Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – UNESCO is supporting the organization of a one-month anti-FGM campaign in selected districts within the five regions with high prevalence namely Manyara, Dodoma, Arusha, Mara and Singida. The campaign is organized with financial support from SDC project, Sida O3 Project and UNDAP II- VAWC One UN fund.

The campaign kicked off in Ngorongoro on May 28 and will include a 3-day capacity-building workshop to be conducted in collaboration with Loliondo FM, a UNESCO supported community radio, followed by official launch of the campaign on 31st May and an intergeneration dialogue on ending FGM practices and traditional to be aired live by Loliondo FM.

The workshop is meant to orient key anti-FGM campaigners including media practitioners with key messages where a major public campaign through five community radios within the top five regions will be carried out there after expected to reach 1 million people.

Community radios for the public campaign with regions in brackets include Loliondo FM (Arusha), ORS (Manyara), Dodoma FM (Dodoma will also cover Singida), Triple A FM (Arusha), Mazingira FM (Mara).

The key approaches for the Ngorongoro anti-FGM campaign include a Public Campaign through Community Radios highlighted where a series of community radio sessions will be developed and broadcasted targeting community leaders, law enforcers, medical personnel, religious leaders, Ngaribas and young people (particularly out of school girls.

The other approach will involve a School-based campaign, specifically targeting pupils, students, teachers, and school-parent committees from 20 schools in Loliondo division.

Simultaneously, a Community-based campaign will take place specifically targeting parents and caretakers in 14 selected villages in Loliondo division and will take the form of parent/caretakers village/sub-village sensitization meetings.

The campaign comes in June, a month considered as high season where parents utilize the long school holidays to circumcise their girls.

UNESCO organizes the anti FGM campaign in close collaboration with the Ngorongoro District Council, the Council of Masaai traditional leaders and the Network of Community Media in Tanzania (TADIO).

Through its socio-cultural approach, UNESCO’s initiatives have gained community support and achieved notable impact including change of mind-set of some of the traditional leaders and Ngaribas (the female circumcisers).

The anti-FGM campaign is a continuation of similar ones conducted in June and December 2017 where 10 girls were rescued from the cut, with two being rescued from being married off to old men as old as 68 years old.

In Tanzania, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is deeply rooted and grounded in cultural practices and beliefs, and is an integral part of the socialization process, particularly symbolic of the passage from childhood to adulthood in the Maasai, Kurya, Gogo, Nyiramba, Mbulu, Chagga and Pare tribes. According to the Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey and Malaria Indicator Survey Report (TDHS-MIS, 2015-16), one in ten women in Tanzania has been circumcised. The top five regions in Tanzania in terms of FGM prevalence with percentage in brackets are Manyara (58%), Dodoma (47%), Arusha (41%), Mara (32%) and Singida (31%).

FGM has many health effects including recurrent urinary and vaginal infections, fistula, chronic pain, infertility, haemorrhaging, epidermoid cysts, and difficult labor.7 It has also its psychological impact and abnormalities in the female sexual function.

Media enquiries: UNESCO Dar Office, Tanzania | Mathias Herman | +255 755 195 459 | m.herman@unesco.org

Juba, South Sudan – The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MOGEI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for The Right to Health for the Education Sector Campaign with South Sudan HIV/AIDS Commission (SSAC) and UNAIDS.

The signatories were Dr. Riak Gai, the Minister of Health; Dr. Nadia Dudi, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports and who signed on behalf of the education Minister Mr. Deng Deng; Dr. Esterina Novello, Chairperson of SSAC; and Mr. Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS. The United Nations Representative, Mr. Alain Noudehou and the UNESCO Representative to South Sudan, Mr. Sardar Umar Alam were among those that participated in the event.

The purpose of the MOU is to enhance cooperation between the two ministries, SSAC and the Joint UN Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) to collaboratively develop and implement a strategy in line with the UNAIDS Fast Track Strategy, Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Ministerial Commitment on Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Sexual Reproductive Health, including tuberculosis, malaria and hepatitis in the education sector.

The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Mr. Michel Sidibe is in the country to meet with the political leadership to advocate for resources and support for the HIV response in the current humanitarian situation in South Sudan. Mr. Sidibe noted that the education sector is critical in the HIV response as it provides access to information on prevention, treatment and reduction on the impact of the disease.

He further recommended to reduce stigma and discrimination which deters people seeking and utilising HIV services.

According MOH, only 32% of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the country know their HIV status while only 14% of them are on treatment. These rates are extremely low as per the UNAIDS treatment for all strategy which targets 90%.

According to UNAIDS 2016 estimates, 40% of the 16,000 annual HIV infection were among young people aged 15-24 years. Close to 60% of the new infections are among females and also have higher records of deaths compared to males. However, while AIDS-related deaths declined by 1% between 2010 and 2016 among girls and women, there was an increment by 12% among boys and men. About 70% of PLHIV on treatment are women.

The MOU is anchored on the ESA Ministerial Commitment on Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Sexual Reproductive Health for adolescents and young people which was endorsed 8 December 2013 by 20 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa including South Sudan.

Since 2013, education managers have collaborated with partners to integrate CSE into the national curriculum, developed learners’ and teachers’ materials, sensitised community on CSE through media and supported the training of over 500 in-service teachers.

Meanwhile the MOH, is currently reviewing the Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Strategy with partners to ensure that critical areas are integrated into community programmes such as the Boma Health Initiative. The Boma Health Initiative provides for sustainable delivery of essential health care and public health programmes at the community level.

UNESCO is one of the key stakeholders in delivering CSE in the country.  This ground-breaking event demonstrates national commitment by the two ministries and partners as well as a promising coordinated response to step up efforts to realise the 2020 targets stipulated in the aforementioned ESA Ministerial Commitment.

The targets include increasing access to CSE and SRH services. It proposes to eliminate gender-based violence, child marriage and all new HIV infections amongst adolescents and young people. It also stipulates commitment to reduce teenage pregnancies by 75% as well as increase comprehensive knowledge of HIV prevention among young people.