TAIs work focusses on enabling children, specifically girls, to reach their full potential. TAI does so by using a holistic approach in her projects; focusing on changing the local mind-set on for example child protection systems, stigmas regarding menstruation and the negative consequences of early child marriages and early pregnancies. TAI does so by including local governments, parents/caregivers, religious leaders, elders, and other community members. Community mobilization, engagement and education form the basis of TAIs work.
What we are implementing
UTU WA MSICHANA (II)
A girls dignity
Location: Mwamagunguli A Primary School, located in Mwamagunguli village, Kolandoto Ward, Shinyanga Municipal.
Funding partners: The U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund
When we discuss solutions to ensuring more children can go to school, not many people think about toilets. However, the lack of access to proper toilets in schools threatens the education of many children in Tanzania, who are at risk of getting sick due to poor hygiene, and subsequently miss school. Sufficient and clean toilets as well as proper washing stations can help stop the spread of many diseases and parasites. The risks are even higher for girls. Multiple reports underline the importance of hygiene and sanitation facilities in schools, particularly for girls, who are more likely to attend school and complete their education if these are in place.
In Tanzania, the lack of separate toilets for girls and boys is among the top barriers to girls’ education. When a girl reaches puberty, access to a separate toilet can be the decisive factor of whether she continues with her education. because of theoirperiods, girls may miss up to 5 days of school every month or worse, drop out of school completely. Poor attendance often translates into poor performance, and students who perform poorly are more likely to drop out from school early.
Via this project TAI will:
- Construct a disability-friendly girls latrine block, housing 8 latrines of which 1 is disability friendly;
- Construct a hand washing facility, located between the girls and boys toilet-block, facilitating hand-washing for both girls and boys;
- Raise awareness on student WASH behavior;
- Revive the school hygiene club which will serve as a catalyzer amongst the students in the promotion of proper WASH behavior.
By creating a disability friendly toilet block, TAI aims to tackle one of the thresholds that withholds children with disabilities to come to school. Of course we are aware that this is just a small step in the right direction, however we belief it is an important step.
MTOTO MWEREVU (PHASE II)
Location: Shinyanga District Council and Shinyanga Municipal Council
(Funding) Partners: Firelight Foundation
Despite of efforts made to improve health and household food security in Tanzania, a big number of children are still prone to diseases and malnutrition which means they do not grow mentally and physically as they should (also referred to as ´stunted´). In Tanzania 42% of children under 5 are stunted. Furthermore parents and guardians have been left to promote the moral support of their own children because of the breakdown of the system of communal responsibility of child care. As a result there is no common community direction. The most critical influence in the early years of a child (0-1000 days) is/are the parent(s) or caregiver(s). Therefore it is important to develop the understanding about the importance of the early years of a child and provide practical skills to provide effective care and stimulation. Parents who are knowledgeable about child development make good ´first teachers´ for their children.
However, the unprecedented global social and economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic poses grave risks to the nutritional status and survival of young children in low-income and middle-income countries, such as Tanzania. Of particular concern is an expected increase in child malnutrition, including stunting, due to steep declines in household incomes, changes in the availability and affordability of nutritious foods, and interruptions to health, nutrition, and social protection services (if present).
In this second phase of the project, TAI focusses on community-based behaviour change interventions on nutrition topics for families with children under 5 years of age.
USAID TULONGE AFYA
Let’s talk about health
Location: Shinyanga Municipal and Shinyanga District
(Funding) Partners: fhi360 and T-MARC TANZANIA
The USAID Tulonge Afya project, promotes positive health practices in households and communities in Tanzania and targets women and youth (ages 15 to 24).
While HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and sexual and reproductive health-related mortalities have been declining in recent years, these concerns continue to remain disproportionately high for Tanzanian women and youth. The project creates opportunities for Tanzanians to improve their health status by transforming sociocultural norms and supporting the adoption of healthier behaviors. Gender and youth equality are incorporated in all project activities. By addressing social and cultural norms, and social and behavior change communication (SBCC) system needs, TAI will:
- Improve the ability of individuals to practice healthy behaviors;
- Strengthen community support for improved health behaviors;
- Improve systems for the coordination and implementation of SBCC interventions.
