Tanzania Human Rights Report: Sexual Violence against Children.


The content is a bit depressing but based on reality as reported by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) of Tanzania.

By Elvis Ng’andwe in Tanzania

The Day of African Child is officially celebrated on 16th June, it was inaugurated in 1991 by the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) currently known as the African Union (AU). The initiative was to honour the victims of the Soweto uprising in 1976 in protest to poor schooling conditions during apartheid in South Africa. Hundreds of Children were shot on that fateful day.

To date, the day remains significant and covers all the children across the continent of Africa. Today an African child is still exposed to so many atrocities that I can only list a few ranging from child soldiers, mass rapping of children in war zones, children born and die in war zone, no access to education, child trafficking, domestic abuse and all forms of sexual and physical abuse.

Instead focusing on the continent, our network resolved to focus on the children in Tanzania. While our children in Tanzania are not facing the challenges like those in war zone, they have their own challenges. This week of 16th June, 2020, we have had a series of discussions and exchange with other stakeholders on children’s rights and child justice forum in conjunction with the ministry of Constitution and Laws of Tanzania. Upon a lengthy of discussions, we observed that we needed to take action by giving talks and sessions in different schools starting with pupils then at another stage to the members of staff.

Last year the mayor of Tanga bemoaned the high rate of child marriages in Tanga and invited the child justice forum to address that issue. We could not start because we had no funds and the project is huge with a lot of schools. This year we are planning on starting the project together with our partners however little we will do, the situation has become more difficult than before due to the threat of covid19.

Below are some of the excerpts from the Tanzania Human Rights Report of 2018: The Police Data indicated that within 6 months they had received cases of abuse against children of about 6,376.

NB: Victims of violence against Children are more likely to become perpetrators of violence against children when they become adults. Let’s stop the rot now!!!

“In Singida: There is a case of a woman who sells traditional liquor. When she comes back home, she usually comes back with a man, both drunk. They engage in sexual activity; and when they finish the man turns to her 13 year-old daughter and rapes her. Different men come home every night and rape the child. Fortunately the Child has been rescued by the Social Welfare and was found to be HIV negative.”

“In Mtwara: A man reportedly attacked and killed a child after the child’s mother refused his sexual advances”.

“In Loliondo-Arusha: A secondary school teacher raped and impregnated a 15 year-old pupil.”

“In Nyegezi-Mwanza: A man was arrested for raping a 4-year-old girl”.

“In Iringa: a 45 year-old man was arrested for using a 14 year-old girl for commercial sexual exploitation and beating her when she refused to engage in sexual intercourse”.

“In Babati: a primary school teacher was arrested for sodomising a standard five pupil at school.”

“In Mbeya-Chunya: 8 year-old girl was raped to death by a 25 year-old man. Witchcraft belief was said to be the motive behind”.

“In Kilimanjaro: 10 pupils (5 boys and 5 girls) were reportedly sodomised and raped at unnamed school”.

At Tabora: a 6-year-old child in a boarding school was repeatedly sodomised at school.

Once his health started to deteriorate, his parents took him to the hospital for a checkup and he was found to be HIV positive. Supposedly, he acquired the virus due to sexual abuse suffered at school. His father was shocked, suffered stroke and then died.”

At Misungwi: A child aged 9 years was regularly sodomised by fellow pupils, aged 12 and 13. They would pull the child to the bushes while coming from school and do it. After sometime the teachers noticed that child was not okay, upon inquiry he told them the whole story”

In conclusion, the research findings indicated that witchcraft beliefs play a big role in prevalence of violence against children in Tanzania. People expect to get quick money through abuse of children, especially raping young girls. Majority of perpetrators of sexual violence against children in Tanzania are neighbours, close relatives, bodaboda drivers and teachers.

PDF DOCUMENT

African Child Week-Reflections. “We owe our children the most vulnerable citizens in any society-a life free from violence and fear – Mandela”

Tanzania Human Rights Report: Sexual Violence against Children.

CfSC Strategic Plan Launch


CfSC’s staff and other partners witnessed the launch of its 2020 – 2024 strategic Plan launch. The event took place on 18th June 2020 at its offices. Below are the highlights of the event.

