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Child abuse in East Africa

Young girls who must marry older men no longer go to school. Forced genital mutilation rituals, child abuse and violence are common in East Africa. In Uganda and Tanzania, Terre des Hommes partners with local organisations to fight child abuse. Our programmes focus on awareness-raising among populations, combating poverty, protecting vulnerable children and providing medical aid and education. Join our fight. Stop child abuse in East Africa.

Child abuse in East Africa

In Uganda and Tanzania, many young girls are married off to older men. This stems partly from cultural customs. But it is often also due to poverty. Genitally mutilating teenage girls, against their will, is also a traditional custom. It is thought to turn girls into women. The consequences of these forms of child abuse and other violence are enormous.

Few girls go to school after being married off. Their development stops. They are often violently abused at home. Genitally mutilated girls are often left seriously injured. Girls who become pregnant at a young age are likelier to have problems during their pregnancy. Many are too young to process what is happening. Trauma and depression are ever-present.

Government and police officials who should be protecting the children are often powerless. They do not know enough about the problems and lack resources. The laws are usually flimsy.

Together with local partners, we are fighting child abuse in East Africa. We are trying to break the cycle of ignorance and violence. We provide girls protection, medical and psychological help and a safe place. This lets them go to school. We educate their communities about the harms of such traditions.

We train governments and police in how to deal with vulnerable children and better help girls who are victims of abuse. We also help punish their perpetrators.

Fighting child abuse in East Africa is complicated. Often the customs are deeply embedded and transforming a cultural tradition is hard.

Working with girls themselves, their communities and local organisations, we are protecting more and more girls. Together we are developing alternatives to harmful rituals that still honour their culture. Join our fight. Stop child abuse in East Africa.

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We fight ritual genital mutilation and child marriage with protection and knowledge. In East Africa, we want better protection for young girls, in particular. We want forced mutilation rituals to stop. We want to see an end to their being married off and abused. We want them to go to school.



Advocate for clear laws

Poverty reduction

Our approach

We fight child abuse in East Africa in various ways. We work with local partners who well know the regional customs. 

We remove children from dangerous situations. We provide them with shelter, medical, psychosocial and legal assistance. We ensure they can go to school, helped by their families and communities. 

In villages and communities, we educate family members and leaders about the consequences of abuse. We empower children to stand up more for themselves.

We help improve child protection networks. We work together to develop alternatives for harmful customs, such as genital mutilation.

Together with police and government officials, we work on better ways to help children. For example, we try to trace them early on and handle them in a way to prevent any further harm, for example, during interrogations.

We train police and prosecutors to better apply laws so perpetrators can be punished. We ask companies to help and fight sexual violence.

We help children who end up in care homes, or run the risk of doing so, find a better place insofar as possible. It could be with relatives or foster families. A safe place offers them more attention.

Join our fight. Stop child abuse in East Africa

Our approach is working

It is satisfying to see our approach bearing fruit in East Africa. The results are promising. But our work is hardly over. Many more children in East Africa remain victims of genital mutilation, sexual abuse and violence. They desperately need help.

Awareness raising

Better incomes

Legal assistance

Psychosocial assistance

Shelter & protection

Female genitale mutilation


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Follow our fight against child abuse. Keep an eye on our social media. 

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