The annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign originated out of the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 at Rutgers University in the United States. One initial goal of this campaign was to emphasize that violence against women is a violation of human rights. This point seems obvious today, but was a matter of contention at the time.

The American feminist and founding director of the Center for Global Leadership at Rutgers, Charlotte Bunch, argued in 1990 that, ‘despite a clear record of deaths and demonstrable abuse, women’s rights are not commonly classified as human rights… The narrow definition of human rights, recognized by many in the West as solely a matter of state violation of civil and political liberties, impedes consideration of women’s rights’. The two-week long institute and its campaign against gender-based violence sent a powerful message that issues such as rape, female infanticide, genital mutilation, compulsory sterilization, forced marriage, and discrimination against girls are violations of human rights.

To celebrate 16 Days of Activism in December 2017, we officially opened our safe house in the village of Kiabakari in the Butiama District and organized a march against gender-based violence. Girls from the new Butiama safe house and students from Kukirango Secondary School marched together to raise community awareness.


16 Days of Activism Ceremony 1
Here Rhobi Samwelly, our Director, speaks to the crowd at the opening celebration.


16 Days of Activism Ceremony 2
Rev Canon Francis Sender addresses the crowd. Behind the table stands Titus J Kamwaga (acting as District Executive Director), Dickson Mwandala (acting on behalf of the District Commissioner), and Major EP Mkama (head commander of the Kiabakari Tanzania People’s Defence Forces).
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This banner reads: Safe Houses Are One Strategy To Fight Gender-Based Violence and FGM.


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This banner proclaims: Butiama Without Gender-Based Violence Is Possible.


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This banner asks: How Will You Take Steps to Empower Girls to Stay in School?


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These young men hold a banner declaring: Wage War Against FGM, Educate the Girl Child


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Men played an active role in the march. Dickson Mwandala and Major EP Mkama are shown here leading the way.







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