AT least 107 girls have fled their homes for fear of undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) in Mara Region, a local nongovernmental organisation, which fights the harmful culture in the region, has said.
“We have 107 new cases of girls who have fled their homes and they are sheltered at Mugumu Hope Safe House and Butiama Safe House,” Director of Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania Rhobi Samwelly told ‘Daily News’ at the weekend.
She added: “Some of them are schoolgirls who have just sat for their Standard Four National Examinations. Others have completed Standard Seven, Form Four and some are those who sat for Form Two National Examinations.”
FGM subjects girls to severe pain during and after FGM, thanks to ongoing campaigns to end the harmful culture in the area.
Ms Rhobi said they were going to engage men to get their views on how to eliminate FGM during this year’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (GBV).
“We are going to have meetings with men in the villages of Serengeti so that we can hear from them regarding FGM,” Ms Rhobi said.
She said at least two villages of Sedeko Ward would be reached by the campaign.
Additionally, she said the NGO would map areas that were not safe for school and out of school girls during the FGM season in Serengeti during the 16 days of activism against GBV in Serengeti and Butiama districts.
“We will also march with anti-FGM, child marriage and GBV placards and our stopping point will be Butiama Safe House,” she said.
The NGO has saved more than 1,000 girls who were at risk of undergoing FGM since it started the anti-FGM campaigns several years ago.
FGM is illegal in Tanzania, but still some communities in Mara Region see FGM as an important practice, which is also said to be the root cause of school dropouts and child marriage in the region.