Women to women marriages (nyumba nthobhu): Violence among infertile women in Mara region, Tanzania

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This paper examines women to women marriages (nyumba ntobhu) and its relation with gender-based violence (GBV) in Serengeti District of Mara Region. It also explores types of gender-based violence and consequences of women to women marriages among women, girls and children in the society. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Questionnaire was used as a tool for quantitative data collection, while focus groups discussion and in-depth interviews were used as the main tools for qualitative data gathering. The study findings revealed that there are various forms of GBV practiced in Serengeti district such as wife batter, early marriage and women to women marriages involVing the old infertile women and young girls. This type of marriage is practiced for continuity of the old women ciao. The young girl is also the care giver of the old woman . Marriage between the two women is justified by the bride price paid before marriage; hence there is no intimate relationship between the two women . The man is selected from the clan of the old woman for reproduction purposes with the young woman. Gender-based violence are practiced before and after maniage to all individuals (old women, young girls, invisible husbands and children) involved. Consequences of women to woman marriage include the risk for contracting STis, and poverty among women raising their children as single parents. It is recommended that lobbying and advocacy by traditional leaders would reduce some of cultural norms exacerbating gender-based violence.


Tanzania Journal of Development Studies 2012, Vol. 12(1):


Gender-based violence, Women to women marriade, Infertile women, Bride price