Girls and Women Empowerment Network Trust (GWEN) commends the Government of Zimbabwe for taking the decisive action to contain the Corona virus health pandemic by enforcing the 21 days lock down from the 30th of March 2020 to the 19th of April 2020. The organisation recognises the invaluable sacrifices by the frontline workers who continue to ensure that essential services are being provided regardless of the magnitude of the challenge.
However, as GWEN, a women’s organisation that is committed to amplifying the voices of young women and girls in Seke and Chitungwiza and beyond, we are concerned about the gross violation of the social, economic and political rights of women during this lock down. Since the first day of the lock down most Chitungwiza residents have not had a drop of tap water, they are forced to queue for water at community boreholes. Already there are reports of harassment by the security details manning the suburbs.
Reports from the target districts are highlighting the lack of transparency and accountability in the listing of the beneficiaries for the promised financial support to the informal traders and food hampers to the vulnerable community members. The above-mentioned issues increase the women’s vulnerability in their quest to provide for the families during the lock down period.
The organisation calls upon the government of Zimbabwe to:
- Heighten awareness raising initiatives on the deadly virus in the farming, mining and rural communities that have limited access to social and traditional media platforms.
- Establish transparency and accountability mechanisms for handing out financial support and material support (particularly food) to the deserving beneficiaries.
- Ensure the provision of adequate clean water to the residents throughout the day and repairing of some of the community water sources to avoid the women queuing at the congested water points.
- Ensure effective implementation of policy provisions that safe guard traders engaging in the selling of food supplies.
- Ensure that health facilities and state security agents are responsive to the women’s specific needs during the lock down.
The organisation strongly believes that government’s agent attention to the above raised issues will boost the young women’s confidence to be able to provide for their families adhering to the gazetted provisions and also allowing them to recapitalise and continue with their businesses post the lock down period.
Source: Girls and Women Empowerment Network Trust (GWEN)