Introduction and Background
The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) is a national network of non-partisan women’s rights organisations and activists operating in the ten provinces of Zimbabwe. WCoZ’s central role is to provide a platform and a focal point for women and girls from diverse backgrounds to collectively advocate for the attainment and enjoyment of their rights. As such, impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls particularly in Zimbabwe has been a critical area of concern for WCoZ considering the fact that across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts have been exacerbated for women and girls simply by virtue of their sex. With the second wave and community transmission at an all-time high since the beginning of the new year (2021), the burden on women and girls has increased and these issues have been further explored in the report under the various themes bringing to the fore issues of importance to the communities, particularly women.
On January 2, 2021, standing at a record of 14491 cases, with 407 new cases and 8 deaths reported on that day alone, the Zimbabwe government imposed a strict national lockdown with immediate effect with only essential services such as hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets being allowed to remain operational for the next 30 days. A curfew was also put in place, running from 6pm to 6am. This level 4 lockdown was further extended by another two weeks to the 15th of February 2021.
Whilst airports and tourism sectors remain open, the ban on any form of informal trading, which is the mainstay of the economy and how millions of people earn their livelihood, becomes one of the most critical focus points on the impact of these measures on families, communities and the nation as a whole.
Therefore, this report highlights the key issues emerging from the Situational Daily Reports (Sitreps) issued by the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe since January 2021 focusing on gender-related issues and the national COVID-19 response. The pandemic is the biggest health crisis facing the world today and its social and economic impacts are threatening to undermine development gains and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Additionally, the pandemic is evolving against the backdrop of a difficult macroeconomic environment, climate shocks, and collapsing systems which have led to a disruption of normal livelihoods with the rights of women and girls affected the most.
The pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems which are in turn amplifying the impacts of the pandemic. Therefore, this report explores how women’s and girls’ lives are changing in the face of COVID-19 and outlining suggested priority measures to accompany both the immediate response and longer-term recovery efforts.
The report will also be used to hold the government accountable in the implementation of key gender outcomes on economic recovery, governance, social protection, service delivery and community cohesion of the National Development Strategy (NDS1).
Read the full synthesised report here (4MB PDF)
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe