Ms SophiaTemba (Left, standing) and Ms Restuta Mpate (first from right) both from CDF in a group photo with students who are members of one of the clubs formed to fight child marriages and female circumcision in Tarime District (Photo: Mugini Jacob)

Ms SophiaTemba (Left, standing) and Ms Restuta Mpate (first from right) both from CDF in a group photo with students who are members of one of the clubs formed to fight child marriages and female circumcision in Tarime District (Photo: Mugini Jacob)

The 16 year-old is a Form Two student at Inchugu Secondary School which is located in Tarime District, Mara Region.

?I know the bad consequences of FGM and I will never accept to undergo the cut,? Scola told the ?Daily News? early this week.

She insists that she will continue educating young girls about the dangers of FGM and convince them not to undergo the cut.

Scola is among the 1,440 girls and boys who had received CSE under an ambitious project aimed at eradicating FGM and child marriages in Tarime.

Implementation of the project has seen formation of 48 school clubs that are now battling against child marriage, teenage pregnancies and the outdated harmful culture in nine wards of Tarime.

The wards are Manga, Kiore, Mwema, Susuni, Sirari, Nyamaraga, Pemba, Bumera and Mbogi. Children?s Dignity Forum (CDF), a local nongovernmental organisation is implementing the project with the support of UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Among other things, CSE encompasses a full range of information, skills and values to enable young people make decisions about their health.

Tarime education and social welfare officials had welcomed the project hoping that it will greatly help to stop FGM and child marriages in the area.

Ms Siwema Sylvester, the Social Welfare Officer at Tarime District says CSE is also helpful in the fight against HIV/ AIDS among the young people.

?CSE is an important education because it makes the children to have right direction about their lives and avoid involving on risk behaviour,? said Ms Siwema. The beneficiary children are now able to overcome emerging changes as they keep on growing, according to her.

And majority of them are reportedly vowing not to undergo FGM. Ms Rose Joseph, a teacher at Inchugu secondary schools says CSE is making young girls and boys to be aware of harmful cultures thus, make informed decisions.

?The training makes the students to know their rights and bad cultures like female circumcision,? Ms Rose said. She reveals 30 students from the public ward secondary school are now spreading similar education to other school and non school girls after benefiting from the project.

Ms SophiaTemba a child participation programme Officer at CDF says half of those reached under the project are girls. ?This is just phase one of the project which started July 2014 to May this year.

We have formed 48 school clubs that involved 1440 children, half of them being girls, ? Ms Sophia said. CDF Executive Director Mr Koshuma Mtengeti said first phase of the project had achieved admirable success as far as the war against FGM and child marriages in the area is concerned.

?The success of phase is huge and many children are now aware where to report in case their rights are violated,? ?Many of them are saying they will not agree to undergo FGM and this is good news to us and other stakeholder,? Mr Koshuma said.

Implementation of the project is expected to take three years and reach several hundreds of young girls and boys, according to Mr Koshuma. Phase two starts July this year, he said. While the last phase is expected to kick off July 2016, according to Mr Koshuma.

Tarime is one of the districts where FGM is still widely conducted especially among the Kurya tribe. It is estimated that 1600 girls were circumcised in different parts of the district December last year. Reports say several hundreds of girls are lining up to undergo the cut in the area December this year.

CDF is currently making numerous interventions in a bid to reduce FGM cases in the area. The entire district is reportedly having about 20 female circumcisers, according to police force at the Tarime Regional Special Police Zone. FGM is illegal according to the laws of the country.

But the police force claim that they get poor cooperation when it comes to arresting and prosecuting perpetrators of FGM in the area.

The Tanzania Media Women?s Association (TAMWA) and other Gender Based Violence Activists are concerned with continued FGM cases taking place in Tarime almost every year.

But according to Mr Mwita Nyasibora, the secretary of all 13 clans of Kurya traditional leaders the number of girls undergoing the cut had significantly went down in the recent years compared to 1980s and 1990s.

UNFPA had of late become the major funder of a wide range of programmes aimed at ending FGM and child marriages in the area, the UNFPA funded initiatives saved more than 600 girls from undergoing the cut December last year.

By?MUGINI JACOB, The Standard

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