TOKOMEZA NDOA ZA UTOTONI
Ending Child Marriages
Location: Shinyanga Rural and Kishapu Districts
(Funding) Partners: Firelight Foundation
Tanzania has one of the highest child marriage prevalence rates in the world. Almost two out of five girls in Tanzania are married before their 18th birthday. From a very young age, girls in some regions are raised to perform traditional gender roles as mothers, wives and caregivers. As a result, they often have limited economic value to the household, except the bride price they bring when they marry. Boys, on the other hand are seen as an investment in the family’s future. Another driver of child marriages is poverty. Poor families who are unable to pay school feels or take care of their children often resort to marriage, seeing it as a form of economic and social protection. Connected to the early marriages is the problem of early pregnancies.
Awareness raising, empowerment of the Violence of Women and Children Committees, economic empowerment and SRHR education to girls form a holistic approach within this multiple year project.
In the Ending Child Marriages project, TAI focusses on educating communities on the negative consequences of early child marriages and pregnancies as well as strengthening the legislative bodies and service providers dealing with these issues. In 2016/2017 TAI has implemented the Safe Child Safe Community project, aimed at strengthening families by providing training on positive parenting skills and awareness on child protection. One of the activities, in collaboration with the government, was the establishment of Child Protection Teams (CPTs) on the local level, whose aim is to raise awareness on child safety and provides referrals for abused (mentally, physically etc.) children. Besides this, a text-message service was introduced which created a platform to anonymously report child marriages that were taken place. In the Ending Child Marriages project, TAI is strengthening the earlier established CPTs and the reinforcement of relevant legislation. Influencing and changing the local mind-set is an important part of this project.
What we are developing
Let’s protect them!
Location: Shinyanga Rural District
Year: 2018 (to be implemented after mobilization of financial resources is complete)
Complimentary to the MTOTO SALAMA JAMII SALAMA (Safe Child Safe Community) project, TAI aims implement legal service provision to children suffering from maltreatment. TAI experiences a challenge in the project mentioned above when it comes to legal support. Many parents bring up issues of abuse of their children and claim that they are missing a strong support network in their communities. TAI has experienced that the legal support currently locally available, is not sufficient and is not perceived as untrustworthy by communities due to multiple reasons. TAI believes that by including legal service to compliment the current MTOTO SALAMA JAMII SALAMA project, children will be better protected. We aim to do so by strengthening the linkage between the parenting project and the protection measures. TAI aims to provide this support along the principles of the legal aid pyramid model.
TAI always aims to work in the same communities and build on the projects that finished their implementation period. Education drives change, but change always needs time. Building on, and deepening, previous projects enables the community to make a mind-set change and to really change their communities. Besides this, it nurtures the new policies/strategies and enables them to really become embedded in the communities. New projects that TAI starts are therefore (preferably) always either a continuation of, or complementary to, finished projects.
ROVING POLICE GENDER DESK (PILOT)
Location: Shinyanga District Council
(Funding) Partners: Women Fund Tanzania – Trust
Violence Against Young Women and Children (VAYWC) is a form of Gender Based Violence (GBV) prevalent in Tanzania, with the Shinyanga Region being one of the highest-ranking regions. The protection and promotion of the rights of women and girls should be prioritized, as the current COVID-19 crisis increases existing gender inequalities and increase risks of GBV. Even though the Tanzanian government has been taking and promoting protective measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19, not much attention is paid to the risks arising from these measures.
In Shinyanga, young girls have been increasingly roaming around the streets, exposing themselves to the risk of not only contracting COVID-19 but also to different kinds of violence, specifically in the rural areas. Cases of violence against children are going around on social media more these days. The risks women and children face, specifically now during the current COVID-19 crisis, cannot be ignored. TAI saw the urgent need to take action to address these forms of GBV.
In cooperation with the police force, TAI reached the 3 most at risk rural communities in the Shinyanga District, where the majority of children, girls and women are extra vulnerable to GBV. TAI collaborated with the Police force (Police Gender Desk) in providing mobile service provision. Community Facilitators (CFs) who live in these communities, were trained and equipped. While the Police Gender Desk conducted a mobile service provision (taking the service to the people), CFs intervened to mitigate heightened risk of violence in the home due to social distancing measures including being cut-off from essential protection services and vital support. The CFs serve as a bridge between women and children in communities and the Police Gender Desk.
The number of cases filed, as well as the positive response from the community, showed the need for a scale up the Roving Police Gender Desk, beyond the initial 3 months. TAI together with the Police Gender Desk is currently seeking ways to sustainably integrate this service within the rural communities.
