DEFI project: Retrospective on France commitment to fighting gender-based violence in Tanzania [fr]
The Embassy of France to Tanzania has funded a 2-year project in Dodoma region aimed at raising awareness on the risks of early pregnancies and improving access to justice for victims of gender-based violence. With a budget of 240 000 euros, the project was implemented over 2017 and 2018 by Msichana Initiative, TAWLA, CDF and TAMWA.
From 2017 to 2018, the Embassy of France to Tanzania has financed a project called “DEFI”, standing for Droit à l’égalité des filles (Right for girls to be equal with boys). With a total budget of 240 000 euros, this project was managed by Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) and implemented in Dodoma region by four non-governmental organizations (NGO):
Tanzania Women Lawyers’ Association (TAWLA)
Children Dignity Forum (CDF)
Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA)
The overall objective of the project was to increase awareness about girls and women’s rights within communities and political institutions. More specifically, it aimed at achieving the following:
1. Raise awareness among parliamentarians on the risks of early pregnancies and the importance of increasing the minimum legal marriage age for girls;
2. Improve access to justice for victims of gender-based violence (GBV).
Working towards these goals, the four implementing NGOs conducted five main activities:
Children Dignity Forum raised awareness among parliamentarians;
TAMWA trained journalists on GBV issues and on how to document and report GBV related cases in the media;
TAWLA trained police gender desks to better recognize and handle GBV cases;
TAWLA and Msichana Initiative trained legal clinics and paralegals to prevent GBV and facilitate victims’ access to justice;
Msichana Initiative capacitated Children and Women Protection Committees to ensure a multi-sectoral collaboration on GBV cases (health services, judiciary, law enforcement, social services, etc.).
Thanks to the commitment and professionalism of our implementing partners, the project was able to achieve meaningful successes:
Functioning referral pathways were developed for victims of GBV through (1) the paralegals established at the village level and (2) the coordination of all concerned governmental stakeholders through the Children and Women protection teams at ward and district levels.
Substantial awareness-raising on GBV and risks of early marriages and pregnancies was conducted within communities, with convincing results.
The number of reports made to the police by victims of GBV and relatives significantly increased, suggesting that girls and women have gained confidence to speak out.
Sustainability of the project was ensured by embedding its activities in the existing governmental national framework, called the National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children) and by involving fully the relevant governmental stakeholders (i.e. the Police gender desks and the Children and Women Protection Committees).
The project also brought some lessons learnt, of course. The main one is that reporting of GBV cases and improving victims’ access to justice must go hand in hand with their protection and their economic empowerment, so as to limit any re-victimisation process.
The Embassy of France is most grateful to Foundation for Civil Society, Msichana Initiative, TAWLA, Children Dignity Forum and TAMWA for their cooperation and their commitment towards empowering young Tanzanian girls.