What does it take to protect every woman and child in Tanzania from all forms of violence?

Joint statement by the Ministry of Community Development, the UNRCO, UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women

15 May 2024
Minister Gwajima lauches National Plan of Action to End Violence
Lilian Magari
The Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children, Honourable Doctor Dorothy Gwajima, launches Tanzania's second National Plan of Action to End Violence against Women and Children

Dodoma, 15 May 2024 - As we celebrate the launch of Tanzania’s second National Plan of Action to End Violence against Women and Children (2024/2025-2028/2029), we have an opportunity to recommit ourselves to protecting the rights of every woman and child in Tanzania. All women and children have the right to be protected from all forms of violence. Yet, millions of women and children in Tanzania have either experienced or witnessed physical, sexual or emotional violence. Sadly, violence often occurs in what are meant to be safe places – homes, schools, workplaces, communities and increasingly now in on-line spaces.

The impact of violence against women and children can be profound. Violence is associated with a number of adverse health outcomes in women and children and those negative effects can last a lifetime. In addition to the impact on individuals and their families, violence against women and children can put a strain on social services, including health care, law enforcement, and the judiciary, as they respond to incidents and support victims and their families. The immediate and long-term economic impact of violence against women and children can therefore be costly, hindering the development of a nation.

The Government of Tanzania has taken steps to develop the second national plan of action to work towards the elimination of violence against women and children. In line with evidence-based strategies, the plan of action sets out ambitious strategies to improve economic security and stability of families; address social norms and values that encourage violence and discrimination; create safe environments where women and children gather and spend time; support parents and families to promote women and children’s wellbeing; implement and enforce laws and policies to protect women and children; increase access to quality services for those exposed to violence; and ensure that learning environments are safe and enabling.

To effectively address violence against women and children, there are several critical areas to reflect on. Firstly, breaking the silence on violence against women and children requires commitment, leadership and accountability at all levels of society – at the individual level, at the community level, at the institutional level and at the political level. We must all speak out about violence and make a commitment to ensure that our actions are protective of women and children including by removing harmful practices towards women and girls. And we must hold each other accountable for our individual and collective progress and results as duty bearers and responsibility holders. Together, we can help give voice to the thousands of women and children who suffer daily as a result of violence.

Secondly, the way we approach the protection of women and children requires a fundamental shift. More emphasis must be placed on creating a culture of prevention at all levels, which should form a critical component of Tanzania’s overall protection system. Special attention and increased investment are needed to adopt a public health approach in prevention strategies to strengthen community systems that decrease violence against women and children and lead to their improved health and wellbeing. This requires a comprehensive, whole-of-society, and gender-transformative approach to tackle social norms perpetuating violence against women and children while ensuring the diligent production and use of data to monitor changes and evaluate the effectiveness of policies and programmes.

Thirdly, strong partnerships are essential to address violence. The protection of women and children requires an integrated approach across the family welfare, health, education, security, political, and justice sectors, among others. No one sector and no one partner can work in isolation. By bringing together knowledge, expertise, resources and learning, we can make greater progress in achieving positive outcomes for individual women and children as well as society as a whole.

One area with great potential for partnership is ensuring that we address both violence against women and violence against children together. These two forms of violence are interlinked at all levels of the family and society. Where a mother experiences violence, her children are also more likely to face be victims of violence. The data clearly shows that children who experience violence in childhood are more likely to grow up to be victims or perpetrators of violence themselves. Strategies and interventions to address violence against women and children require a holistic and integrated approach to ensure that prevention and response efforts are well coordinated and complimentary. Given the limited resources to address violence, this will allow us to maximize impact for both women and children.

The second phase of the national action plan represents an opportunity to build on previous efforts and accelerate progress towards ending violence against women and children which is crucial for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Tanzania’s national development aspirations. As we step into this crucial phase of action, every step we take together is a step towards a Tanzania free from violence against women and children.

We must ensure that resources are adequate, both nationally and sub-nationally, to prevent and respond to violence and that robust systems are in place to monitor progress. This will accelerate efforts and facilitate reporting to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on Eliminating All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals, which contain specific targets to end violence against women and children. Equally, if Tanzania is to meet its commitments to SDGs on women and children’s education, health and wellbeing, we must ensure that all women and children are protected from violence.

Real improvements in women’s and children’s lives are brought to life not simply through statements and promises, but through concrete actions such as those set out in the second National Plan of Action to End Violence against Women and Children. The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and the United Nations in Tanzania remain committed to working with partners and stakeholders at all levels to ensure that these national commitments translate into greater protection for women and children across the country.

Honourable Dr. Dorothy O. Gwajima, Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups

Mr Zlatan Milisic – United Nations Resident Coordinator

Ms Elke Wisch – UNICEF Representative

Mr Mark Schreiner – UNFPA Representative

Mr Peterson Magoola – Acting UN Women Representative

Media contacts

Usia Ledama
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Tanzania
Tel: +255 762 871830
Edgar Kiliba
Communication Officer
The Residential Coordinator's office
Tel: +255 628 416 787

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