Fairness Moyana, Hwange Correspondent
BUWALA Makililo Trust (BMT) and SafAids have rolled out a project aimed at reducing cases of early marriages, pregnancies and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Hwange district.
The project which will be implemented in Matetsi and Silewu wards will run under the banner Gender Justice, Rights Action and Accountability is being implemented in African countries which include Sierra Leone, South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
GBV comes in different forms which include sexual violence, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and forced prostitution, domestic violence, trafficking and forced marriages among others. Some of the identified causes of domestic violence are of economic, social and political nature.
In an interview at the sidelines of the District Sensitisation workshop in Hwange on Friday SafAids programmes officer, Mr Lloyd Dembure said the project was aimed at ensure human rights and gender equality was realised through empowered and responsive communities.
“This is a four-year programme being implemented in Zimbabwe specifically in Hwange district we are working with BMT a local partner in two wards. The project is mainly anchored on GBV prevention, we want to encourage reporting of such cases to the police so justice is served to the victim and perpetrator. We want to ensure that we realise human rights and gender equality through empowered and responsive communities. So we will be working closely with community change agents to ensure prevention and accountability,” said Mr Dembure.
He said through awareness and training communities, women will be empowered to come up with local remedies to address the identified challenges which lead to GBV.
The projects include a monitoring component that will ensure the tracking of responses to GBV cases as well expediting their processing through advocacy.
“While we are raising awareness, accountability will also be needed and in this instance we will be working closely with the judiciary and Victim Friendly Unit to ensure police do their work under a human rights framework. We want to do advocacy to expedite such cases as delays usually result in survivors withdrawing them due to pressure from family members or fear.”
BMT director, Mrs Anna Mandizha-Ncube said the project was specifically targeting the two wards because of a surge in cases of domestic violence that go unreported.
“Since 2015 our main thrust has been programming on GBV through our youth Asikhulume programme we picked up that there was non-actioning of reports in the traditional structures were victims ended up being afraid to report. We are addressing inequitable gender imbalances in the district so this project seeks to empower communities in order to strengthen them to address such cases,” she said
Chief Hwange bemoaned the rise in GBV and early marriages cases arguing that although the district recorded the lowest number most cases went unreported or were hidden.
“This is a welcome project as it seeks to deal with issues of HIV/Aids, rape, early marriages and domestic violence against women. GBV cases are going unreported as communities lack knowledge on procedure and also because of the stigma that is attached to reporting your partner, husband or a family member. So society often turns a blind eye to such cases which is warranting the increase. So I call on everyone to support this project so we end these violations,” he said.