Protecting Women in Tanzania: Prevention of Gender-based Violence through Indigenous Approaches

numerous crafted beige bowls made of natural materials standing on the brown ground © BOKU/Melcher Andreas

Cooperating countries: Ethiopia and Austria

Coordinating institution: Institute of Social Work (Tanzania), Dr. Zena Mnasi Mabeyo,

Partner institution: Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (Austria)

Project duration: 1 July 2021 - 30 June 2023


Women in Tanzania constitute a marginalized and vulnerable group that persistently experience various forms of abuse and violence, including domestic violence and sexual abuse. This violates their basic rights for survival, non-oppression and non-discrimination and hinder their smooth integration into society and attainment of social and economic development. Violence also negatively affects women’s health and well-being and contributes to female poverty.

Gender stereotypes, based on cultural norms, are often used to justify violence against women. However, there are also encouraging cultural attitudes towards women, yet these aspects are under-researched in the Tanzanian context. Hence, this project aims to explore culturally relevant, contextually appropriate and sustainable solutions to the problem through conducting an empirical research on indigenous approaches, norms and values that are deemed suitable to protect women and girls and safeguard their basic rights. Planned key activities include:

  1. Qualitative empirical research on norms and values that protect women from violence and abuse in three selected study areas;
  2. Organization of a dissemination workshop in order to share the results of the research with key stakeholders;
  3. Publication of three empirically based journal articles;
  4. Transfer of research findings into social work education and training;
  5. Communication of research findings to the wider public by means of public relations activities (“third mission”).

The project builds on previous work of the Tanzanian research team on culturally relevant indigenous models and local knowledge systems of problem solving and their subsequent integration into social work education and practice. The project is also another step in a long-lasting partnership between the two participating institutions: Since 2007, several joint research projects with corresponding publications as well as staff and student exchanges have been successfully implemented.