GBV- Tamar Advocacy Campaign

The Situation
Violence against Women is widespread in Tanzania with nearly one third of female children in the country experiencing violence, and nearly half of adult females (Tanzania Demographic Health Survey, 2010).

Despite the progressive action of the Tanzanian Government to address gender equality and protect women’s rights in the form of national laws and policies, impact is minimal. For, the often patriarchal structures which are charged with enacting such laws and policies are not addressed, hampering practice.

Additionally information on the laws and national policies has not been widely disseminated to the general public so many people are unaware of their rights and how they can use the law to protect themselves. Various cultural and social norms within the country, such asthe social pressure to keep incidences of Gender Based Violence (GBV)‘within the family’ actually enable some forms of violence to continue.

Our Response
As a response towards prevention and elimination of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Tanzania we implement our Tamar Advocacy Campaign. The campaign aims to break the silence on GBV at community and institutional level.Campaign messages are based on the biblical context in 2 Samwel 13:1, where Tamar daughter of king David refused to keep silent after being raped by her half-brother, even thoughall those around her were trying to silence her.

The campaign is coordinated through the YWCA branches of Magu, Bunda and Mwanza in the Lake Zone of Tanzania. It employs four approaches to address GBV:

Education:Through Gender Based Violence education that includes information on national laws/policiesthe program empowers girls, boys, men and women to break the silence on GBVand to know where to report acts of violence. As well as helping people realise that they themselves may have unknowingly committed acts of violence. Education is facilitated through community events, contextual bible study groups, and awareness sessions and media campaigns, including participation in the International 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

Training:  Training of influential people in the community such as religious leaders, local leaders, faith-based organizations and media on realising their responsibility to use their pulpits to speak out against GBV and to enable environments which prevent acts of violence, encourage reporting of violence and support survivors of violence both physically and mentally.

Economic Empowerment: Development of Village and Community Banking Groups (VICOBA) which decrease an individual’s economic vulnerability throughmembers having an opportunity to safely save money, and to borrow against their savings to start-up businesses or deal with life’s emergencies.Including, giving those in an abusive relationshipmore ability to leave the situation, and survivors of violence the opportunity to regain control of their lives through financial stability.Entrepreneurship Training is also provided to VICOBA group members to strengthen business skills and inspire ideas for income generation initiatives.

Paralegal Advice:YWCA Leaderstrained to act as paralegals aiding legal empowerment within their communities through providing information to community members on the laws surrounding marriage, violence, the rights of women and children and land, as well assistingcommunity members in the process of seeking justice through legal advice or alternative dispute resolution.

Achievements – as at January 2015
•    Over 5000 people reached with GBV
•    132 VICOBA groups created (>3500 members) with majority of membersrealizing an improved standard of living
•    Over 600reached with Entrepreneurship Training
•    40 YWCA leaders undertaken paralegal training
•    YWCA Bunda Branch operating Community Centre for Legal Assistance
•    Over 200Religious Leaders and Community Leaders trainedon GBV
•    10 Monthly Survivor Support Groups created

The GBV- Tamar campaign began in 2008 and is projected to run until 2015 with funding from NORAD through Norwegian Church Aid (NCA).

Read about how the Tamar Campaign has worked with people to improve their lives here (link to case studies page)