Heal Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Women’s Day held on the 8th of March each year. The theme for this year “Break the Bias” underscores the need for gender equality in the world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.
The COVID 19 induced lockdowns across the world saw an increase in cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV).This is because GBV is more likely to increase during every type of emergency; whether economic crises, conflict or disease outbreaks. As part of contributions to Article 1 of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that highlight that violence against women is a form of discrimination, Heal Zimbabwe in 2020 and 2021 trained Anti-GBV Ambassadors and Women Human Rights Defenders from across the country on GBV and human rights. The ambassadors comprised of local peer educators, clinic committee members, Community Peace club members and Community Action Accountability Teams and social accountability teams. The role of these community structures is to take a lead in ending violence in different communities and also reach out to survivors of GBV during the lockdown period. The Anti-GBV Ambassadors have been documenting, monitoring, and reporting cases of GBV to the relevant authorities. Their responsibilities also include compiling monthly reports on the state of human rights in their area and making referrals to institutions such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).
Through various capacity building projects, Heal Zimbabwe has been targeting women at the lowest level of communities, and empowering them through capacity building, income generating projects and amplifying their voice in the broader democratic process. These women, most of whom are survivors of political violence and torture, have been successfully reintegrated into the society and have started the road to economic, physical and psycho-social healing.
On the occasion of International Womens Day, Heal Zimbabwe implores government to promote equality and non-discrimination between men and women in line with Section 56 of the constitution. Government must also adhere to principles set out international conventions such as CEDAW. Key commissions such as the Zimbabwe Gender Commission must be adequately funded as a way of ensuring that women’s rights take centre stage and are not sidelined in any way.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe Trust