Consultations With Women, Children and Civil Society in Tanzania: Their experience of violence & recommendations for change

Tanzania has a record of extensive violence against women and children. The Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 commits to “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all formsof violence against and torture of children.” In an effort to demonstrate its commitment to this goal, the Tanzanian Government is developing a national plan of action to address violence against women and children. UNICEF and Save the Children commissioned this study to learn about Tanzanians’ experience of violence and to solicit their recommendations for a national plan of action to end violence. 12,270 people were consulted for their opinions through a SMS survey, face-to-face consultations and an email questionnaire. A grounded theory method was used to analyse the data; which has been presented in this report and is also available as a video and presentation at www.ccr-tz.org.

It is evident from these consultations that violence thrives when the interests of a few prevails over the interests of the many. The impacts of violence are longstanding. Victims lose a sense of themselves and their potential is compromised. Tanzania’s chances of developing into a middle-income country are put at risk. Violence begets violence as abuse carries over generations.

Children and women who participated in these consultations say that they are not safe in their homes or schools. They are not safe around their parents, their teachers and their partners. A Tanzanian culture that disrespects young people and women, and that enables poor parental behaviour puts children at risk of becoming victims of violence.

Whilst many citizens and CSOs endeavour to protect children, there is a tendency to respond to the victims of violence, rather than mobilizing our collective attention on preventing violence in the first place.

The consultations reveal that people who take action to prevent and respond to violence are trying to resolve moral dilemmas. These arise because it is hard to know what is in the best interests of an individual victim. It is also hard to provide simple textbooks solutions to what is largely a problem of societal relationships. Six key dilemmas were identified in this consultation. These need to be confronted in the national planning process if we are to prevent and respond to violence in Tanzania.

Published 2016-07-18