Preventing Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Against Children in Tanzania

Building on existing community resources, Pathfinder works to prevent sexual and gender-based violence against children and adolescents in Tanzania.

In partnership with ActionAid, PANOS, and Muhimbili University, Pathfinder works to address gender-based violence against children and adolescents in Tanzania by reaching families and communities through several different channels.

Working with families

Pathfinder will work with its existing network of community health workers and ActionAid's community development facilitators, training them to identify and support children who are vulnerable to or experiencing sexual or gender-based violence. The project will transfer the skills and knowledge necessary for community workers to promote positive parenting and effective parent-child communication in the home.

Pathfinder aims to increase awareness among parents and caregivers about how normalization of violence as a means of discipline can lead to further violence and abuse outside of the home, increase willingness to discuss and address sexual and gender-based violence, and to encourage open communications for children to report violence to a trusted adult.

Strengthening communities

Pathfinder and its partners will also engage with community and religious leaders, and through them exert positive influence for change in the community. The project will help identify taboos around discussing sexual information with children as well as fear and repercussion of reporting and penalizing offenders of child abuse. Because Pathfinder recognizes that open conversation about these issues can be tough, the project uses Tailored Reflection and Integrated Learning (TRAIL) methodology, that encourages reflection, dialogue, and action. There are two key components that make the TRAIL approach successful: 1) It does not tell people how to change, but rather shows them what change looks like and 2) encourages change through outlining opportunities and actionable steps that give communities a way to move from reflection to action.

The project's success also relies heavily on male involvement, where Pathfinder and its partners will work to address gender norms and encourage reflection on what it means to be a man in society. Pathfinder will work with young fathers, young men, and adolescent boys to discuss healthy relationships, parenting, and how to be positive role models as caring fathers and partners.

The role of media

Because media plays an enormous role in influencing gender norms and behaviors, Pathfinder will work closely with PANOS to build the skills of reporters, editors, and producers to cover stories on child protection topics, helping combat stigma around the issue and raising public awareness about the child protection system.

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