Yoliswa Dube-Moyo, Head of Matabeleland South Office
The Spotlight Initiative advances the elimination of sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices in Matabeleland South Province.
This is done through broad partnership with civil society, government, private sector, media and building a social movement of women, men, girls and boys as champions and agents of change .
The Spotlight Initiative is a global partnership to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
It is funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA, Unesco and the ILO in Zimbabwe.
Co-chaired by the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community Development and Small and Medium Enterprises, the Spotlight Initiative also has a national civil society reference group to promote accountability. stakeholders and civil society commitments.
In Umzingwane district, the Apostolic Foundation for the Empowerment of Women (AWET), in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, has addressed sexual and gender-based violence and Covid- 19 through community engagement activities.
AWET and Behavior Change Facilitators discuss sexual gender-based violence, child marriage, poverty, gender relations and Covid-19 prevention measures, among other critical issues.
AWET Program Manager, Ms. Hope Dunhira, said the Spotlight Initiative focuses on GBV against women and girls, in particular battered women and child marriage.
“The response has been really great and we are now invited to schools where our behavior change facilitators who reside in the communities have been visiting primary and secondary schools to raise awareness on how best to protect ourselves from Covid-19 and making sure everyone follows the guidelines. We are working closely with the Department of Health and Childcare,” Ms Dunhira said.
She said that meetings are held on Tuesdays every two weeks.
“We were part of the regional platform where we shared what we have done in Zimbabwe because AWET works in 52 districts across the country. We have over 3,500 behavior change facilitators who are in communities across the 52 districts,” Ms. Dunhira said.
“We are currently working through the Spotlight Initiative, which is a global call to end violence against women and girls, with a specific focus on issues of child marriage. In the province of Matabeleland South, we are in the districts of Umzingwane, Bulilima, Gwanda, Beitbridge, Plumtree, Insiza and Mangwe.
The behavior change facilitators do door-to-door sensitizations, meetings with the communities and they also engage traditional and local leaders within the communities. These behavior change facilitators have helped us with sustainability because even if the program were to end, we know there will be continuity.
She said her organization deals with issues of child marriage and children who have been abused or violated in any way.
“When we go into the communities, we don’t work in isolation. There are other organizations that are in the communities, so we look at other partners and the services they provide, and then we do referrals,” Ms. Dunhira said.
The Trust has advanced dialogue and understanding of gender issues, as apostolic sects have diverse beliefs, norms, values and perceptions on key social issues such as child marriage, education, HIV/AIDS and maternal health.
Using direct community engagement activities, AWET communicates about sexual and gender-based violence at the household level and offers reporting mechanisms such as toll-free numbers and referral pathways. — @Yolisswa