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Base de données d'évaluation

Evaluation report

TNZ 1999/011: Promoting Children's Rights in Tanzania: Baseline Study on Knowledge, Attitude and Practice on Children Rights

Author: Musoke, I. K. S.

Executive summary


Despite Tanzania's ratification of CRC (1991) most children remain unable to exercise and enjoy their human rights. Gross violations and abuse of children's basic rights abound. The number of children in need of special protection measures (CNSPM) continues to increase at an alarming rate. It is against such a background that thrust of the UNICEF and Government of Tanzania Country Programme of Cooperation (1997- 2001) is focused; on promotion and implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF in collaboration with various professional groups, NGOs, CBOs, media organizations and the government of Tanzania (GOT) has stepped up advocacy to promote and sustain the human rights of children. At the invitation of the Government of Tanzania, UNICEF is in the process of formulating a monitoring framework and communication, strategy related to CRC implementation. To facilitate its mission, UNICEF has gone further to identify and delineate major trends and development that affect the promotion and sustenance of the Rights of Children (and women).

Purpose / Objective

- To identify, articulate and update sources of information or communication channels currently in use to disseminate messages or information
- To identify communication channels that are most favored by the audience, both adults and children
- To measure people's awareness as regards to children's rights
- To identify which media/communication channel can influence behavior changes, especially among adolescents
- To acquire more knowledge and skills regarding the most effective means for the communication of messages


This baseline survey was carried out in six regions of Tanzania mainland including Arusha, Coast, Iringa, Mara, Mtwara and Singida. Two districts, one urban and one rural, were sampled from each of the six regions. A questionnaire was administered to 420 children and 300 adults. Out of the total sample of 420 children, almost half of them were drawn from the eight categories of Children in Need of Special Protection Measures (CNSPM) as specified by UNICEF. Focus group discussions of children jointly, and women and men adults separately were conducted. Role playing was used with the children for many issues. A total of fifteen opinion leaders including school teachers, religious leaders, village government and ward leaders were interviewed.

Key Findings and Conclusions

It is imperative to start by pointing out that children, both in school and in need of special protection categories, depicted a higher level of understanding of the various issues under study and the capacity to articulate and communicate their rights/interest than most adults did. Both adults and children interviewed had a very low level of awareness of the CRC, its contents, and children's rights. Only 42 or 10% or 108 or 36.4% of children and adults interviewed respectively said they had any knowledge of the CRC. Most of those interviewed reduced children's rights to parents' obligations to children, especially in the provision of basic needs.

Information from both questionnaires and PRA methods indicate that the most reliable and preferred source of information is the radio, especially the state owned Radio Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, which was mentioned by 38% of adults interviewed. The second source of information on the CRC and children's rights mentioned was one's "own experiences, " which was followed by "friends/neighbors."

As a general rule, there is very little adult-child communication. Such communication is limited to inculcating into the child values and belief systems, stressing the sanctity of discipline and subservience towards predominantly male patriarchal authority. The research findings also attest to the general consensus on the use of corporal punishment on the part of both parents and teachers as a way of disciplinary action or even socialization of children.

Our research findings also indicate that female children face more problems than their male counterparts. Some of the special problems faced by girls include overwork, discrimination in access to education, termination of schooling due to early pregnancy and/or marriage, sexual abuse, discrimination in inheritance, female genital mutilation and less food intake.

Throughout our research, the special problems faced by the categories of children in need of special protection measures (CNSPM) appeared in almost every region. First and foremost is that the communities and government caretakers neglect some of the children in the various CNSPM categories. Most such children do not have special centers to take care of them. Most of the few centers available are run by very unscrupulous owners or caretakers and are not run in the best interests of the child.

Findings from research indicated early onset of sexual intercourse among children but a low level of awareness of sexually-related problems such as HIV/AIDS and STD infection, and pregnancies. On the sources of information on HIV/AIDS and STDs, a substantial number of children interviewed singled out radio, then school, then health centers as the preferred source of knowledge. While most adults interviewed (84.3%) agree that children should know about their sexuality and reproductive health, a substantial number of parents believe that this should be given sparingly.


There is a need for social mobilization on the following issues: CRC, rights of children, HIV/AIDS and STDs, early pregnancies and safe motherhood, and equal treatment for male and female children, including equal access to education.

It is imperative to build individual household and local community capacity to promote and uphold the rights of children through: poverty alleviation measures, illiteracy campaigns, and campaigns against the excessive imbibing of alcoholic beverages.

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