March 9th, 2023 | Richard Ryaganda and Michael Luvanda
DAR ES SALAAM – About 130 women and young girls of Temeke district and its vicinity joined UMATI female staff in commemorating the 2023 International Women’s Day. This special occasion to celebrate and appreciate women creation themed ‘Advancing Gender Equality Through Universal Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights’ took place at UMATI Temeke youth center in Dar es Salaam.
A high table group photo during the International Women’s Day event.
The event was graced by key government officials including Mayor and Deputy mayors of Temeke municipal, district reproductive and child health coordinator and local government representatives. All female staff from UMATI led by Executive Director Ms. Suzana Mkanzabi were present at the event and joined other community members from Wailes ward, young mothers and students from Wailes secondary school.
Service providers from UMATI and government provided sexual and reproductive health counselling and services including family planning and cervical cancer screening. Teen mothers’ champions gave a testimony of how UMATI played a role in rescuing them from the dilemma of teenage pregnancy that led to school dropout and provided skills which are helping her to feed her two children. There was also a drama group from UMATI youth center that portrayed the challenges of child marriage that girls face and are forced to leave school because some parents believe in dowry than their daughters futures.
UMATI Executive Director in a group photo with women from Temeke the IWD event.
Reflecting from the drama, Amina, a form three student from Wailes secondary school said “The dowry is not worthy of my knowledge and skills. Education has no end because knowledge is power but dowry will just be gone in a short period of time. I would rather use my education doing a small business than being an illiterate child wife”.
Guest speaker and Temeke district reproductive and child health coordinator, Dr. Catherine Mbeyela addressing women and girls during IWD event.
The event guest speaker and district reproductive and child health coordinator Dr. Catherine Mbeyela told fellow women and young girls that “as women of age, we may have different health related issues of concern and therefore it is important that we create a habit of regular health checkup to understand our bodies and the change they bring”.
She also spoke with young women saying “the government have created and continues to create friendly environment for you as young people to get friendly sexual and reproductive health education, information and services to aid you with achieving your dreams and goals in life. You should not be afraid to visit a health facility to learn about your growth and access to services according to your age and need”.
UMATI Executive Director, Suzana Manzabi addressing the audience at the IWD event.
Speaking with women in attendance, Ms. Suzana Mkanzabi, UMATI’s Executive Director said “our health is our life, when we as women have good health, we can make an impact to our society and families. We ought to be in the frontline in protecting our health because selfcare and love is important to each and everyone of us. As we have discussed, sexual and reproductive health services is good when you get it from the right professional, so let us talk more about what matters in life and always aim for decisions that we are informed about.”