Women's Voices from Tanzania: Edina's Story
Edina Francis comes from Tanga Region and is currently living in Makambako in Njombe District, where she works at a hair salon. She is unmarried and has one 18-month-old son.
Before moving out on her own, Edina was in an abusive relationship with her husband, whom she discovered was not being faithful. He traveled a lot, and during this time she says he began a relationship and married another woman. He kicked her out of the house when she confronted him about this.
“I didn’t tell anybody, because it is the norm that women in this region are taught to tolerate violent assaults perpetrated by spouses,” says Edina.
She was advised by her brother-in-law to visit the Social Welfare Officer (SWO) in Makambako. When her husband was called in to discuss the matter and settle the dispute, he refused to do so, until law enforcement intervened. He was made to pay TSh 60,000 (roughly $31) in child support every month. The SWO, trained by the RESPOND Tanzania Project in managing gender-based violence (GBV) and violence against children (VAC), plays a key role in supporting victims of GBV/VAC, managing their cases, and referring clients to the necessary services within the community.
Edina swears that she will never get into this situation again. She says that if she happens to fall in love again, she will be cautious and will ensure that they can be equal partners in the relationship—running a business together, sharing profits equitably, and having a committed marriage, including receiving a fair bride price for her parents.
Her son has been ill and suffering from a bloody nose. Edina wants to take him to the Regional Hospital for treatment, so the SWO handling her case contacted the child’s father to get an additional TSh 60,000 for these expenses. Edina says she would not have been able to confront him directly about this issue; the SWO has been a key intermediary between the two.