FACT Zimbabwe Statement on the
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
End Violence Against Women and Girls Now – No to Child Marriages!
The 2021 marks 30 years since the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) was initiated by the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute. It is an important time for FACT Zimbabwe which sees us celebrate in one stretch the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25th), International Women Human Rights Defenders Day (November 29th), World AIDS Day (December 1st) and International Human Rights Day (December 10th), even as we continue to work towards the realisation of Healthy Communities for A Healthy Nation.
The advent of COVID-19 saw a surge in GBV incidences as well as child marriages. Our GBV prevention and response activities quickly adapted to virtual spaces which have enabled us to continue to interact, mobilize and engage in advocacy work reaching a much wider audience swiftly. Despite all our efforts, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) still projects that another 10 million child marriages are expected between now and 2030 due to COVID-19. Sub-Saharan Africa remains with the highest incidence of child marriages, thus denting international commitments to promote and protect children’s rights that were made by our principals through signing of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC).
Nevertheless, FACT Zimbabwe continues to compliment Government of Zimbabwe efforts in fighting child marriages through implementing the following programs:
- The Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and DREAMS programs supported by U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
- The Spotlight Initiative funded by the European Union partnering with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA);
- The GBV Safe Shelters, Safe Spaces and the GBV Mobile One Stop Centre Programs funded by Irish Aid through UNFPA.
- Voices from the Fringes-Female Sex Workers, Adolescent Girls and Young Women Action Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence supported by the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence Against Children (UNTF).
- Enhancing Positive Masculinities Towards Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Women and Girls in Zimbabwe supported by Tearfund UK.
- Nyanga Local Rights Program supported by Action Aid Zimbabwe and the Towards Resilient Communities with Health, Equality and Safety for All (TORCHES) program supported by People’s Postcode Lottery through Action Aid Zimbabwe,
and engage in:
- advocacy activities on HIV, teenage pregnancies and child marriages with women and girls, traditional as well as religious leaders.
- enrolling vulnerable girls into school so as to empower the girl child as well as protect them from early marriages.
- educating adolescent girls and community members on preventing, detecting and responding to sexual violence.
- developing capacities of families and caregivers around positive parenting, education on the elimination of harmful gender norms, financial literacy trainings and supporting income generating projects to alleviate poverty.
- providing clinical services, psychosocial support and counselling, shelter as well as legal support to Adolescent Girls and Young Women survivors of GBV; and
- engaging adolescent boys in behaviour-change programs that promote gender equity and help build responsible, respectful and non-violent relationships.
Our GBV interventions are being carried out in six of the 10 provinces in Zimbabwe and we have since established a Helpline number (08080483) which acts as a timely response platform to any GBV incidents. It is comforting and motivating to know that we are not alone in this fight – ‘Chara chimwe hachitswanyi inda’ loosely translated ‘there is power in working collaboratively to solve a problem.’
We adorn ourselves in orange, a colour that has come to symbolize a unified call to fight GBV, and say No to Child Marriages! We join hands with Zimbabweans and others around the world in service to humanity and raise awareness about GBV, challenge discriminatory attitudes and call for improved laws and services to end violence against women and girls.
Together, we can be the difference!
For Press Contact Gertrude Shumba | FACT Zimbabwe Executive Director | firstname.lastname@example.org| +263 (20) 61648/67493/66015
Tinotenda Kabai | Documentation and Communications Officer | email@example.com| +263 775 957413