Tanzania launches toll-free line to boost fight against domestic violence, child marriages

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VCG
VCG

The Tanzanian government has teamed up with a national non-governmental organization in efforts to eradicate domestic and gender violence as well as early marriages.

The C-Sema NGO, also supported by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), has set up a toll-free National Child Helpline, in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam to protect children and women from abuse.

The #116 toll-free service, available across all mobile networks, is open to people in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.

The helpline responds to around 3,500 calls a day from women and children who are at risk of violence, and from family and community members who report abuses.

A recent visit to the National Child Helpline by UNFPA’s Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem showed just how vital the facility is in Tanzania’s efforts to eradicate domestic violence and early marriages.

Dr. Kanem expressed gratitude to C-Sema and counsellors for their dedication to advancing gender equality and the health, rights and well-being of women and young people, including through the use of digital platforms and new technologies.

The UNFPA reports a recent case of a 13-year-old girl who was saved from getting married to a 35-year-old man. The girl’s parents had accepted to give her up for marriage in exchange for a dowry payment.

Despite the occurrence of such incidents, the Tanzanian government has rolled out various efforts to end the vices, including the institution of a Five-year National Plans of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children.

The current administration has also pledged to continue efforts to eradicate such vices from the East African country.

During her visit to Tanzania, Dr. Kanem met with President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who expressed Tanzania’s commitment to eliminate preventable maternal and child deaths, gender-based violence and harmful practices, including female genital mutilation.

The UNFPA’s Executive Director commended the government’s leadership and reaffirmed her organization’s support to Tanzania to realize development targets and stronger, more inclusive socioeconomic growth with the goal of leaving no one behind.

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