UTU WA MSICHANA (I)
A girls dignity
Location: Secondary schools in the Shinyanga District
Funding partners: United States Ambassador’s Fund for HIV/AIDS Relief (AFHR), Funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
Clean, sufficient, gender separated and private toilets. For many girls in school something they don’t even pay attention to. Because it’s normal, because it’s what they are used to. But not all girls have these water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities available to them at school, which in the end can have serious consequences.
Improving the WASH facilities in schools is proven to be essential for keeping girls in school, and ensuring their right to education. Poor attendance often translates into poor performance, and students who perform poorly are more likely to drop out from school early. For vulnerable girls who are in schools and are infected with HIV/AIDS, as well as girls who are at high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, this is specifically important. Through this project TAI will address the WASH facilities in 3 secondary schools (approximately 700 girls), by focusing on the lack of water supply, the lack of toilet privacy as well as waste management. The focus of this project lays on school-based facilities as well as internalisation of information by following TAIs approach of Educate – Learn – Act. Information provision on WaSH, MHM and SRHR results in gaining knowledge and knowledge drives change.
Hygienic, safe and functioning WASH facilities at schools are fundamental for teachers and pupils ability to work and learn in a healthy and safe environment – a requisite for keeping girls in school and eventually creating sustainable (economic) development.
USICHANA WANGU KWANZA!
Proud to be a girl!
Location: Primary and secondary schools in Shinyanga Rural and Kishapu districts
(Funding) Partners: PEPFAR/MCC, DLI and DTBI
In Shinyanga and Kishapu District sexual and reproductive health education is minimal and has been of less priority for parents. It is very common to find a child as young as 11 being pregnant. One of the main reasons for the large number of pregnant girls is that many have unprotected sex and lack access to knowledge on menstruation period cycles.
TAI addresses the information gap in this remote area about menstruation and hygiene amongst girls, parents and teachers. Girls between 9 and 16 years old lack sufficient knowledge about their body changes and especially on how they can handle and manage themselves during their menstruation. Parents do not provide enough education on menstruation to their daughters and teachers are not comfortable in teaching about menstruation and hygiene.
Menstruation and hygiene issues in this extremely remote area are too often not addressed at all, because stigma and cultural practices make people silent. Tools used (in school) are usually paper versions, which are no longer attractive for learning to the younger generation. TAI is developing a menstruation and hygiene toolkit for remote areas (with e.g. movie, a female human body dummy, hygiene pads and interactive games) to educate girls, parents and teachers and to eventually keep young women and girls in school. The toolkit will be used in schools and the community (through outdoor cinema) and easily attracts people.
Through our menstruation and hygiene toolkit we create:
- Awareness on menstrual hygiene among girls, women and men in order to empower women to take care of themselves during their menstruation, develop themselves and live a healthy life. The awareness increases the demand for health services like sanitary pads.
- A supportive environment, in which menstruation is socially accepted and women are not excluded or discriminated against because of their monthly periods.
For official communication on TAIs project by DLI, please click here!
MTOTO SALAMA JAMII SALAMA
Safe Child Safe Community
Location: Shinyanga Rural and Kishapu districts
Year: 2016 / 2017
(Funding) partners: ICS (parenting guidelines) and Firelight Foundation
Children in Tanzania are growing up in a high-risk environment. Research in Tanzania shows that parents and other adult relatives are the most commonly reported perpetrators of physical and emotional violence against children. The Tanzanian Multi-Sector Task Force on Violence against Children are working to strengthen the child protection system, but many families still lack access to child protection services or are simply not aware of the services available.
Thubutu Afica Initiatives (TAI) believes that having a safe community begins with creating an environment which will make children to be safe in the same community. This Safe Child Safe Community project creates a safe community through:
- Prevention. TAI promotes positive parenting and effective parent-child communication through training and awareness campaigns to parents of 9-12 year olds (mothers and fathers). This is done through theatre, school based debates and community dialogues in the villages with existing parents’/farmer groups and by using the Skilfull Parenting method developed by the international NGO Investing in Children and their Societies (ICS).
- Rescue. TAI trains local focal persons in child protection, child safeguarding and who can also identify and be involved in capturing and reporting child rights violation cases. TAI brings together stakeholders of the Tanzanian Child Protection System who are available at the local level and connect them to the District level and Region level child protection systems for further action.
In collaboration with the government, TAI established Child Protection Teams (CPTs) on the local level, whose aim is to raise awareness on child safety and provides referrals for abused (mentally, physically etc.) children. Besides this, a text-message service was introduced which created a platform to anonymously report child marriages that were taken place.