Tanzania’s context

FORWARD works in regions with the highest prevalence of violence against women and girls. FGM has been illegal in Tanzania since 1998 but the law remains largely unenforced and it is estimated that at least 7.9 million women and girls living in Tanzania today have undergone FGM.

The reasons for FGM are diverse and vary from region to region. In Mara region, for example, FGM is seen as a rite of passage into adulthood which means that once a girl has been cut she can be marketed for a husband, whereas in Singida region girls undergo FGM while they are still babies. Child marriage is also a frequent occurrence; in the Mara region, where one of FORWARD’s partner projects is based, as many as 2 in 5 girls are married before the age of 18 and over 8,000 girls drop out or are forced out of school each year due to pregnancy. Usually, once a girl drops out of school to get married she will never go back.

Girls can legally be married from the age of 15 with the consent of parents or guardians and girls can be married from the age of 14 with the approval of a court if they are pregnant. Across Tanzania 7% of girls are married by the age of 15 and nearly a quarter of girls aged 15-19 are pregnant or have at least one child.

In numbers

  • 7.9m

    Women and girls living in Tanzania today have undergone FGM.

  • 37%

    Girls are married before they reach 18 years.

Country Facts

  • Prevalence of FGM: 15% of girls and women have undergone FGM (UNICEF 2013)
  • Campaign against FGM: 92% of women and girls believe FGM should end, and girls aged 15-19 are three times less likely to have been cut than women 45-49 (UNICEF 2013)
  • Name of FGM: Kutairi, kutairi was ichana
  • Legal status of FGM: FGM has been illegal since 1998
  • Prevalence of child marriage: 7% of girls are married by the age of 15, and 37% by the age of 18 (UNICEF 2012)
  • Legal status of child marriage: It is illegal to marry under the age of 18 but you can marry from 16 with parental consent
  • Maternal mortality ratio: 410 per 100,000 live births (WHO 2013)
  • Prevalence of fistula: approximately 2,500–3,000 new cases of fistula are estimated to occur each year (Raassen, 2005)
  • Prevalence of GBV: 33% of women in Tanzania have experienced physical violence from a partner, and 23% of women in Tanzania have experienced sexual violence from a partner (UN Women 2011-12)
  • Gender Inequality Index: 159 of 187 countries (UNDP, 2013)

Our programme

Supporting Child Mother’s Development and Rights

‘Supporting Child Mother’s Development and Rights’ project, supported by Baillie Gifford, is working with 60 child mothers, with the objective of ensuring that they do not believe that their life chances have been destroyed simply because they are mothers. The project is working to return the child mothers to formal/vocational education, supporting them with training, capacity building, and seed grants so they can support themselves and their child/ren.

“We are honoured to have FORWARD’s technical support as we have quickly learnt what partnership means, to be trusted, accountable and confident in our actions. […] Now we are moving forward very fast, stable and prosperous”- Koshuma Mtengeti, Executive Director, Children’s Dignity Forum, Tanzania

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