The Centre for Social Concern

The Centre For Social Concern (CfSC) is a project of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers). In line with their vision and mission, the CfSC seeks to promote Justice and Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) and Interfaith Dialogue in Malawi and beyond. The Centre was started in 2002 and in its short history has been working on issues like:

  • A monthly review of the cost of living through the Basic Needs Basket survey.
  • The international debt burden, its causes and debt cancellation.
  • The linkage between the international trade system and poverty and the rising cost of living in Malawi.
  • The plight of the tobacco tenants and the promotion of the passing of a bill regulating tobacco tenancy labour.
  • A survey on how people who have very low salaries cope with the ever-rising cost of living.
  • Marginalization of religious communities and (the lack of) participation in development.
  • Dialogue between Islam and the Catholic Church on their social teaching.
  • Conflict management and mediation, mainly in conflicts involving religion.

Project List

The Centre for Social Concern in its analysis has established that poverty the factor that impacts most on human dignity of Malawians. It has therefore developed the following programs:

The Social Conditions Programme examines the poverty situation with reference to local conditions and causes.

  • This has as main recurrent activity the Basic Needs Basket (BNB), which is simple way in calculating the cost of living.
  • It does occasional research coming from the data collected through the BNB survey.
  • Another activity is Social Protection monitoring.

The Economic Justice Programme looks at the international contributing factors of the persistent poverty in Malawi. It examines the international trade relations and imbalances and how they impact on the cost of living.

It monitors the spending of funds freed through debt cancellation. It promotes tax justice through studying the present tax system and proposing a more equitable way, where the stronger shoulders carry the bigger burden.

The Human and Social Capital Programme works at assisting youth and others to be better prepared through information sharing for their tasks in society.

  • The library and resource centre assist especially youth and young students through providing study facilities and books.
  • The Press Review offers information about how the press reported the events month by month and so forms its readers to be critical.
  • The Awareness Programme on Human Trafficking helps people to understand the evil of this modern form of slavery and combat it.

The Religion as Transformation Programme helps making religion a positive force for change in society.

The furthering of Catholic Social Teaching wants to make this “best kept secret” better known so that it can influence people to contribute better to the transformation of society.
The Interfaith Dialogue project studies how the faith dimension contributes to both the betterment of society as well as to conflict.

Administration assists in the implementation of all activities.

For further information about CfSC Projects please contact The Director

Serving and living with God’s people.


By Hervé Tougma

Proud to be a member of our Society by my missionary Oath, I was ordained in and for the Church. I am a Missionary of Africa priest in the Church who is mother and educator. Since my ordination, the Society has granted me the grace and privilege to live in a parish in Mozambique.

In this semi-urban and semi-rural parish, my desire is to live a very active apostolate in which the collaboration between the pastoral team and the Christian faithful is felt and lived. This desire, which is a reality in our small and young parish, is the subject of a sharing on “the life and the participative management of our parish”.

Encounter with the right key

Hand in hand, we will build up the Church as God’s family. As a Missionary, I am aware of my contribution but the strength of the building will depend on the people who receive the Gospel, and allow it to penetrate their lives and be its life-giving source. In Mozambique, every confrere who arrives for the first time in this “Glorious Land” becomes a small library which is once again enriched with two languages: Portuguese and the local language. Taking to heart the invitation of our founder, Cardinal Lavigerie, learning the language brings us into the reality of the people and brings us closer to them. As Missionaries of Africa, speaking the local language remains a priority for the sharing and incarnation of the Good News, for breaking down barriers of communication and for coming into contact with and understand the local culture. Speaking the language already gives this joy of walking together.

In his missionary sending, Jesus said: “Go therefore, make disciples of all nations, (…) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20a). To make disciples of them and to transmit what the Lord Himself has commanded me, knowledge of the language is the key that allows me to be a happy and fulfilled missionary.

The Apostolate of collaboration, baptized and sent

Invited by the Bishop because of our charism, we have responded by taking a parish as a starting point for our apostolate of Justice and Peace and of Integrity of Creation JPIC). In the same perspective and taking advantage of our presence, the Bishop also asked us to join his pastoral team to initiate ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue with the growing number of Muslims in the region. The cosmopolitan reality of Tete calls for an integration of our specialisation with the pastoral needs of the Diocese. In this mining town and crossroads of travellers from neighbouring countries such as Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, we observe the intermingling of races and human mobility as ordinary realities. As Missionaries of Africa, managing a parish that responds to our vocation as ordained for the Church, the particularity of our charism propels us to respond to pastoral needs starting from the parish that serves as a springboard.

With very few diocesan priests, the Diocese counts on different congregations each with its own approach to mission, based on its Charism.

