Government must be considerate and provide social safety nets for vulnerable groups during the extended lockdown period. This was highlighted during a Manicaland Virtual dialogue organised by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe on 15 February 2021.
The dialogue meeting is part of efforts meant to scale up community resilience and share local level strategies that can help communities fight COVID 19. Participants commended the government for efforts meant to stop the spread of corona virus but highlighted that it was equally important to provide social safety nets for vulnerable groups especially those in the informal sector and rural areas. “My opinion on the extended lockdown is that it has negatively impacted informal traders, hence the need by government to provided Social safety nets for the vulnerable, marginalized and poor,” said one participant. Participants also reported that at major growth points such as Nyanga and Birchenough Bridge informal traders are involved in daily clashes with the police as they violate lockdown regulations. This was because of the lack of Social Safety nets during the lockdown. “We always witness serious clashes between the police and informal traders daily. The drive for survival is pushing informal traders to defy regulations, there is need for government to cushion such groups,” said another participant. Other issues that came out during the dialogue include the lack of drugs at most health facilities and the high cost of basic commodities such as flour and cooking oil during the lockdown.
The virtual dialogues by Heal Zimbabwe are an initiative meant to create platforms for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. The virtual platforms also equip communities with relevant information on Covid 19, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human rights. Virtual platforms are also platforms that facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe