Statement on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

The Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYCD) joins the rest of the international community in commemorating the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence under the theme; “ORANGE THE WORLD: GENERATION EQUALITY STANDS AGAINST RAPE.” This year’s theme resonates with the efforts that we have been undertaking in our endeavour to empower young women and girls against harmful cultural practices in Chipinge. We will have varied activities in Chipinge district that will start from the 25th of November 2019 and ends on 10 th of December 2019.

Chipinge district is a conservative community that has strong patriarchal beliefs, power and control that have created social environment for the perpetuation of gender inequalities. Through our #NdirimunthuNgeanthu campaign, PYCD has put the issue of sexual violence, rape and abuse of young women and girls on the spotlight. We have increased awareness on violence and rape against young women and girls through women hearings, door to door campaigns and interface meetingswith traditional leaders among key community stakeholders.

The 2019 activities are configured around the narrative of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as it has been realised that gender discrimination is still woven into the fabric of social norms. PYCD is of the belief that gender equality, quality education, good health and well-being, sustainable cities and communities, peace, justice and strong institutions will bring impetus to the elimination of violence and rape against young women and girls.

PYCD will officially launch the commemorations on the 2nd of December 2019 at Checheche growth point, through a march that will fold into a mobile clinic to afford the community at large to interact with free legal aid through one of our partner, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).From the 25 th there will be various activities in selected wards of Chipinge Rural District Council. These activities will include women hearings, men’s forums, interface meetings with traditional leaders as well as understanding the plight of sex workers, door to door campaigns and sensitisation meetings with key community stakeholders. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence will also address the unequal economic relations between Mutema banana farmers and a large scale investment company. The unequal relations have exposed the vulnerability of young women in areas of entrepreneurship and land justice.

Young women have suffered violence and discrimination in Chipinge district in the on-going evictions that both the central government and local government have undertaken to pursue. Currently, young women have borne the brunt of the exercises to evict villagers from their area of residence. Women and girls are left stranded and exposed to sexual violence and rape, just like what happened during the Cyclone Idai disaster. Young women and girls suffered abuse, sexual violence and abuse as the distribution of relief aid was heavily gender insensitive.

Another major highlight of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence will be a family fun day to be held at Chibuwe Primary school aimed at providing psycho-social support to the victims and survivors of Cyclone Idai disaster.

Source: Platform for Youth and Community Development Trust (PYCD)