This program with FGM survivor and activist Rhobi Samwelly protects and empowers girls at risk of gender-based violence, including child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). Her organization Hope for Girls and Women runs safe houses to protect girls at risk, maps uncharted regions of Tanzania for rescue teams, initiates girls into womanhood without FGM, and educates cutters and community leaders around the impacts of gender-based violence.
In Tanzania, thousands of girls undergo FGM and other forms of gender-based violence. Although FGM is illegal in Tanzania, statistics show that approximately 10% of women nationally have undergone FGM, with prevalence in the Mara region at 32%. Our work protects girls who run away from their homes and empowers them to be independent for years to come.
Hope's safe houses protect girls who refuse FGM, especially during cutting season, until their parents sign an affidavit that ensures a safer environment. Activists are hosting outreach work, including community road shows and local debates, in areas where girls are at risk of FGM and early marriage. Hope also empowers girls to continue their education or learn a trade so that they can be self-sufficient.
Education and certification courses will increase girls' employment prospects and potentially lead to further educational opportunities. They can also be decision makers in their own communities and campaign effectively against FGM and child marriage for future generations.