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British High Commissioner Calls for More Choice for Women and Girls

British High Commissioner argues that Tanzania’s huge economic potential can be helped by women and girls getting greater access and having more choice over family planning.

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HE Dianna Melrose
HE Dianna Melrose

British High Commissioner Dianna Melrose spoke at a Mary Stopes round table event on 13 February discussing the opportunities around Tanzania’s population growth. According to the 2012 National Population census 54% of Tanzania’s population are under the age of 20. Over the next 10-15 years Tanzania’s largest group of children and young people will enter the income generating phase of their lives. This is a huge opportunity for Tanzania economically as it strives towards becoming a middle income country. But, argued those at the event, Tanzania needs to invest more in its young people and part of this is about ensuring there is access to family planning so that they can attain their full educational and career aspirations.

Speaking at the event Dianna Melrose said:

“ I am delighted the UK is contributing to the important work of Marie Stopes Tanzania: £8 million over 4 years for contraceptive provision for Tanzanian women. This will give them vital choice over pregnancy. Having this choice is not just about reducing, for example, the number of deaths in pregnancy- though maternal mortality rates in Tanzania are shocking. It is about, in the words of Amartyn Sen ‘empowering women and girls with more choices and more freedoms… for a .. better future for all. Countries that have given more opportunities to women and girls in education have achieved greater prosperity and social progress for all.”

“Would I have become Balozi today if I hadn’t had the opportunity to choose when and how many children to have? It has been absolutely vital to my career. In the UK we see reproductive rights as fundamental!”

Published 14 February 2014