubeho Ward in Gairo
District; enhancing understanding and use of analytical storytelling to improve SGBV reporting. The three-day workshop which was held from 8th -10th September 2022 brought together 16 participants from Manyara, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Morogoro Regions.
Participants taking notes of the workshop proceedings
The workshop was facilitated by Dr Rose Reuben, the Executive Director of Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA). During her facilitation, Dr. Rose challenged journalists to dedicate themselves to writing compelling SGBV stories because SGBV cases poses a great risk to sustainable development. She further urged participants to explore SGBV stories from remote areas of their regions in order to bring to the attention of regional and international stakeholders for meaningful address and redress of the deplorable situation.
During the workshop, the participants were appraised with basic Gender and SGBV concepts, Fundamentals of Journalism, News-writing Skills and different Genres of writing such as article, column, creative writing, and script. They further learnt the dos and don’ts of Social Media Management and drafting Press Releases.
The participatory and interactive workshop that involved brainstorming and practical session enabled the participants to share the SGBV related challenges in their respective regions and this kind of workshop has transformed their reporting styles. A journalist and a cartoonist from Dar es salaam testified that in the past he used to depict women with large breasts and skinny legs. Pursuant to the media training conducted by TGNP has changed his mind-set. Henceforth his drawing has a gender sensitive eye.
Break away session on writing stories from a Gender sensitive eye.
Another participant shared how the ceremonies known as ‘Jando and Unyago’ led to multiple rape cases when the dances were conducted. Men who danced with the girls alleged that the girls’ consent to dance with them amounted to the willingness to sleep with them.
A participant from Manyara stated that just two weeks prior to the workshop, a lady was gang raped on her way home from a bar. There were countless cases of SGBV no sanctions instituted against the perpetrators because victims are painted as prostitutes.
Kilimanjaro Journalists reported a new tendency of men being assaulted by their partners/spouses. Women beat their husbands and due to the patriarchal system that deems men as stronger than their wives, victims of such beatings fail to come out and the open and report the same in the low enforcement authorities. It is alleged that the trend has evolved due to women having a higher income compared to men who mainly depend on the coffee plantation that with meager returns in the recent years. Consequently, men resort to boozing which further infuriates their spouses resulting into more violence. It is a merry go round without a resolution to the problem.
Journalists from Morogoro highlighted on the issues of early marriages being prevalent in the region. Food security in most of the Morogoro districts is uncertain. The foregoing notwithstanding men worsens the situation by men selling the meager harvests in order to add more wives to augment manpower for tilling larger farms so as to boost the amount of harvested crops.
Drugs and Alcohol have been deemed a big cause of Gender Based Violence and Sexual Gender Based Violence in all regions. For youth, it was stated that it is one of the major causes of School dropouts. Parent’s fights and beatings cause not only physical but also psychological problems to themselves and to their children. The deplorable conduct is imitated by the next generation who behave as their parents did.
Mental health deterioration is consequential alcohol and substance abuse consumption. Parents and their children are involved in the shameful acts with no remorse at all.
Incest between next of kin or relatives has also been reported as a by-product of drugs and alcohol abuse.
The Journalists’ learning culminated in groups creating stories pertaining to the shared testimonies from Manyara, Kilimanjaro and Morogoro regions. Thereafter, they created their own articles, column, scripts and pictures.
Journalists resolved in collaboration with TGNP, to engage themselves with stakeholders such as religious and traditional leaders, Local Government Authorities, School children, grassroots women and men, teachers, Women Rights Organizations and International media is bringing positive changes in the area of SGBV in Tanzania.
The Community Media Training is one of the interventions conducted by TGNP and Seed change as part of implementing the project titled, “Rural Women Cultivating Change in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya”. In Tanzania, this project which seeks to shift the cultural attitudes, systems and structures that limit the potential of diverse young and adult rural women smallholder farmers, particularly female heads of households, and survivors of gender -based violence, is implemented by TGNP and PELUM. Project interventions focus on creating the space and capacity for women to take control of their own lives, advocate for themselves and others, and take leadership roles within their communities and beyond. The project is expecting to contribute to poverty alleviation through reduced personal and collective vulnerability to socio-economic and climate shocks through the use gender-transformative and participatory leadership approaches, as well as intensify interventions aimed at preventing and responding to sexual and gender -based violence (SGBV).