Anti-Gender Based Violence (GBV) Ambassadors established by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe have made strides in tackling GBV in Makoni district. Following a Women Rights and GBV reporting training conducted by Heal Zimbabwe on 17 September 2020, the Anti-GBV Ambassadors have begun running Anti-GBV Campaigns in their communities as they put to use knowledge gained from the training.
Gender-based violence is a violation of human rights. This is reflected in international agreements such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women emphasized in the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing 1995. In the month of October, the Anti-GBV Ambassadors have managed to directly respond to two GBV cases in the district. In one of the cases, a woman from one of the wards was constantly being physically and emotionally abused by her husband besides the fact that she was the bread winner in the family. At the end of every month, the women would be forced to surrender her salary to her husband who would then spend the money on beer.
In instances where she would gather courage to confront the husband, she would be beaten and emotionally abused. As part of solution to end the abuse, the Anti-GBV Ambassadors facilitated for the women to report her case to the police. The Victim Friendly Unit (VFU) department offered counseling services to the couple and the husband was also made to pay a fine. As part of follow up action, the Anti-GBV ambassadors engaged the couple and emphasized on the need to involve third party intervention to positively resolve challenges in their marriage instead of resorting to violence. The engagements yielded results as the woman has reported that most of the time they encounter challenges in their marriage they come to a common ground to dialogue respectfully on the matter and find a lasting solution.
In another case, following a case of GBV in the ward, the Anti-GBV Ambassadors conducted a conflict mapping exercise which allowed them to identify key stakeholders best placed to mediate in a conflict. The conflict involved a couple that would constantly fight and expose their children to violence and all forms of obscenities. The mapping exercise identified an aunt who was close to the couple. Before the aunt could engage the couple, the Anti-GBV Ambassadors took her through a brief training on conflict mediation training that includes the use of a conflict tree. The engagement process yielded results as the couple has seen a marked improvement in the way they resolve their conflicts.
Anti-GBV Ambassadors have the mandate to take a lead in ending violence in different communities and also reaching out to survivors of GBV. The Anti-GBV Ambassadors also work as a referral network for GBV cases. After conflict analysis exercises, they then engage other stakeholders for professional assistance. Their responsibility also include raising awareness on GBV, compiling monthly reports on the state of human rights in their area and make referrals to institutions such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).The work by the Anti-GBV Ambassadors is one among many initiatives by Heal Zimbabwe meant to build socially cohesive communities where respect for human rights is prioritized.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe Trust