Family AIDS Caring Trust – FACT Zimbabwe in partnership with NO Means NO Worldwide with support from The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through USAID Zimbabwe has kickstarted a month long virtual IMPower Instructors training.

The training of 20 Adolescent Girls and Young Women drawn from Manicaland province seeks to increase girls’ assertiveness and boundary setting by developing the verbal and physical skills they need to defend themselves and escape when facing sexual assault; with the ultimate aim of increasing disclosure of sexual violence among boys and girls and ensuring that they are referred to the services they need.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and related series of lockdowns, Manicaland province reported an increase in gender-based violence cases, with 49 percent of all criminal cases reported to police from the beginning of the COVID-19 national lockdown being domestic violence related. Of these cases, 83 percent are said to be happening in the homes.

The IMPower initiative seeks to reach out to 8,996 adolescent girls and young women by 2022 in Makoni, Mutare and Chipinge districts of Manicaland province. The initiative will empower AGYW at community level with self-defenses skills and also link survivors of sexual violence to legal, psycho-social support and clinical services.