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Breaking the silence surrounding sextortion at community level

Irish Aid is helping communities in Tanzania combat sextortion. Sextortion is when women and young girls are put under pressure by figures of authority to exchange sex for jobs and school places. It is the abuse of a position of power or authority to extort sex – women and young girls can even be targeted when in police custody. 

WAJIKI Group is a small community based organisation based in the Dar es Salaam suburb of Mwananyamala and led by a group of 12 business women.

With the help of a small grant from Women Fund Tanzania (WFT)*, WAJIKI was able to go door to door in their communities to increase public knowledge that sextortion is a crime and needs to be reported.

WAJIKI organised a series of workshops at community level with officials from the nearby police station and street leaders in the surrounding communities of Mwananyamala to raise awareness on sextortion and discuss how it happens in their communities. WAJIKI reached out to 5,000 girls and women through these workshops.  

In addition, WAJIKI led an innovative door- to- door campaign which targeted 900 households. This door to door campaign exposed hidden cases of sextortion as communities were empowered with the information to call sextortion out as a crime.

Irish Aid provided financial support to Women Fund Tanzania (WFT) in 2015-2016 to provide gender-sensitive civic education and to contribute towards a public debate on sexual corruption in the run up to, during, and after the 2015 general elections. As a grant-making and movement building organisation, WFT provided smaller grants to coalition members and CBOs that have a presence at the grassroots level.

 

Gender equality and women’s empowerment is at the core of Ireland’s International Development Programme, One World, One Future. We believe that gender equality is a prerequisite to development and we are committed to developing and supporting gender-responsive programming and policy.

The Sustainable Development Goals, agreed by the Global community in 2015, include one   specifically on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. Goal number 5, contains targets on ending all forms of violence and harmful practices against women and girls.

One World, One Future identifies gender-based violence (GBV) as a fundamental abuse of human rights. The term, GBV, describes acts of sexual violence, physical violence and harmful traditional practices.

One in three women worldwide experience physical and/or sexual violence. This can have a serious impact on the health and well-being of survivors with long-lasting physical and psychological effects. Fear of GBV can often inhibit women’s participation in decision-making and leadership. The prevalence of GBV is also particularly high at times of humanitarian emergencies, especially in times of conflict, when normal systems of protection are often undermined.

As a result, Irish Aid has prioritised policy development, funding and research to address GBV.