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Friday, July 19, 2024

Zimbabwe launches 16 days against gender based violence campaign

Story by Memory Chamisa

ENDING Gender Based Violence in communities and increased focus on protection and support to victims has been cited as critical in strengthening cope up mechanisms.

Various development partners and Ambassadors of countries such as Canada and Sweden joined Zimbabwe in launching the 16 days of activism against gender based violence campaign this Friday in Harare.

The campaign is a precursor to the commemorations which are marked from the 25th of November to the 10th of December annually, globally.

According to the 2022 ZIMSTAT statistics, one in every three women experience physical or sexual violence at one point in their lives which alone is a cause for concern.

“As we embark on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, let us honour and acknowledge the leadership of women’s movements and amplify the voices of young feminists and youth-led organisations. Let us adopt a survivor-centred approach, recognising and prioritising survivors’ rights, safety, dignity, and confidentiality. Together, by challenging gender norms and dynamics, we can bring about transformative change,” said United Nations Resident Coordinator ad Interim, Francesca Erdelmann.

“Sexual and gender-based violence is prevalent and under-reported in Zimbabwe. Raising awareness of GBV in Zimbabwe is important, and we have a difficult task ahead of us,” noted Canada’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Adler Aristilde.

Deputy Head of Mission of Sweden to Zimbabwe, Dr Berthollet Bwira Kaboru weighed in, “Ending Gender Based Violence is a critical component of Sweden’s support to Zimbabwe, with a focus on increased protection and support to victims of violence, greater emphasis on preventive work, higher standards and greater efficiency in the judicial system, increased cooperation, and coordination among stakeholders, raising awareness and enhancing knowledge and competence.”

Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minster, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa described the establishment of one stop centres by government and development partners as being instrumental in combating gender-based violence.

“My Ministry has established One Stop Centres in Rusape, Gweru, Gwanda, Bindura, Chinhoyi and Bulawayo, and it is our intention to have these set up in every Province. A One Stop Centre provides comprehensive GBV services under one roof. These include Health care, Legal support, psychosocial support and protection through the Zimbabwe Republic Police. We have managed to set up these Centres with support from UNFPA, SIDA (Swedish Fund), Government of Japan and in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care as these centres are situated within hospitals.

“2023 will see the setting up of two additional One Stop Centres in Marondera and Lupane, with resources from the Government of Zimbabwe. This year alone, the 6 One Stop Centres have offered services to at least 1 500 survivors of gender based violence,” she explained.

This year, the campaign will run under the theme ‘Unite Investments to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls’, with Mutasa District in Manicaland Province set to host the national commemorations on the 26th November of this month.

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