The government and various stakeholders recently converged to launch the 16 days of activism against gender based violence in Harare which is set to start from 25 November to 10 December.
The movement, which is commemorated annually will see this year’s edition running under the theme: ‘Unite Investments to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls. The National commemorations will be held in Mutasa District in Manicaland Province on 26 November.
The launch was graced by various dignitaries, including the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Monica Mutsvangwa, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Francesca Erdelmann, Canada’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Adler Aristilde and the Deputy Head of Mission of Sweden to Zimbabwe, Dr Berthollet Bwira Kaboru.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the establishment of one stop centres by government and development partners is 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 said.
U.N resident Coordinator Mr Erdelmann said Zimbabwe should honour and acknowledge the leadership of women movements and amplify their voices against GBV.
“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 Erdelmann.
Canadian Ambassador to Zimbabwe said raising awareness of GBV in under-reported areas in Zimbabwe is an important task for every member in the society.
“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,” Aristilde said.
Deputy Head of Mission of Sweden to Zimbabwe, Dr Kaboru added that his embassy will give its full support of initiatives that contribute to ending GBV.
“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,” he said.
The 16 days movement is aimed at ending GBV in the world. It is commemorated annually across the globe.