EU joins HelpAge in promoting and protecting older women's rights in Tanzania


by Amleset Tewodros

Over the years, an increasing number of older people, particularly older women, have been persecuted for alleged witchcraft practices in Tanzania.

According to the Legal and Human Right Centre in the country, 765 people, 505 of which were women, were killed due to alleged witchcraft accusations in 2013 alone.

Hadija is now able to share her witchcraft allegation experience with her community in Sukumaland. Hadija is now able to share her witchcraft allegation experience with her community in Sukumaland. (c) Jeff Williams/HelpAge International 2011

Why are older women targeted?

Deep rooted cultural practices, harmful traditions that legitimise gender-based violence and negative perceptions about ageing are among the causes of acts perpetrated against older women.

Promoting and protecting older women's rights

HelpAge International has launched a two-year project with funding from the European Union (EU) that aims at promoting and protecting older women's rights in Tanzania. This project will be implemented in Magu district, Mwanza Region by HelpAge International in partnership with Magu Poverty Eradication Rehabilitation Center (MAPERECE).

Working at community and national level

The project will work at the community level to improve awareness on older people's, and particularly older women's, rights.

It will mobilise and train community volunteer paralegals, older women spokespersons and support older people's associations who will work with the local government authorities, leaders, influential individuals and the law enforcement bodies to provide legal advice, counselling and referral while ensuring victims access justice.

Nationally, the project will work with the relevant central government authorities and law makers for better application of policies and laws that will protect and uphold the rights of older men and women to life.

The project will work with the media to help raise awareness about older women's rights, aiming to ensure these are integrated into the wider gender and human rights debate.

Shared learning experiences

It is expected that the project will provide lessons that will be used to scale up and replicate the approaches in various parts of the country.

The EU made this fund available through its European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) to tackle gender based violence that affects women of all ages. The EU provides about EUR 300,000 to protect older women from witchcraft related killings and violence.

This year is the European Year of Development. For more information, follow #EYD2015 on Twitter.

Post a comment | 1 comment

Comments submitted for this page

  • Krishna M. Gautam (03 April 2015)

    Accusing old, weak, and poor women is also a serious problem of Nepali society. Ageing Nepal would like to replicate this project in Nepal. Could you please advise us how to go about it.

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated before publication. Not all comments will be published

More info

Read the HelpAge blog