Judith Kitinga (27) is a young activist from Tanzania, she believes as a young person she has the power to make sustainable development a reality. Now she’s being recognised for her impact.
“My passion is to change the community, especially to end all kinds of inequalities existing in communities between men and women. Coming from a patriarchal society and witnessing women being undermined and neglected from opportunities inspired me more to help these groups of people in order to end issues of gender-based violence.”
Judith is a health administrator by profession, holding a Bachelor’s degree in Health System Management from Mzumbe University. Her journey to make an impact in her community started in 2017 with the research she conducted in Songea Regional Referral Hospital as a university student. She used that opportunity to educate young girls about family planning and how to avoid teen pregnancy.
Judith was based in Namtumbo district where her responsibilities were; to create awareness in the community about issues of gender-based violence and family planning, conduct peer-to-peer training to educate and identify youth priorities, collect data to evidence a clear picture of the community, and to disseminate information to government leaders and the wider community.
Research shows that a number of women and girls are discriminated against and denied their rights due to regressive cultural practices like forced marriage and early marriage, exclusion from decision making and education, and domestic abuse. This research provides clear evidence on the situation and lays the ground for advocacy
“It makes me happy to see the impact I have made in the community I worked in as a Youth Accountability advocate. Now, issues of violence against children have reduced, and women have started to recognise their rights Faraja’s, story is a good example. Faraja who is married and has one child is a representative majority of women in her community who experienced gender-based violence. Faraja was denied access to engage in productive activities. Instead, she should wait to receive everything from her husband. Now Faraja is aware of her rights and she is a change maker in her area.
Faraja educates other girls as well as assisting them to take actions when experiencing Gender-Based Violence and violence against children, such as supporting them to go to the police station (gender desk) to allow legal procedures to be taken for the right solution”.
As part of her role in Tanzania, Judith represented children and youth globally at the United Nations High Level Political Forum (UNHLPF) 2018, in New York, where she got the chance to learn how young people in other countries are fighting to make positive changes in their areas
Recently, Judith has been hired as an assistant project coordinator – intern at Restless Development Tanzania in the Vijana Tunaweza Programme where she is coordinating the implementation of the project to ensure young girls have the ability to make their own informed and safe choices regarding their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, economic and social well-being. They also have opportunities to exercise leadership and participate in sustainable development, humanitarian action and in sustaining peace.
Judith is proud of her work both because of the change she has made in her community the lessons she has learned from people she meets in the field. She also emphasizes the importance of young people joining forces with leaders in order to promote the SDGs.