Funded by the Irish Embassy in Tanzania, Irish Rule of Law International’s Tanzania programme seeks to foster and strengthen partnerships between the police and judiciaries in Tanzania, Ireland, and Northern Ireland with a view to mutual learning and the improved handling of child sexual abuse (CSA) cases.
A community awareness session held by CDF at a school, 2021
In Tanzania, more than one in four girls, and more than one in seven boys experience some form of sexual violence before they reach the age of eighteen. Despite this, there is an underreporting of CSA and an inability of Tanzanian authorities to effectively investigate such matters. Ireland’s own history of dealing with CSA – initial underreporting followed by waves of prosecutions in the 1990s – has provided Irish criminal justice institutions with the expertise in how these types of proceedings ought to be conducted.
CDF meeting with communities in the Mpwapwa district, 2020
While this year places increased emphasis on strengthening high-level institutional links, last year IRLI worked with a local NGO, Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF), to raise awareness about available mechanisms for redress for victims of CSA. During this iteration of the programme, IRLI worked in-tandem with CDF to develop CSA-specific training-materials, and deliver training events to criminal justice institutions in Tanzania, as well as to social welfare officers and doctors.
Training course organised by CDF and the Tanzanian Women Judges Association (TAWJA), 2020
This year’s programme reached a milestone with the visit of four Tanzanian Judges to Ireland and to Northern Ireland during November 2022. The aim of the visit included mutual learning and knowledge sharing related to the challenges, practice, and procedure relevant to the handling of CSA cases in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Tanzania. Future stages of the project planned for 2023, involve police exchanges to Tanzania and Ireland and securing ongoing Judicial training events between the three jurisdictions on a regular basis, to build on the lessons learnt during the November 2022 exchange.
IRLI staff with Tanzanian judges during trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland, November 2022
Going forward, training events will be held on topics identified amongst criminal justice sector actors in the three jurisdictions, including a focus on obtaining high quality evidence through appropriate investigative best-practices for interviewing children and vulnerable persons and its subsequent presentation before the courts, for example through the possible use of video-link evidence for CSA complainants to give their testimony. Judicial training will be coordinated with Tanzania’s Institute for Judicial Administration.
IRLI envisions that the project will have long-lasting sustainable impact, and that CSA will be used as a vehicle to improve the investigations of crimes committed against vulnerable persons and victims of sexual and gender-based violence more generally.
With thanks to Irish Aid for its continued support of this programme.