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Friday, August 5, 2011

Handeni in all out war against FGM

July 31, 2011
The Citizen Correspondent
George Sembony

The Community Development Department in Handeni District, has urged the media to give wide coverage to female genital mutilation (FGM) incidents in the area in a bid to speed up elimination of the practice.
The view was made by the area community development officer, Ms Rose Mtango, during an interview with The Citizen on the FGM situation in the district.

She acknowledged the importance of the media, saying the recent coverage made by journalists from the Tanga Press Club under the sponsorship of the Tanzania Media Fund, has had a deep effect on society.

“There is a state of shock or fear in Konje area in Handeni District where two girls and a two year-old girl were forced to undergo FGM by their parents after the journalists’ visit. We have not had similar incidents after the visit and coverage,” she said.

She added that residents of the area, mainly people of Iraq stock from Mbulu, said “if there has been other incidents, they occured secretely.” The official said it was becoming harder because most girls especially those who are in secondary schools, are forced to do it by being rounded up at midnight.

She said the fight against the practice in Handeni District needed a lot of punch from the stakeholders and the area was preparing a special campaign to educate the young generation on the dangers of the practice.

The Maasai people now seek to use the traditional rites to circumcise boys and girls clandestinely.

Handeni DC Seif Mpembenwe, said police acting on a tip off, recently ambushed an FGM party in the early hours of the morning.He said the government would maintain close follow-up on traditional ceremonies which can be used to hide FGM practices.