Research has shown that poverty, violence and other challenges faced by young children, especially girls, are a deterrence in achieving their potential and dreams. This is because, when at a very tender age young minds are sexually, physically and emotionally abused, harassed, and due to poverty faced with poor sanitation, poor health and do not get proper and quality education, they face inescapable challenges that will hinder their contribution to society in their adulthood. And all these acts take place in our societies.
In Tanzania, we have had a lot of new policies but usually no action is taken towards those who are responsible. Some of the major concerns include a lack of adequate promotion and protection of basic human rights, persistent discrimination against and violation of the rights of the girl-child, gender inequalities in the management of household and its wealth, and the inequalities in economic structures and policies, to name just a few.
We need strategic action in protecting the future generation. For instance, construction of water supply and sanitation facilities is not enough to improve the girl child’s health; effective hygiene education can reinforce positive attitudes and behavior that reduce or prevent risks among girls in school. Therefore schools should provide basic life skills education and involve the family and community to make sure that the girl child acquires her privacy and lives her full potential. This will in turn boost her education and health, and the nation’s wealth.
By Vianney Atugonza, a member of WYA in Tanzania.