The absence of permanent catechists in the Diocese of Tete was a surprise to me. This reality provides for a very close collaboration with lay people and pastoral agents. For catechesis in our parish, we work with volunteer catechists. We have the presence of the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and the Ministers of Hope. The Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist assists the priest in the distribution of the Eucharist and brings communion to the sick. He also accompanies the priest at the appropriate time for visits to the sick. The Ministers of Hope collaborate through being close to the sick. In case of decease, the Minister of Hope leads the prayers for Christian burial when the priest cannot be present.

Within the framework of these two extraordinary ministries, each group is being prepared and trained before being sent out for witnessing to their faith through their ministry.

As pastors, we visit the communities for Masses and in the absence of the priest we count on their leaders for the celebration of the Word every Sunday. According to St. Paul “How could they call upon him, if they had not believed in him? And how could they believe in him without hearing him? And how can they hear him if no one proclaims him?

And how can they proclaim him unless they are sent?” (Rom 10:14-17). This responsibility is shared and the most important thing is to empower these lay leaders through prior preparation. The training and meetings allow us to journey with the members of the different groups and movements towards a precise horizon. We keep an eye on the organization and the life of the basic Christian communities. We visit these communities from time to time so as to accompany them and to remain in touch with the faithful. We also encourage them to practice solidarity in their daily living.

The reality of the mission in the field educates and teaches us. After a long time of formation, I discovered the necessity and importance of pastoral collaboration. In addition to the collaboration with the Pastor of the Diocese and his pastoral agents, I have learned to appreciate collaboration with the laity so as to live the apostolate of closeness in view of rooting the Gospel in the life and culture of people. The preparation I have received is being contextualised and teaches me to delegate, to share my experience and know-how with close collaborators for the building up of the mystical body of Christ: the Church.

Source : Petit Écho de la Société des Missionnaires d’Afrique, no 1109, 2020/03

A short history of the Centre for Social Concern at the occasion of clocking 15 years.


Several chapters of the society of Missionaries of Africa put increasingly greater stress on the link between mission and justice and peace, mission and dialogue. The chapter of 1998 speaking in the language of objectives and planning proposed to all the members that they should integrate justice, peace and the integrity of creation as an essential dimension of our lives as missionaries and to promote dialogue with those who are different in religion and culture. In Malawi during the post-capitular assembly the participants put this chapter decision into practice by evaluating all our commitments with as criteria: in which commitments (parishes) can we best apply the above-mentioned objectives. This led to a recommendation that we should both plan to handover some of the parishes we were running then, but also start new projects with the specific intention to respond to the challenge posed by the 1998 chapter. The Missionaries of Africa already had a centre dedicated to culture in Kungoni so we saw the need for a new venture, which would dedicate itself to Justice and Peace and the Integrity of Creation. This became the Centre for Social Concern. It took about three years of deliberation before we actually were ready to commence. Kanengo was chosen as the location, next to St. Francis Parish.

The infrastructure was first on the list. A house for confreres to live and an office block with a small library. We hired our first personnel. There was a small group of Missionaries of Africa who guided the process. The CfSC needed to find its niche in the ecclesial and national landscape. The CfSC also needed to find the funds to run it. Since the director had experience of working with CORDAID this Dutch co-financing organisation became the first partner to the CfSC. At the same time because of existing contacts with some members of GTZ, the centre was asked to assist in a project to research whether there is a link between (self)-marginalisation and violence. It was the time after the bombing of the World Trade Towers in New York and the project proposed to research this thesis. The CfSC was asked to do this. It led to our inter-religious dialogue project. Because what we found out was that there seemed not to be a direct link, but that even mainline religious groups were becoming more fundamentalist so that the normal ‘dialogue of life’ was not deemed sufficient to cope with this hardening of opinion and increase in prejudice. The conclusion was that a greater effort needs to be made to tackle prejudice and promote greater religious tolerance. The method followed was to do first a fairly in-depth appraisal to find out what is happening in a specific area and based on that to start some interventions, which lead to greater tolerance.  The centre bundled the lessons learned in Karonga and Nkotakhota in a book and at its launch, it was asked to tackle the tense situation that had arisen in Mangochi. Following the method proposed a team of researchers from different religious backgrounds started with the in-depth appraisal. The subsequent action was done by the ‘Forum for Dialogue and Peace’.

