WITH EDUCATION AGAINST SEXUALISED AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
INTERVIEW WITH ELIZABETH MUSHI, KWIECO TRAINER
What experiences have you had in your engagement against gender-based violence?
The majority of the communities are unaware of key types of GBV and its implications for the human development indexes. Not only women and children are victims of GBV, also men are. However, men are more reluctant to report and have formal access to justice. Unfortunately, the traditional system of conflict resolutions contradicts reporting gender-based violence as it is perceived as a curse to the victims: The GBV perpetrator has the right to be forgiven in case h/she acknowledges his/her violent act and dares to ask for forgiveness.
Culture has been termed as one of the challenges in attaining a society that is free from gender-based violence. How do you deal with it as a trainer and which tools have proven useful to inspire constructive dialogue?
It is very true that culture has been a challenge to attain a society that is free from GBV. The most used and productive approach we apply to initiate constructive dialogue is by engaging traditional leaders: we train them and advocate for them to be ambassadors of change, to support and increase awareness on behaviour changes, attitudes and practices facilitating GBV in the communities. We develop collective community action plans, result based meetings and share progress of changes by using outcome markers. We also take part in community engagement forums; we discuss gender, basic community laws (inheritance, will preparation, marriage, and land and child rights among others) as well as human rights and their legal implications. This approach has increased community understanding of the importance of human rights respect in the communities. Capacity building on gender response services is part of the training for human rights defenders and those who are administering the justice system. Key tools used include Tanzania laws, the Constitution, the national action of a plan to end violence against women and children and other international protocols. This has been a powerful reminder to the duty bearers about the importance of ethical accountability when dealing with gender issues.
How do you see the closing of the gender gap through training in communities you have worked with?
The situation is promising, although there is still a lot of work ahead. We can observe an increase in skills and knowledge application on human rights issues. The gender gap in terms of access to education and roles in society is now a discussion within the government and the local government we are engaging is at the centre of the matter. However, gaps relating to employment opportunities and decision-making bodies is still a challenge. This, however, requires a long-term intervention and in most cases comprehensive parenting in family level socialization processes, as well as intensive school clubs engagement.