PYCD Press Statement on the Occasion of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence

Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYCD) is part of the progressive groupings and civic society organizations in the world that will be commemorating 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in style. The campaign that will run from the 25th of November to the 10th of December 2021 will unfold under the theme Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!

PYCD will use this year’s commemoration to showcase the practical intervention done not only to raise awareness, but to take action aimed at eliminating gender based violence in Manicaland Province. It will also be an opportunity for the organization to shine a spotlight on the issue of child marriages and mental health while at the same time creating public awareness on what needs to change in order to achieve SDG 5 on Gender equality.

The organization is working with empowered 25 Gender Activists,10 Aunts,5 Uncles and 250 Peer educators of school going age, who are present in the communities every day in order to intercept any form of harmful gender practices that promotes inequalities and violence.Through solution focused interventions, PYCD has been able to record a reduction in child marriages, unwanted teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortion methods and sexual transmitted infections among others. Before interventions in 2016, Chipinge district used to record high statistics of 25 percent school dropouts by girls who were either falling pregnant or getting married before turning 18 years. Today and 5 years later, these statistics have fallen to below 20 percent.

In 2021 alone,PYCD has worked to prevent 51 cases of child marriages, reported 29 cases of rape and 24 cases of suicide, all caused by gender based violence.PYCD is proud for having contributed to the increase in levels of consciousness on issues related to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR).The use of trained ward based gender activists who are mentored by aunts and uncles from the local communities, has helped to increase our impact due to positive interventions.

As part of the commemorations in 2021, PYCD is implementing a cocktail of activities that will unfold through collaborations with other civic society networks. There will be an official launch of the campaign to be streamed live on the 26th of November 2021.Another major highlight on the cards will be a Gender Symposium that will be attended by 15 Community Based Organizations working on gender issues in Chipinge district. The targeted organizations will come together to share stories and intervention skills fashioned to eliminate Gender Based Violence in Chipinge.

This year’s campaign will also host a policy dialogue with local policy makers that include elected councilors and legislators from Chipinge district. At this dialogue, policy makers will be appraised on the challenges being faced by women who have drafted a declaration to lobby for government intervention to promulgate and amend land laws that have increased the vulnerability of women exposed to involuntary displacements in Zimbabwe.

Other activities worth mentioning are intergenerational dialogue, school debates, a mobile legal clinic as well as a Men engage forum. The involvement of men in this campaign allows them an opportunity to understand the negative effects of gender based violence on women.

Platform for Youth and Community Development is driven by a Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) that believes that Gender Based Violence transcends borders and cultures therefore should be treated as a global pandemic that must be elevated from 16 to 365 days of activism against Gender Based Violence. Gender Based Violence does not only threaten lives and undermines families and communities, it also impedes progress of nations.

Source: Platform for Youth and Community Development Trust

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