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31 October 2017: UNICEF supports the Zanzibar Government to use mobile phone survey technology in efforts to address violence against children

T-Watoto Survey on Violence Against Children in Zanzibar [PDF]

T-Watoto Survey Report on Violence Against Children in Zanzibar [PDF]

UNICEF Deputy Country Representative to Tanzania, Mr. Rene Van Dongen, presented the findings from the T-Watoto mobile phone survey on Violence Against Children to the President of Zanzibar, H.E. Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, during a special session of the Cabinet on 31st October 2017. Conducted during April and May 2017, the T-Watoto survey seeks to use mobile phone technology to provide nationally representative data on respondent’s attitudes and practices to violence against children. In total 4,073 respondents participated in the survey across all eleven districts in Zanzibar. The findings of the T-Watoto Survey are intended to inform the implementation of the Government of Zanzibar’s National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children 2017-2022 in engaging with communities to effectively prevent and respond to violence against children.

The findings of the T-Watoto survey on violence against children reveal that violence is a key concern for community members in Zanzibar. 99 per cent of survey respondents report that they are concerned that children in their communities are at risk of violence and 6 out of 10 respondents report that violence against children is common in their communities. Sexual violence against children is the most common form of violence (65 per cent) reported by communities. Community members demonstrate a good understanding of where sexual violence occurs and by whom it is perpetrated. 4 out of 5 respondents report that children are most likely to be sexually abused by someone they know rather than by a stranger and identified neighbourhoods, schools as the three most common locations where sexual violence against children occurs in Zanzibar.

However, while community members demonstrate a willingness to intervene in cases of sexual violence, a culture of silence still exists in terms of responding to cases of sexual violence and in practice, most cases are not reported to official authorities and are dealt with privately within communities. 7 out of 10 survey respondents reported that most cases of violence against children are dealt with privately rather than reported to official authorities.

Respondents to the T-Watoto survey reported that children commonly experience physical violence at home and in schools. Physical punishment is often not considered by communities to be violence against children and significant numbers of community members see physical punishment as a necessary child-rearing practice. However, more than 1 in 2 respondents do not believe that is necessary for parents to physically punish their children in order to raise them well and 4 out of 10 respondents do not believe that is necessary for teachers to physically punish children to ensure that they are well educated. Women and more likely than men to believe that is not necessary to physically punish children at home and in schools.

In welcoming the T-Watoto Survey on Violence Against Children, the President of Zanzibar H.E. Dr Ali Mohamed Shein noted that ‘The T-Watoto Survey has helped us to better understand community attitudes to and awareness of violence against children in Zanzibar. Today’s children are our future farmers, our future teachers and our future leaders. We need to protect them. The cycle of violence against children must be broken. The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar is committed to working with development partners, including UNICEF, to end violence against children’.

The UNICEF Deputy Country Representative to Tanzania, welcomed the opportunity to discuss the survey findings with H.E. President of Zanzibar and the members of the cabinet of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. Mr. Van Dongen noted: ‘UNICEF commends His Excellency the President of Zanzibar and the Revolutionary Government in its firm commitment to address violence against children.’

‘Violence against children in not inevitable and communities and families are often the first and most effective structures in preventing and responding to violence against children. UNICEF looks forward to working with the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar in engaging with communities, in particular through support for parenting and family support programmes and addressing violence in schools, to prevent and respond to violence against children and ensure the effective implementation of the new National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children 2017-2022’


The T-Watoto (Tuzungumze na Watoto – let’s talk about children in Kiswahili) survey is a mobile phone based survey that seeks to use the mobile revolution to collect real time information at a low cost on key issues affecting communities. The T-Watoto survey reaches almost 5,000 respondents through mobile telephone interview and collects nationally representative data on household members’ knowledge and practices on issues affecting children and on access to and quality of services for children. Data gathered using the T-Watoto mobile phone survey is intended to inform decisions at national and local government levels to facilitate more targeted and effective interventions.

The Watoto survey tool was established in 2015, by the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar’s Zanzibar Planning Commission with technical and financial support from UNICEF. T-Watoto surveys have to date have been carried out on diverse range of topics including on water, sanitation and hygiene, cholera awareness and response, parent support to early learning and in gathering communities views in supporting the development of an integrated national children’s policy.



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