Approximately six million children aged 0-14 years live below the basic needs poverty line, and approximately 2.8 million children fall below the food poverty line (HBS, 2008). Chronic malnutrition in Tanzania remains endemic, with 35% of children under five stunted and 21% underweight. 44.5% children in rural areas are stunted, compared to 31.5% in urban areas. According to the Tanzania DHS 2004/05, 48% of rural children suffered three or more severe deprivations of basic need compared with 10% of children in urban areas.
There are more than 2 million orphaned or abandoned children, and 20 per cent of the 5 to 17 year olds are engaged in child labour. Only 8 per cent of children under 5 have a birth certificate. In both Zanzibar and the mainland the true extent of child abuse and violence is concealed because of a lack of empirical data or clear evidence of national or regional trends, and because of the silence and stigma surrounding the issue. Reports from professionals working in child protection and anecdotal evidence suggests that violence against children, sexual exploitation and abuse is a significant problem and occurs at home, in the workplace and at school.
Harmful traditional practices:
Include female genital mutilation (FGM); early marriage and early pregnancy; traditional birth practices; son preference and its implications for the status of the girl child. Despite their harmful nature and their violation of international human rights laws, such practices persist because they are not questioned and take on an aura of morality in the eyes of those practising them and have great consequences for the health of the girl child.
Children without appropriate care and children on the move:
Getting accurate statistical data for “street children, trafficking children, migrating children and refugees” is difficult given the hidden and isolated nature of the life they lead. However, a UNICEF study in 2005 noted that 10 million of children in the world live in the street and the problem is most prevalent in African countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa, DRC and Kenya. In Tanzania the problem of street children is a big issue, particularly in urban areas such as Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Mwanza. Sometimes the children have left home because of abuse or death/departure of parents and other times to supplement family income. Effects that face children living in the street: often viewed as a threat to society; suffer from violence and abuse; face health problems; are malnourished; vulnerable to traffic accidents; have difficulties accessing medical services; and are vulnerable to substance use. Children are also trafficked internally, largely for domestic labour purposes. There are 100,000 refugees including children from surrounding countries mostly in family homes in organised refugee camps.
Emergency situations and children:
Tanzania regularly experiences droughts and floods in different parts of the country which can have a major impact on the communities affected. There have been some minor earthquakes and landslides but TZ has been spared some of the worst natural disaster so far. Cholera outbreaks are endemic in some areas and there have been 2 incidences of ammunition dumps blowing up in Dar impacting several thousand people resulting in some deaths and injuries to children and widespread family separation.
According to Tanzania Ministry of Labor, Youth Development and Sports in cooperation the ILO’s International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC) 2001 report, estimated that 39.5 percent (4.8 million) children between the ages of 5 and 17 in Tanzania involved in work, of which 40% of them were boys and 39% of working children were girls. Approximately 27 percent of working children are between the ages of 5 and 9, and 44 percent are between the ages of 10 and 14. Thirty-four percent of rural children worked, compared to 11 percent of urban children who worked. Forty-eight percent of working children also attended school. In Zanzibar the (ILFS) 2006 estimates that 9.2 per cent of the children aged between 5-17 years were involved in work. Boys 51.6 %, girls 48.4 %.
Children in Tanzania work on tea, coffee, sugar cane, and tobacco plantations; in mining and as domestic servants and in urban areas they work as barmaids, street vendors, car washers, shoe shiners, carpenters and auto repair mechanics.
Corporal punishment of children is legal in their homes, schools and in prisons, or as a punishment for crime. Corporal punishment is widely accepted as a disciplinary measure in childrearing and not perceived as harmful or abusive. UNICEF’s 2010 Violence Against Children study found that almost three quarters of children, both male and female, experienced physical violence prior to the age of 18, almost three out of five experienced physical violence prior to age of 18 from relatives and one out of two experienced physical violence from teachers.
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