Promoting Critical Thinking

The library proved very popular and burst out of it seems. The room earmarked was far too small and new building was added to our infrastructure. It housed both a large meeting room and a library with reading room. In the meantime, the Centre employed an economist who was heading the economic governance desk and it embarked on its first strategic plan. It advocated for debt cancellation and used as a channel for this work the faith community leaders. It was at this time that the basic needs basket research was shaping up and being done in the four main cities in Malawi. Other donors came on board like OSISA, TROCAIRE and Misereor. While the first strategic plan was produced in 2005, there was need for a follow-up plan in 2008. This was the first plan for which the CfSC hired a consultant. 2011 and 2014 followed. In that way the CfSC tried to stay focused, refine its mission and adjust its vision according to changing circumstances. What helped it to focus were some of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching like: the option for the poor, the common good and the integrity of creation.

The Poorest of the Poor

One of the groups of people that deserved the attention of the centre were and are the tenants on tobacco farms. They are the forgotten ones but with their sweat they produce the crop that brings in a large amount of the foreign exchange which is needed to keep the economy going and cover the imports which Malawi needed to survive. Our cars, little do we realise that it is because of the sweat of tenants that we can drive them. But they themselves even today are oppressed. The much-touted Integrated Production System has only lifted the old system to another plain: now the landlords have become the tenants of the tobacco companies. Many of them still use the bonded labour, because of lack of sufficient liquidity to pay salaries on a regular basis. Without these interventions by Justice and Peace groups and the Centre for Social Concern, they would truly have belonged to the forgotten of the earth.

Human Trafficking

The centre started bringing to the attention of the nation those who were being subjugated to new forms of slavery: those who were trafficked either within or to outside the country. This work was in line with the work of the founder of the Missionaries of Africa, Cardinal Lavigerie, who played an important role in the abolishment of slavery in the eighteen seventies. Today human trafficking is the new slavery. The centre cooperated with women’s groups at first within the Catholic Church but later also with others, creating awareness about this modern scourge and training women to recognise human trafficking when it was occurring in their areas and to report it to the centre, which was taking further action. This was several years before Norwegian Church Aid made money available to several NGOs and supported action against human trafficking to the point of assisting the nation to draft legislation which made it easier to punish this heinous crime.

Inspired by Catholic Social Teaching

The centre did a survey in how far it is true that Catholic Social Teaching is our best kept secret: in other words, in how far does this body of teaching influence Catholic Christians. This was to prepare a project which was trying to introduce a value-based approach to policy debates. The idea was that the country needs not only sound economics but these economics must also be ethically sound. This in turn was part of the ‘active citizenship’ pillar of the 2014 strategic plan. In earlier strategies the centre referred to ‘building human capital’: An indication that the CfSC was recognising that integral development, justice and peace can only be realised when citizens themselves take to heart their own human development.

From ‘advocacy for’ to ‘advocacy by’                                                                                                          

Empowerment has also been underlying the efforts of the centre in its advocacy strategy to move from advocacy for to advocacy by. The centre started basic needs advocacy groups. These were trained in identifying the issues concerning their lives, their rights. They learned how analyse them, and how to link them to their rights as rights holders. With the help of the centre they had interface meetings with the duty bearers where they raised the issues. This led to duty bearers realising they could not just do business as usual. They had to account and become transparent. It also led to remedial action, like improving health services, school buildings, and the provision of clean water. The citizens started to realise that they did have power. If duty bearers did not respond the media helped by bringing the problems to the attention of the whole nation. This ‘rights-based approach’ to development has proven to be a powerful tool for empowering communities to take their own lives in their hands and do the needful to rise out of poverty.

Up and Downs

In our history we met, of course, with ups and downs like changing priorities among the donor partners. Working with people at the grassroots takes time and often the demands were for short-term results. While generally the CfSC can pride itself on a dedicated staff, this was not always the case. But all considered, the centre thought it was right that it celebrates 15 years of existence. The whole staff did so in the presence of some of our volunteers, partners, and well-wishers. It is gratifying to hear it confirmed that the basic needs basket is fulfilling a need and is eagerly awaited by many; that even if very slowly taxation justice is becoming a bit more of a reality; that networking has helped the tenants so that their cause is not forgotten; that the revival of the monster of unsustainable debt is at least brought to the attention of all stakeholders; that youth and adults find good literature and a conducive environment for study in our library; that people realise that they are the rights holders and can proudly refer to good developments in their areas because they feel they are equipped to for interface meetings with duty bearers; that so many people have been empowered with knowledge and graduated from being a victim of circumstances to agent of their own development. In other words, there was reason to celebrate. This was done on the 22nd of November 2018 through an open day. In the presence of Archbishop Tarsizius Ziyaye and colleagues from civil society, donor partners and co-operators, volunteers and beneficiaries the CfSC thanked God and showcased its work in the areas of social conditions research, economic governance, inter-religious dialogue and active citizenship. It was a great celebration like a crown on 15 years of learning, operating, implementing our vision and mission.

