‘Zanzibar Says NO MORE’ campaign launched to tackle domestic and sexual violence

08 March 2024
Press release
Zanzibar says no more campaign launched tackle domestic and sexual violence

A new ‘Zanzibar Says NO MORE’ campaign has been launched to put an end to domestic and sexual violence in the Tanzanian island archipelago.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, and Zanzibar’s Minister for Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Riziki Pembe, announced the campaign on 6 March 2024 during a visit to a medical camp, organised by the Zanzibar Maisha Bora Foundation.

Once operational, the local chapter will promote the safety and well-being of hundreds of thousands of women and girls in Zanzibar and will be part of the global ‘Commonwealth Says NO MORE’ campaign.

It will provide ministries, businesses and individuals with culturally sensitive toolkits to raise awareness, offer better support to victims, challenge harmful social norms and encourage bystander intervention.

Spearheaded by Zanzibar’s First Lady Mariam H. Mwinyi, the campaign will also support long-term efforts as part of a broader government strategy to end the abuse.

A global pandemic

Launching the new campaign, the Secretary-General, who is in Zanzibar for the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting, commended the First Lady’s commitment to ending gender-based violence.

Describing violence against women and girls as a global pandemic, she highlighted its alarming prevalence, affecting one in three women and girls within their lifetime.

The Secretary-General, who has made ending violence against women and girls one of the Commonwealth’s top priorities, added:

“Any other issue impacting one in three people, or men, would undoubtedly cause widespread outcry.

“We know this violence can be prevented and ultimately eliminated but only if we work together, with each one of us actively involved.”

Addressing attendees, including more than 200 members of the public, she continued:

“Through this campaign, all of you now have a shared platform to work together as active allies to break the silence on violence, support victims, hold perpetrators accountable, be effective bystanders and challenge harmful gender stereotypes.

“What you will do today will ensure that the suffering and pain of women and girls become a thing of the past. Only through collective action can we achieve peace in our communities, countries and the world.”

According to the UN, 14 per cent of women in Zanzibar experience physical violence and almost one in ten women experience sexual violence. Incidents often go unreported due to fear and shame.

Specialist support

In recent years, Zanzibar has implemented a range of measures to strengthen its efforts to protect women and girls from violence. These measures include setting up specialist gender desks in police stations to support victims and introducing a national action plan to promote an integrated approach to tackling violence.   

In a statement, the First Lady of Zanzibar said:

“In complementing the aspirations of my husband, H.E Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi, President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council, for a Zanzibar free from gender-based violence, the Ministry of Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children, through my Foundation, the Zanzibar Maisha Bora Foundation, has facilitated the development of a programme of action and operational plan for the prevention, protection, and response to gender-based violence.

“This plan will seamlessly integrate with the Zanzibar Say NO MORE campaign to raise community awareness, provide rehabilitation services to gender-based violence survivors, including psychosocial support, address post-violence health-related challenges, challenge harmful social norms (Muhali), and ensure that no one is left behind.”

Free medical care

During the visit to a village in Zanzibar, the Secretary-General was also shown how the ‘Afya Bora, Maisha Bora’ mobile camp provides free medical care to locals, especially women and girls while educating them about healthcare.

Over the past three days, the camp has served more about 3,700 people, including around 2,600 women, offering sexual and reproductive health services, nutrition advice, and youth-friendly support.

Commenting on the launch, Pamela Zaballa, Global CEO of the NO MORE Foundation, said:

“Zanzibar Says NO MORE embodies our collective commitment to ending gender-based violence and fostering a safer, more inclusive society.

“Through this initiative, we stand together to amplify voices, provide support, and enact meaningful change.”

Going forward, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the NO MORE Foundation will work with the First Lady’s Zanzibar Maisha Bora Foundation to roll out the campaign.

Media contact

  • Snober Abbasi Senior Communications Officer, Media and Public Affairs, Commonwealth Secretariat

  • +44 20 7747 6168 |  E-mail