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Profile: Judith Kitinga, Tanzanian gender activist:

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Profile: Judith Kitinga, Tanzanian gender activist:

Judith Kitinga
Judith Kitinga

By Adam Melville

Twenty-seven-year-old Tanzanian gender activist Judith Kitinga has set for herself a mission to change the plight of young girls and women in her country. Ms. Kitinga is fighting against sexual abuse, other forms of violence against women and girls, child marriage and gender discrimination.

According to UN Women, a body that promotes gender equality and empowerment globally, two out of five women in the 15 to 49 age range in Tanzania have experienced physical violence while one out of ten women aged 15 to 49 years is a victim of forced sexual intercourse.

Last July, Ms. Kitinga brought her advocacy to the 2018 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the UN Headquarters in New York. “I am here in the USA to represent the voices of young people from different parts of the world,” she told Africa Renewal. “I believe that the youth are the source of change in any community because they have confidence and power.”  

In Tanzania, she is involved in many projects, including “Tutimize Ahadi,” which addresses gender-based violence and violence against children—and which embodies the commitments by governments, the UN and other bodies to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  

Ms. Kitinga is also one of Tanzania’s 20 Youth Accountability Advocates for Restless Development, a US-based organization that supports youth engagement in economic and social development. Advocates are young professionals trained to design and implement a national monitoring and accountability framework for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In her gender work, Ms. kitinga also canvasses for increased youth participation in national development, including adopting youth-friendly approaches in tackling gender inequality. She also intends to focus on data-driven accountability.  

“The vision is to expand not only in Tanzania but globally, to ensure that more young people are aware of the power they have to make a change in society,” Ms. Kitinga said.

Projects undertaken at the local level do reap benefits.  For instance, in Tanzania’s Namtumbo District, young people regularly organise peer-to-peer training and education on gender issues and violence against children, and help to raise awareness of family planning, modern contraceptive methods, sexual rights and the importance of education.

Ms. Kitinga’s message to the youth is simple: “Have passion and confidence. When you cooperate and work together, it’s easy to achieve what you set out to do.”  

 

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