Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived by birth within the country’s territory, or if abroad, from one’s parents. Tanzania’s Registration, Insolvency, and Trusteeship Agency estimated that approximately 20 percent of the population had birth certificates.
Registration of births within three months is free; however, parents who register their babies after three months must pay a fee. To encourage registration, children enrolling in preschool must present a registration certificate. However, this stipulation was not strictly enforced and public services were not withheld if a child was not registered.
Education: Primary education is compulsory and universal on both the mainland and Zanzibar until the age of 15. Tuition is free, but parents are required to pay for books, uniforms, and school lunches. Beginning in Form 1, the equivalent of the first year of high school, parents are required to pay fees for enrollment. As a result, many children did not attend secondary school.
Girls represented roughly half of all those enrolled in primary school but were absent more often than boys due to household duties.
Child Abuse: Violence and abuse against children was a major problem. The law allows head teachers to cane students, and corporal punishment in schools remained a problem, although less so than in previous years.
Child Marriage: The law provides that girls as young as 15 can marry with the consent of parents or guardians, although no consent is required for orphaned girls without guardians. The courts also have discretion to allow the marriages of 14-year-old girls in the case of pregnancy. Additionally, the law allows Muslim and Hindu girls to marry as young as 12 as long as the marriage is not consummated until the girl reaches age 15. To circumvent these laws, offenders bribed police or paid a bride price to the family of the girl to avoid prosecution. An estimated 37 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 24 were married before the age of 18, and 7 percent were married before the age of 15, according to UNICEF data collected between 2000 and 2010.
On Zanzibar multiple laws define the legal age of a child, including the penal code, which defines a child as an individual under the age of 18 who is not married or has not given birth. The Child Act of 2011 defines a child as any person under the age of 18. Under Islamic law, however, the age at which a child reaches puberty determines whether he or she is still a child.
Harmful Traditional Practices: The law prohibits FGM/C; however, some tribes and families continued to practice it as part of their tradition. According to a UNICEF survey, between 1997 and 2010, approximately 15 percent of women ages 15-49 were mutilated, and 3 percent of women had at least one daughter who was similarly mutilated. According to the survey, the average age of FGM/C victims was less than 10 years. FGM/C was practiced by approximately 20 of the country’s 130 tribes and was most prevalent in the mainland regions of Mara, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Manyara, Mbeya, Morogoro, Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and Singida.
Statutory penalties for performing FGM/C on girls under 18 range from five to 15 years’ imprisonment, a fine of 300,000 TZS ($190), or both. Prosecutions were rare. Many police officers and communities were unaware of the law, victims were often reluctant to testify, and some witnesses feared reprisals from FGM/C supporters. Some villagers reportedly bribed local leaders not to enforce the law in order to carry out FGM/C on their daughters. The media reported that others conducted the procedure in hiding, even on babies, to avoid detection by the law.
The government continued to implement the 2001-15 National Plan of Action for the Prevention and Eradication of Violence Against Women and Children, which enlisted the support of practitioners and community leaders in eradicating FGM/C. The Anti-FGM Network (AFNET) worked with education officers in the Serengeti to increase awareness about the negative effects of FGM/C. AFNET worked specifically with a group of students between the ages of 10 and 13 to help them gain the confidence to refuse the practice.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law provides that sexual intercourse with a child under 18 years is rape regardless of consent, unless within a legal marriage. The law was not always enforced. Human rights activists and NGOs complained that the Law of Marriage Act, which provides for marriages of 14-year-old girls, needed amendment to reflect the criminality of sexual intercourse with a child.
According to TAMWA, the incidence of child rape was rising, and the major causes included alcoholism, poor education, poverty, and superstition.
In July local media reported that Richard Mlingwa, a resident of Kalambo district, Rukwa Region, raped a nine-year-old mentally retarded child believing that doing so would make him wealthy. Mlingwa was arrested but was not tried by year’s end.
The law criminalizes child pornography and child prostitution. Nevertheless, sexual exploitation and trafficking of children for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation were problems. Persons found guilty of such offenses were subject to a fine ranging from one million TZS ($631) to 500 million TZS ($315,000), a prison term of one to 20 years, or both. There were no prosecutions based on this law.
Infanticide or Infanticide of Children with Disabilities: Infanticide continued to be a problem, especially among poor rural mothers who believed themselves unable to afford to raise a child. For example, in July there were news reports that Editha Nandi, resident of Chipu village, Rukwa Region, threw her newly born daughter into a pit where she died.
Displaced Children: A survey conducted in 2009 in 95 districts found that 849,054 children were living in “vulnerable conditions.” In April, Minister for Health and Social Welfare Hadji Mponda told parliament that of those, 33,952 children lived on the country’s streets.
Street children had limited access to health and education services because they lacked a fixed address or money to purchase medicines, school uniforms, and books. The government identified centers where orphans and street children could have access to these services in 89 out of 133 municipalities. These children were also vulnerable to sexual abuse.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.