The Future

One thing we learned as an organisation is that development is a slow process. It needs an awakening of those at the grassroots, who are experiencing the problems often not of their own making. It needs dedication and commitment. It needs the contribution of all, especially those in power be they politicians or technocrats, NGOs or donors. Malawi is still one of the least developed countries. It is still referred as a country with one of the lowest GDP in the world. But the CfSC does not think that this is preordained. Charting its course into the future it wants to assist its clients to build on strength, to discover their potential and make it work for them and for the common good. This means that there is still plenty of work to be done. Reinforcing the rights-based approach. Continuing to bring together those who are different in religion and culture, to discover what unites and to make religion one the forces for the common good and against division. It needs the contribution of the Centre for Social Concern.

2017-01 CfSC Press Review

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Documentary Video: The Earth Our Home – conservation for integrity of creation


Documentary Video LaunchBy Romaric Bationo, M.Afr

FENZA organised and hosted the launch of the documentary video “The Earth Our Home: conservation for integrity of creation” by Fr Venerato Babaine, the Provincial Delegate of the Missionaries of Africa in Zambia. The event was held at FENZA multipurpose hall on 28th October 2017 from 14:00 to 16:30.

The launch was attended by dozens of people, including Missionaries of Africa, some religious, friends of FENZA and people who heard of the event. Considering the publicity that preceded the launch, and the invitations that were extended to various people and organisations, the attendance was rather below expectation. Among the distinguished guests there were Fr Thomas Banda, the Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator of Lusaka Archdiocese, and Fr Felix Phiri, the Provincial of the Missionaries of Africa in Southern Africa, who was also a keynote speaker.

In his opening speech, Fr Babaine spoke of the events that inspired him to embark in the production of the video. He disclosed that it is a combination of his childhood experience in Uganda, his missionary journeys in many countries of Africa and Europe, and the “cry of the Earth” that led him to the making of the documentary. He also said that he drew inspiration from the recent encyclical of Pope Francis, “Laudato Si”. In his speech, Fr. Babaine explained the purpose of the documentary. He said that the purpose of the video is to show the beauty of nature in Zambia, and to alert people on the devastation of this beautiful countryside due to human activity and lack of care. He said that the exciting thing about the documentary is that it exposed the exemplary efforts of conservation that are undertaken by many people and organisations in parts of Zambia.

Fr Felix Phiri in his address expanded on the place of creation in the Christian faith teaching and tradition. He explained how the integrity of creation has gained attention in the Church’s mission in the last decades and that it cannot be overlooked anymore today. He cited examples of concerns for the earth and creation from other religions. He concluded by commending Fr Babaine for producing the documentary, which he said is timely and would be another contribution to the care of the earth.

The producer of the video, the Catholic Media Services (CMS), was also given an opportunity to address the audience. Speaking on behalf of the director of CMS, Mr Mwamainda said that the CMS was delighted to produce yet another documentary for the Catholic pastoral work. Helping the Catholic Church, and pastoral workers to evangelise through the media, he said, is their vocation; and they are looking forward to being called upon for more such endeavours.

After these speeches, the video was ceremoniously launched; and the audience could view the documentary. This was followed by a short discussion. Most contributors welcomed the video and recommended it to be used in gatherings, schools and various forums as a tool to promote the care for creation. One intervener suggested that the content of the video to be put on other media such as YouTube for a wider reach.

It was another interesting event at FENZA, attended by concerned and supportive friends of the earth. “The Earth Our Home” is a short and easy-to-watch movie which combines a show of the beautiful nature in Zambia, a public education on the environment and a presentation of laudable works of conservation, which aims to inspire people to care for the earth, our home.

The DVD is available for purchase at FENZA and at the Missionaries of Africa Provincial House, for K50.

Venerato Babaine, M.Afr, DVD Producer – November 01, 2017.