Nchambi (not her real name) (17) lives in Maganzo in the District of Kishapu in Shinyanga with her family, but as a common occurrence to girls in various other parts of Tanzania she nearly became trapped in the world of child marriage following her father’s desire to marry her off early. Her father, Lyuba Seif, was intent on this marriage materializing in June, 2019 following his acceptance of dowry presented to him in the form of five heads of cattle and Tsh.300,000 in cash without even her knowledge.
“I remember seeing new heads of cattle at home and frankly speaking I thought possibly dad had decided on rearing livestock and for that reason I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary”, says Nchambi.
These events unfolded while all she had in her mind was the desire of acquiring an education that would one day enable her to be self-sufficient and lead a better life than the one her family endured. It is this apparent poverty that pushed her father to consider marrying her off and hopefully use the dowry as a bridge to an improved life for his family.
The small size of her community meant that news of Seif accepting cattle and cash for his daughter spread like wildfire. Men, women and youths at different times all talked about it not as a shock but rather as yet another one of such occurrences. This, however, wasn’t the case with everyone and those that didn’t want to sit and watch another young girl face the prospect of a bleak future while her peers were in school felt this was an opportunity to seize and act upon.