Source: Daily News

ACTIVISTS have urged the government to step up the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV), especially in the Lake Zone where the problem is now becoming serious.

It is reported that some families in Lake Zone have come up with the malpractice of abandoning their female children in thick forests after becoming pregnant before undergoing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a practice which is also banned in the country.

A-16 year old girl (name withheld) is among the victims, who was recently found abandoned in Serengeti Forest in Tarime District, thanks to the Association for Termination of Female Genital Mutilation (ATFGM) officials and Police officers who came to her quick rescue.

"She is currently accommodated at the ATFGM facility and has already given birth to a baby boy," ATFGM Project Manager, Mr Valerian Mgani told journalists on Tuesday.

Reporters paid a visit at the AFTGM offices soon after they attended a capacity building workshop on how best to report on Gender- Based Violence (BGV) cases, a training that was organised by CSema- Tanzania and Tanzania Development Information Organisation (TADIO), under sponsorship of the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA).

"She was left there to be a prey for wild animals. A Good Samaritan informed us, forcing us to rush there where we found her in an unconscious condition," Mr Mgani said.

"It is believed that before abandoning the victim, members of the clan perform some rituals that make the victim unconscious until when the animals approach and kill her," he added.

Mr Mgani said that girls are dumped due to beliefs that getting pregnant is an abominable offence that might cost lives of all the members in a particular community. He invited all members of the society to fight the outdated beliefs and practices.

ATFGM Legal Officer, Ms Dora Ringo said that the suspects were arrested but nothing went on due to lack of the direct evidences to convict them.

According to her, the ATFGM had communicated to the girl's family, which strictly refused to accept her, unless she undergoes mutilation practices.

"The day we took her to her family's home after we made efforts to reunite her with her family members the reception was good. However after spending about three days the situation changed one day during the mid-night after she was attacked, with attackers forcing her to undergo FGM," Ms Ringo narrated.

Fortunately, she escaped to the nearby police. "We once again visited the home to collect her baby and they are all here," she said.

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