The project promotes the end of this and other harmful practices affecting too many children and women in Tanzania, and provides support and a new beginning for survivors.
What and How
Summary of the project
Hope for Girls & Women Tanzania (HGWT) is an organization that advocates to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices affecting women and children in Tanzania including but not limited to intimate partner violence, child marriage and other forms of violence. HGWT works to promote and protect the rights of girls and women by providing education to girls and the community at large, strengthening social cohesion, promoting positive social change and increasing the capacity of women and girls to live free of violence through increased access to protection facilities and skills development. HGWT's mission is to promote human dignity and respect for girls and women by:
Campaigning for the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices that affect girls and women in their community, promoting respect, human dignity and equality of all human beings;Empowering communities to break the cycle of poverty and inequality;
Supporting survivors of gender-based violence.
The history of HGWT is a history of its founder, Rhobi Samwelly. At age 11, Rhobi lost a close friend to FGM. When Rhobi’s parents began to organize her cutting ceremony at age 13, she strongly resisted. She abandoned a plan to run away when she realized she had nowhere to go. With no options, she underwent the ceremony during which she lost so much blood that her mother thought she was dying. These memories inspired Rhobi's commitment to save other girls from a similar fate. Her passion propelled her to become an anti-FGM activist and to establish HGWT.
------ Rhobi Samwelly
32% of women and girls aged 15-49 have undergone FGM in Tanzania’s Mara Region, where the practice signifies a girl’s transition from childhood to adulthood. It is considered honorable and is traditionally believed to increase a girl’s value for marriage.
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FGM modifies the female genitalia for non-medical reasons, a practice grounded in cultural traditions which risks the lives of girls between the ages of 1 and 15 and results in lifelong health complications. The United Nations warns that this human rights violation can lead to extreme bleeding, recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, infertility, complications during childbirth and newborn deaths. FGM perpetuates a cycle that sustains gender inequality and limits girls' ability to maximize their full potential in life.