Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) in Partnership with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Tanzania and in collaboration with Women at Web Tanzania (powered by Tech & Media Convergency), The Gender Desk (Tanzania Police Force), The Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports (MICAS), Transformative and Intergratia Bold out for all (TIBA) and Men Engage Tanzania have joined forces in supporting a campaign against online gender based violence which is to last for one month from today, April 16, 2020. This campaign will be done through reaching out to the mainstream media as well as online platforms from the month of April to June, 2021 with the hashtag #ZuiaUkatiliMtandaoni

Image courtesy of TAMWA: Representatives from FES, TAMWA, MICAS (from right to left in the front row), Men Engage (disguised), Women at Web Tanzania, Gender Desk and TIBA (from right to left in the back row)

TAMWA has been advocating against Gender-Based violence for more than a decade. With the growth of technology and internet users in Tanzania, they acknowledge the need to extend that effort to online gender based violence as well. TAMWA is alarmed with the increased online content of pornographic nature of young girls and women in the society with the alarming consequences that comes with what victims go through once exposed to the rest of the world in ways they had never comprehended, which results to psychological and emotional tortures to the extent that some women and girls take their own life.

The report from the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) showed that the number of mobile subscribers had reached at 28,470,506 with an increase of over 1.5 million in a span of a year of 2020. These increase in numbers is a promise for more digital citizens, thus more challenges to the type of content on the online space if at all it will be of quality. While it is a positive thing to have an increased number of the online community, there is still an imposed challenge of the majority lacking Digital Skills that not only enhances positive participation but also prepares the users for obstacles that can be incurred as well as how to become good Digital Citizens.

As stated by TAMWA and FES, the overall goal of the campaign against Online Gender-Based Violence (OGBV), is to spike awareness to the community on the existence of the problem and the need to advocate against it. As much as there are laws and regulations that prohibit sharing of nudes and materials of ponographich nature such as the Cyber Crime Law and the EPOCA Online Content Regulations of 2020; release of such content is still rampant in the online space making the majority of women and girls exposed and vulnerable in the community to the extent it deters their important plans and obligations at an individual and community level.

Representatives for FES, TAMWA, Women at Web Tanzania, Men Engage, Gender Desk, TIBA and some journalists from different media outlets

Online Gender-Based Violence is used by the perpetrators as blackmail, a weapon and means to hurt these women and girls for selfish reasons and in disregard with the emotional and psychological consequences faced by the victims. TAMWA and FES calls upon respective authorities, Civil Society Organisations to play a key role in addressing the challenge in ways that could promote better use of the digital space.

TAMWA and FES acknowledges a variety of campaigns to advocate against OGBV being done recently on the space and found the need to add to the movement so support, join forces and play part in being part of the solution in a time where the internet users are increasing at a speedy pace with consequences of an increase of Online Gender-Based Violence.

Women at Web Tanzania, The Gender Desk (Tanzania Police Force), The Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports (MICAS), Transformative and Intergratia Bold out for all (TIBA) and Men Engage Tanzania have together endorsed the campaign against OGBV and commit to fully support and play a role in the promoting safe spaces online and enhancing women participation online. Each representative from the mentioned institutions have pledged to take initiative to merge the campaigns in the programs in a way to create awareness to the community and to the rest of the team.

This launch posed a question on the availability of data in regards to the status of the Online Gender-Based Violence in Tanzania, a matter that is still a challenge at the moment. However, Women at Web Tanzania with other stakeholders is working on immediately initiating research to have segregated data on the online space. There has however been surveys that provide hints to the status of the problem, which clearly shows evidence that women and girls face more abuse and harassment on the Cyberspace compared to the male; the integral reason being rooted to the cultural traditional values and patriarchal systems in the community.

Women at Web Tanzania activities in summary, 2021

Women at Web Tanzania is a project funded by DW Akademie from German and has been advocating against OGBV since 2018 with aim to enhance women participations online through a variety of implementing activities such as capacity training for women (university students, women professionals, women entrepreneurs, journalists and women in politics), peer to peer psychological support, stakeholders engagement and online campaigns where you could get us through hashtags #MitandaoSalama #SafeSpaceTZ #TulindaneMitandaoni. We have currently launched a report on a regional advocacy campaign done in the countries of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda in November 2020.

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