“Their Voices Matter” Community Responses to Covid-19 Measures – Lockdown Week 3 Report

Introduction

As the lockdown entered the third week in Zimbabwe, ZimRights members continue to share the experiences of how their communities are dealing with the COVID 19 measures. In this report we document how these measures have impacted women and other marginalized groups. In the context of Zimbabwe, women make the largest number of people working in the informal sector. Since Zimbabwe went on a 21-day lockdown meant to contain the spread of COVID19, it is the informal sector that has been affected most. This is because the income in the informal sector is often too little and leaves no room for savings, meaning that 21 days without any work renders many bust. With 64 percent of women in the informal sector, it is clear that they are the most affected group. In light of that, this week, reports of the continued brutality of the police, shortages, and hunger, dominate and with a focus is on women and people living with disabilities.

Last week, ZimRights documented how communities were affected by lack of adequate information. The lack of information through official channels creates unofficial information channels. This leads to the rise of fake news and misleading conspiracy theories. Most of the conspiracy theories have emerged from church groups, with leading church leaders contributing to the belief in conspiracy theories. This report covers the leadership role of the church in fighting COVID 19 as well as some citizen initiatives in response to COVID 19. The cross-cutting themes that emerge from these voices are gender, inclusion, community leadership and active citizenship. A number of recommendations emerge showing that in times of crisis, leadership is not a monopoly of the state only but also influential groups like the churches as well as ordinary citizens.

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Source: ZimRights