By Dylan Murambgi
Harare, November 26, 2016 – TWO top civic groups in the country say women and girls were worst affected by the current political and economic crisis in the country.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) and Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said in their solidarity messages to mark 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence that the plight of women and girls was being worsened by the country’s myriad crises.
“As a result of the economic decline in Zimbabwe, the girl child and women have emerged as the biggest victims and this has affected efforts to empower women and girls,” CiZC said in a statement.
CiZC continued, “Besides the multi-faceted crisis facing Zimbabwe, CiZC notes that barriers to ensuring education for all also include traditional and cultural practices thus it is critical to decentralize and engage grassroots communities (especially Community Based Organizations) to ensure education for all and that women empowerment starts from grassroots level.”
The group implored the Zimbabwean government to ensure an end to all forms of violence against women and girls.
“In as much as we applaud efforts towards women empowerment, we further reiterate that resolving the current economic and political crisis in the country is critical to alleviating violence against women and ensuring education for all.”
The ZPP also said the El Nino induced drought being experienced tended to worsen the vulnerability of women and children in general.
The rights group cited cases in Goromonzi South area near Harare where an increasing number of children, most of whom are girls, were dropping out of school due to hunger and opting to offer manual labour in exchange for vegetables and other basic food commodities.
“ZPP calls on the responsible Ministry as well as the school institutions to play a transformative role in shifting harmful gender norms like girls dropping out of school to fend for their families,” said ZPP.
ZPP further said women bore the brunt of discrimination on political lines when food and other aid are distributed to less privileged citizens.
“This affects peace in the home and in the world,” said the Jestina Mukoko led organization.
“ZPP therefore demands that the responsible authorities take seriously, complaints of food being distributed along political lines.”
The 17 year old rights group also implored government to adopt “comprehensive, gender-responsive and multisectoral action plans to eliminate gender-based violence and enact laws that will protect women and girls from all forms of violence”.
This year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is running under the theme “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make education safe for all”.