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Chesvingo Safe Market in Masvingo almost complete

Story by Mercy Bofu

THE government and its partners are establishing Chesvingo Safe Market and One-Stop Centre in Masvingo to facilitate economic empowerment and security within public spaces.

The Chesvingo Safe Market and One-Stop Centre is expected to promote women empowerment through job creation, while at the same time providing a safe space for their children to learn.

The institution, which is almost complete and expected to cater for nearly 100 women, has a market centre, pre-school, play centre and a one-stop centre to help sexual and gender-based violence victims.

“This is a great development in our area, we used to haphazardly set up our stalls and it had a lot of dangers, especially with the local authority,” said a Masvingo woman.

Another woman said, “Now we will be able to fend for our families at the same time looking after our children. Again, as women sometimes we are victims of sexual and gender-based violence, this institution will provide safe shelter and counselling.”

The government says the project, which will be rolled out in several areas, is meant to ensure gender mainstreaming and women empowerment.

“Our government is committed to ensuring women are empowered and at the same time protected. We are working on several similar projects in different areas to provide safe markets for women and youths,” said the director for women empowerment in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Ms Julia Mapungwana.

The project is part of the US$3.5 million grant by the African Development Bank (AFDB) implemented by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Masvingo City Council to promote access to safe markets for women and support gender mainstreaming.

African Development Bank country manager for Zimbabwe, Ms Moono Mupotola said, “This is part of a project that is about US$3.5 million, a grant financing that we are providing to the government of Zimbabwe. Masvingo is one of our sites where we are supporting safe markets, in other areas we are supporting dairy, horticulture and refinement of germs.”

“We are very mindful of the fact that women have a lot of responsibilities in addition to the economic work. This safe market is going to allow women to balance their care responsibility at the same time having a livelihood,” said the officer in charge of the ILO Country Office for Zimbabwe and Namibia, Ms Annamarie Kiaga.

Masvingo Town Clerk, Engineer Edward Mukaratirwa said, “The concept is such that we have a market where we sell normal products like flea market stuff and fruits and vegetables. We also have a play centre and a pre-school and a counselling centre where those that need counselling will receive it. It becomes a one-stop centre for our women and the project was established to the tune of US$ 80 000.”

Several programmes are being rolled out by the government to ensure women’s empowerment including the establishment of a Women’s Microfinance Bank.

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