Plan International has announced a partnership with Childline Zimbabwe – a child protection specialist organisation – to provide therapeutic support to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
Plan International Zimbabwe made the announcement at a youth policy dialogue on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and SGBV to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
The United Nations (UN) designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to raise awareness of the fact that many women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence.
The theme for this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!, highlights the need for a violence-free future for women and girls.
‘[Plan International Zimbabwe] has a broad objective to reduce child and unplanned pregnancies and child marriages to enable girls, boys and young people to develop into responsible citizens’, Plan International Zimbabwe Gender Technical Lead, Sheila Murimoga, said.
‘Then some of the work we are doing in SRHR and SGBV include working with communities, providing mobile one-stop shops for SRHR and SGBV services, reaching marginalised youth across the districts we are working in. Information provision through CSE.
‘We also provide platforms for engagement between young people and policymakers through girls symposiums and policy dialogues. Also working through partnership with [Childline Zimbabwe] in provision of therapeutic support to SGBV survivors’.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), about one in three women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence and about one in four women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.
Data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) also shows that since the start of Covid-19 lockdown, GBV service providers in Zimbabwe have seen overall average increase of over 40 percent GBV cases compared to the pre-lockdown trends.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, Ruth Labode, who also spoke at the youth policy dialogue, said that access to SGBV and SRHR services was important for girls.
‘Zimbabwe needs to exceed the 15 percent health allocation recommended by the Abuja Declaration because we know we have great needs’, she said.
‘Access to services is key to girls… “Section 36 of the Public Health Act stipulates that all persons below the age of 18 need parental consent to access some reproductive heath services. Yet, we know adolescents are already sexually active before they turn 18’.
The Zimbabwe Ministry of Health representative also pledged to roll out sign language training for health workers in order to address the gap in communicating with young people with disabilities after a participant raised the notion.
As for the police in Zimbabwe, they also pledged to work with partners to help with resources to access victims and survivors after concerns were raised on response time to reported cases of violence against girls and women.
Known as 16 Days of Activism to campaign against SGBV, the activities marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women end on 10 December.
Source: Plan International Zimbabwe
Photo source: Plan International Zimbabwe