Panel Discussion: Spotlight on Progress "Moving up the Agenda: Public and Political"

Context: This presentation is from one of the 14 "Spotlights on Progress" video-recorded sessions from the Girl Summit 2014, London, United Kingdom (UK). The sessions were organised to share best practice between practitioners, grassroots activists, and government ministers across the issues of female genital mutilation (FGM) (also FGM/C - female genital mutilation/cutting) and child, early, and forced marriage (CEFM). Girl Summit is a project of the Department for International Development (DFID), UK.

Profile of speaker: A featured panelist of this Spotlight session was Magreth Kibasa, Children's Dignity Forum (CDF), Tanzania, whose presentation was entitled "Mobilizing Actions to Safeguard the Rights of Girls against FGM and Child Marriage". Ms. Kibasa escaped from a child marriage at age 13, through the CDF, and is now mentor for 100 girls through the CDF. She is from Tanzania, 19 years old at the time of this presentation, with 2 children. From the introductory document: "Magreth was born in 1994 in Tarime in Tanzania, an area known for practicing FGM.  She was married at 12 and has two children; her first was born when she was 13. Magreth managed to escape marriage. She joined a Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF) Girl’s Club and was trained on a range of issues including her rights, the effects of FGM and income generating activities. She became a peer educator for other girl’s and with CDF’s support, went back to secondary school. Magreth is now Chairperson of Tunaweza Girls Network."

Strategy overview: Ms. Kibasa worked with women to do CDF research among peers to better understand the problem of child marriage and learned photography to take pictures to exhibit the life of girls in her community, as part of the research. The Tunaweza network was established following the CDF research project to be better able to campaign to protect girls and women from FGM and CEFM. Training through the network involved peer research, confidence building training (through photography, drama, art, and dance), and economic and business skills training. The Tunaweza network has more than 110 girls committed to creating awareness of the effects of FGM, CEFM, and child pregnancy.

As chair, Ms. Kibasa works to give the women in her network information and to ensure that the messages and work of her network are known to the community. They have been collaborating with village leaders to save women and children. At the same time, they collaborate with different government organisations and the police when women have these problems.

Tunaweza has been able to educate more than 1,000 girls in the risk zone for FGM and CEFM; and, at the same time, 150 women who have run away from their homes to escape FGM and CEFM have been given information about their options and economic training to start businesses to help themselves and their families. The network's goals are: continued collaboration with the community to help girls and women, expanded networks of girl clubs, and continued door-to-door information campaigns against FGFM and CEFM and on behalf of women.

From Summit documents: "CDF is a child rights based organization.  Its work is focused on child marriage, child pregnancy and FGM, child protection and child participation. CDF works on these through: community dialogue and consultative meetings and workshops; capacity building and empowerment trainings; awareness raising campaigns; media advocacy through radio and TV; research, publications and documentation of best practices; and service provision which involves helping young mothers to start income generating activities. See the CDF website for more information including a documentary on child marriage and FGM."

From the One Year On document [PDF format]: "On 26th, August 2014, Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF) in collaboration with UNFPA Tanzania, Graça Machel Trust (GMT), Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) and the Ministry of Community Development Gender and Children together launched a National Campaign to End Child marriage in Tanzania, a campaign which was branded 'Child Marriage Free Zone' to be piloted in Mara Region. The campaign was launched by Ms. Graça Machel. The launching event brought together high level dignitaries including former Tanzania President Hon. Benjamin Mkapa, Former Prime Minister Joseph Warioba, Head of UN agencies, Development Partners EU, DFID etc., regional and districts commissioners, girls and young women etc. CDF as the Secretariat of the Tanzania Ending Child Marriage Network worked closely with the Ministry of Community Development Gender and Children (MCDGC) to make sure that the Tanzanian Government signed the Girls Summit Declaration. In November, 2014 TECMN prepared a letter to the Government of Tanzania, through Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, to request the Government of Tanzania to Co-Sponsor the UN General Assembly resolution on child, early and forced marriage, the action was successful and the Tanzania Government agreed to co-sponsor the resolution."
 
Overview of this Summit session: From the Girl Summit summary document: "An exchange of experiences in getting FGM and CEFM onto the agenda and building public and political support to end these harmful practices. Lessons will range from local to international action, highlighting a range of approaches from networks and coalitions to campaigns and the media. Discussion will focus on key elements that have contributed to success, how to capture more attention and create more pressure, and challenges in keeping FGM and CEFM high on the agenda."

The speakers for this session are:

Introduction: Permanent Secretary Linus Awute, Ministry of Health, Nigeria.

Magreth Kibasa Children’s Dignity Forum, Tanzania.

John Chua,Wadi.

Dr Albino Francisco, Executive Director, National Coalition to Eliminate Child Marriage.

Elise Petitpas, Advocacy Officer, Amnesty International.

Naz Ahmed and Lisa Zimmermann, student and teacher - The City Academy Bristol/Integrate Bristol.

"The session is moderated by Saroja Coehlo, Radio Editor and Presenter."

Footage of this (available below) and other "Spotlights" are available on DFID’s YouTube channel.

The Girl Summit is a project of DFID. Click here and scroll down to see the full list of individuals and organisations committed to working on girls' issues, as well as a list of Girl Summit Charter signatories.

Source: 

DFID Girl Summit Outcomes website and the CDF website, accessed on August 21 2015.

See video