ROOTS is a young people led organization founded in 2013 with a strategic focus to promote gender equality. Our work tackles unequal power relations that exist in families, communities and nationally that result in inequalities and exclusion of marginalized groups. We challenge communities to interrogate their relationship with power (Power Over, Power To, Power With) and how this can be used to challenge ills such as Gender Based Violence. We also work with men and boys to unpack and challenge toxic forms of masculinities while at the same time acknowledging that men and boys are also victims of violence. The organization works at a grassroots level in Mazowe, Shamva, Muzarabani, Centenary, Bindura , Zaka, Chivi, Lupane and national level in Zimbabwe. It also has focal persons in Zambia (Rufunsa and Chongwe Districts) and Ntcheu and Salima Districts in Malawi. ROOTS envisions inclusive societies for young people. The organization has a Board of Directors with 7 members who have diversified expertise and knowledge. Their main prerogative is to give policy directions to the organization and mobilizing resources on behalf of the organization. The secretariat conducts the day-to-day business of the organization and it is headed by a Director who is an ex-officio member of the board. The organization also has a track record of engaging policy makers on key advocacy issues affecting women and girls such as child marriage through capacitating parliamentarians to be able to move sound evidence-based motions in parliament. The organization has provided practical ways of ending child marriage through livelihood support initiatives such as farming and sanitary wear production by girls.
HIV and SGBV Prevention and Response
ROOTS has the capacity to work in and out of school through a holistic youth leaderships approach so as to empower AGYW to adopt healthy lifestyle practices that reduces new HIV infection and promote healthy living. The organisation has a track record of conducting mobile SRH services in collaboration with Ministry of Health. The mobile services provide with GBV information, HIV and GBV referrals. During the lockdown period, with support from UNICEF, ROOTS reached out 9301 AGYW preventing and responding to SGBV, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and HIV. During Covid-19 hard lock down, ROOTS opened a shelter to support women and girls who were facing violence, provided shuttle services for survivors and lining them to legal and health services. To date the organization has accommodated 87 adults and 9 accompanying minors at the Shelter located in Mazowe District.
ROOTS has a capacity to work with communities in addressing socio-cultural, religious and legal barriers that increase vulnerability of HIV and impede access to services for AGYW. The organisation work with government line ministries such as Min of Women Affairs, Social Development and VFU in community sensitization meetings targeted at the community leaders and key gate keepers through using various channels such as community dialogues, roadshows etc. These platforms are used to raise awareness of the HIV and GBV among AGYW and promote early identification and reporting of GBV to enhance access to services. Currently ROOTS is implementing a CultureActions program that aims to reduce GBV and child marriage through conducting prevention sessions with in and out of school AGYW. ROOTS has trained community facilitators who conduct these sessions.
ROOTS recognizes that poverty is one of the key drivers of SRH ill health among AGYW. To address some of these issues, ROOTS since 2015 has been running a disposable pad factory in Shamva. The Factory is run by girls who have been in child marriage. During the Covid-19 period, the factory produced 12000 packs of sanitary towels which were sold to development partners for their dignity packs. The project does not only empower the young women who run the factory but other AGYW who benefit from the dignity packs that ROOTS supports communities with.
ROOTS Main Funders
UNICEF TDH Germany Global Fund for Women Culture Fund HIVOS UNAIDS UNWOMEN USAID Right Here Right Now
- A groundbreaking constitutional court case which led to the ban of child marriage in Zimbabwe as of 20 January 2016.
- The organization was also contracted by UN Partners (UNICEF, UNFPA, UN WOMEN) to support the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development to develop a National Action Plan and Communication Strategy on Ending Child Marriage in 2016.
- Runs Menstrual Pad Making Factory.
- A shelter to support Women, Young Women and girld.
- The organization has done advocacy work at the African Union Level participating in the creation of the What Young Women Document and the crafting of the Africa Common Position
- Paper on the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage.
- The organization was also part of the consultation processes for the development of the SADC Model Law on Child Marriage.
- Child Rights Award 2015- (ZIMRIGHTS)
Summary of Key Areas of our Work
Information generation and sharing- We serve our communities as an information hub for SRHR and Gender Equality. We use creative ways of raising awareness such use of theatre for development. Demand Creation- we mobilise communities to promote collective action. Due to the high volumes of people we reach out to, we create demand for services such as HIV Testing, legal aid for our strategic partners Advocacy- While we work at grassroots level, we use evidence from communities to influence policy at national level. Public Policy- we provide technical support to institutions and policy makers (line ministries and local authorities) to be able to deliver on SDG5.
The organization has been funded by Canadian Embassy, ZIMRIGHTS, SAfAIDS (DREAMS Programme), , Netherlands Embassy, Curious Minds, Culture Fund, World YWCA. Therefore, ROOTS stands out as a learning organization with versatile young people and has the ability to grow into a regional organization with the necessary resources and capacity strengthening.
ROOTS Bindura Office
1531 muhacha Drive Chiwaridzo, Bindura
0772263146/0776542583/0775900840 firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com
ROOTS Harare Office
142 Hebert Chitepo Avenue Harare