IMPLEMENTING INTERVENTIONS FOR COMBATING SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN TANZANIA

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About Us:

Our Voices Against Harassment (OVAH) is a non-profit based in Tanzania dedicated to tackling sexual harassment and establishing a gender-just and violence-free nation. We provide a reporting platform (www.ovah.or.tz) through which girls and young women who have experienced sexual violence, such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, gender-based violence, and so on, can report in real-time, all from the tip of their fingers! OVAH runs a variety of Advocacy programs, including awareness and prevention workshops and seminars and Mwajuma Simama. This animation series educates Tanzanians and facilitates conversations about sexual abuse and harassment.

Our Vision:

To create a gender just and violence-free society in Tanzania.

Our mission:

To ensure the protection of women's, youth's, and children's rights in the social, economic, and environmental domains by combating sexual violence and empowering them to realize their rights and full potential.

Objectives:

  • Strive to eliminate all forms of exploitation, discrimination, and violence against women and children and advocate for a harassment-free community in Tanzania.
  • Promote equality and advance women’s rights, youth, and children at all levels of society.
  • Enhance the living standards of women and girls affected by different forms of harassment through social and economic empowerment
  • To build a country that has zero tolerance for sexual violence and upholds and protects the rights of children, youths, and women.

We are currently fundraising for the following initiatives/activities:

Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Workshops expansion to the Lake Regions Areas in Tanzania.

Our Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention workshops teach participants how to recognize elements of grooming, sexual harassment, assault, rape, and victim-blaming. They also learn about the concept of consent and how to get help if they are victims of sexual violence. OVAH conducts these workshops to children, youth, and adults in secondary schools and universities to raise awareness about sexual violence and encourage victims to report incidents. OVAH delivers these workshops using specific teaching materials that are engaging, and relatable to the target audience and achieves the goals of raising awareness and educating these youths such as the Mwajuma Simama Animation. We have been able to reach 1486 adolescents in the Dar es Salaam Region and aim to continue reaching more schools, and prioritizing universities.

Currently, we have most of the advocacy and awareness programs implemented in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's business capital and the region where most interventions and organizations focus their efforts; however, regions in the Lake Zone Regions (Mwanza, Shinyanga, Mara, Kagera, and Geita), are the ones that lead in gender-based violence and early marriages. According to the Demographic Health Survey 2015/16, the Mara and Shinyanga regions lead with 78% of cases of gender-based violence, teenage marriages, and early pregnancies. It was followed by Tabora, with 71 percent; Kagera (67), Geita (63), and Mwanza (60). With your help, we will be able to implement the Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Workshops in these regions, reaching primary and secondary schools with the aim to impact almost 3500 young girls and boys in those schools.

Mwajuma Simama Animation - Educational and Behavior Change Animation Series

Mwajuma Simama Animation revolves around the main character, Mwajuma, and her experiences with grooming, consent, sexual harassment, rape, victim-blaming, and other issues. The animation encourages victims to speak out about these incidents and urges society to create a better, violence-free environment for girls and women. This series of five episodes have already been released, however, we are looking forward to producing more animated videos with the aim of educating the public on sexual violence. Hence, we have a lineup of new videos we wish to create and thereafter distribute to affect behavior change in our communities.

Toll-Free Number for Victims of Sexual Violence to report

We encourage victims to report either through our website (www.ovah.or.tz), or by sending an SMS with the keyword “Case Report”. We collaborate with the victims/survivors with the best psychologists and legal personnel in the country to assist with psychological help and legal assistance/advice for the victims and survivors of sexual harassment/assault. All survivors of sexual assault, whether they were assaulted recently or in the distant past, are eligible for support. Everyone who seeks help and support from OVAH will be treated with respect. Our services are free, confidential, and open to the public.

We will be able to reach out to many more people with a free Toll Number, allowing them to report or simply speak up, as well as seek the necessary help, including psychological, legal, and medical assistance. This will help to end the silent culture that exists around Sexual Violence by holding perpetrators accountable and providing victims with a safe space to share their experiences.

Establishment of the Self-Defence Training Centre with a Dual Gender Program

According to Jocelyn Hollander, Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon and author of the most recent systematic review of the field, “Women's self-defense training is the only sexual violence prevention strategy with solid evidence of effectiveness at reducing rates of victimization. OVAH will require a specially designed training space in order to implement this program. Through this program, Girls will improve their assertiveness, boundary setting, and understanding of their rights as a result of the program, as well as develop the verbal and physical skills necessary to defend themselves in the event of an attack. Boys will develop gender-equitable attitudes, learn how to defend equality, avoid violence, ask for consent, and intervene when they witness or anticipate sexual assault.

Organizer

Modesta Joseph is the founder of Our Voices Against Harassment (OVAH), an organization with the vision to end sexual harassment in Tanzania.

Modesta Joseph is the founder of Our Voices Against Harassment (OVAH), an organization with the vision to end sexual harassment in Tanzania.

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