Hordes of people converged at Takwirira High School, Chipinge on the 28th of September 2019 to raise their voice against the increased statistics of women who are losing life due to the occurrence of gender based violence targeted at young women and girls.
The more than 200 marchers were coordinated by the Platform for Youth and Community Development together with Vemuganga Community Radio Initiative who were commemorating the International day of Peace in Chisumbanje. The day which was running under the theme “Climate Action for Peace” lived up to expectation.
This theme is a realisation that climate change is an indisputable challenge to human rights, security and socio-economic development in our local communities.
The march was organised in the view that climate change poses far greater challenges especially to vulnerable members of our society, as it has the potential to aggravate existing fragile situations as has become the case in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts due to the impact of Cyclone Idai. The advent of tropical storms like the recent devastating Cyclone Idai is expected to increase further due to climate change.
The socio-economic impact of Cyclone Idai did not discriminate but it was experienced differently by women and girls. Women and girls were affected more significantly than men due to gender inequalities and power imbalances in access to resources and information in the district. Chipinge is the most climate change vulnerable districts in Zimbabwe which makes women and girls more susceptible to the adversities that result from climate change.
The march against domestic gender based violence took an hour, and raised awareness on the vulnerability of women and girls to climate change. The song s “…..Isu taramba bongozozo…” (We are against violence) punctuated the March and filtered through the community. Stakeholders graced the event whose main purpose was to raise awareness and recommend action against gender based violence in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts. PYCD Gender wellness and advocacy officer addressed the marchers and encouraged them to coexist by involving closer relations and family networks to mediate disputes before they escalate into violence.
The theme for the International Day of Peace for 2019 allowed the organisers of the event to provide statistics on how women suffered due to the effects of climate change that led to many people perishing and houses destroyed as a result of Cyclone Idai that struck Chimanimani and Chipinge district the most. The most affected are women and children who remain vulnerable today 6 months later.
After the March, there was a tournament that featured 8 soccer teams and 6 netball teams as part of the activities for the day. Sport has always been used as the best symbol of working together, co-existence and peace.
Source: Platform for Youth and Community Developemt Trust (PYCD)