Monthly Archives: June 2014

Stakeholders agree that ‘we all have a role’ to ensure improvement in social services delivery in rural and peri-urban communities

“It is very true the state of services delivery in our entire provincial locality, rural and urban areas is in a bad state and young women suffer the most both as recipients and caregivers in their families and communities. It is important that they actively take part in council chambers, WADCOs (Ward Development Committees) and VIDCOs (Village Development Committees) where decisions are made and influence local authorities priorities. ” these were remarks   by a representative from the office of the Minister of State and Provincial Affairs  at a stakeholders meeting to yesterday launch IYWD’s report on a Survey on Young Women’s Access to and Quality of Social Services.

The research findings which covered three basic services of water, sanitation and primary health care indicated how the unavailability of these services disadvantages especially young women and girls more in their communities. In most of the areas covered by the research young women and girls spend a lot of time in search of water instead of being in school and miss out participating in activities by civil society organisations to empower them .  As the IYWD launched the report, it sought commitment from the different stakeholders present to join hands with the organisation awareness raising, promoting practices that ameliorate the situation and most importantly ensure that young women and girls become part of decision makers on social services in their localities.

The different stakeholders who participated in the meeting included were representatives from the office of the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs,the Ministry of Women’s Affairs Gender and Community Development, the Ministry of Labour and Social Services, Provincial and District Administrator’s from the 4districts covered in the research and other civil society organisations that included ,  ZimRights, Africa Publishing and Development Trust (ACPDT),Real Open Opportunities for Transformation Support (Roots), New Ziana and young women representatives from the areas covered by the research. CSOs were urged to engage the ward coordinators and health workers whose efforts are hampered by lack of resources and work with them as assistants in awareness raising and changing perceptions and attitudes of communities towards practices of responsible citizenship viz a viz social services. All the participants were in agreement that there was need for strong collaborations between the NGOs, the local councils and the government ministries for a collective effort towards helping the situation. IYWD was encouraged to ensure that they also need to hold local government authorities at local level accountable. Follow the link to download the full report:

https://iywd.wordpress.com/publications/iywd-survey-report/

The meeting in pictures

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Bring back our girls!

More and more it is no longer about the girls, but about selfish interests. We are stirred that our missing Nigerian sisters, now seem to be just but poker chips in a poker game through celebrity marketing, organisations positioning for fundraising for girls; Nigerian politicians eyeing the 2015 elections; regional, global politics and security mind games all framed as legitimate responses to rescue the Chibok girls. At first even the president did not even treat the matter with the urgency it deserves; to him it was probably an incident out of the ordinary. Young women are abducted every so often and it is normal he did not see the need to sound the alarm bells. This commodification of the plight of the African women and children should not be left to go on. Someone is most probably going to make a movie out of this incident, and the royalties and proceeds will never reach the girls and the women, in Chibok; more militarisation will happen and maybe more sophisticated guns and technology for tracking will be bought, when schools have no books. More fundraisers will be held for Chibok and Nigeria girls and the funds may never reach the village. Our sisters in the meanwhile are in captive, abused and bruised, waiting for someone to rescue them. If they are found and rescued, they will be celebrated and then be forgotten. One may write or live to tell the story, but this world will have moved on. My appeal to everyone is, let it be genuinely about the GIRLS and as IYWD we are with the girls in spirit and pray for their safe return.

In the meantime we condemn the ban of the Bring Back Our Girls movement in Nigeria by theNigerian police and appeal to our Nigerian counterparts to remain resolute and persist in using all lawful means to sustain peaceful advocacy for the safe rescue of the Chibok Girls.

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Abuse of women under the guise of religion

Religious and cultural beliefs, coupled with mobility bottlenecks, have been cited as major challenges militating against our attempts to reach out to as many marginalised young women and girls as possible in Mashonaland Central province. Members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church, dominate areas such as Madziwa in Shamva district, Musara, Trojan Mine and Guruve. Young women and girls are denied education, medical treatments and attending workshops such as those offered by IYWD on the basis of religious beliefs. In a number of the communities we have worked in, young women from this church have been denied permission to attend our meetings. The Johanne Marange Apostolic Church is widely seen as a deceptive and secretive community that does not go public about its issues as a result the few young women we managed to talk to preferred to remain     anonymous. One woman said that she got married to her husband who is a member of the church and was whipped  to follow the church’s doctrines .She had a steady educational background before   marrying this man with outstanding Advanced level grades but because women are not allowed to be learn and or work but just to remain housewives she cannot make anything out of her qualifications. “I would have loved to pursue teaching had I been granted the opportunity but because we are not allowed to do so there is nothing I can do”. Another young woman in the area was cautioned by her husband after she received an IYWD flyer from a member. Such oppressive and discriminatory acts contravene the Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms accorded to everyone in our constitution, particularly right to equality and non-discrimination, right to education, right to health, the right to freedom of association, freedom of conscience and access to information.Members of this church often have large families mostly because they do not use any form of contraceptives, a dangerous practice that poses health hazards to the women also as they are not allowed to go to hospitals.   . The children are also extremely disadvantaged and vulnerable, growing up in large families, not accorded access to education and health.

IYWD members stood up for their inclusion in a school BEAM Committee

Young women attending a School Development (SDC) meeting at Trojan Mine Primary School to elect a new chairperson for the BEAM committee almost boycotted the meeting following a decision by the majority of the participants in the meeting mostly men to choose a men for the post of the chairperson which was previously held by yet another man whom the community accused of misusing the educational support funds during his term. The men having been the majority at the meeting almost made a unanimous agreement to appoint another man, without putting the issue to vote. This angered the women who were at the meeting. A young woman member of IYWD present stood up and questioned why the men keep on nominating each other yet the committees continued to mismanage school resources at the expense of young girls and boys who needed the support for their education. The men tried to defend their nomination and all the young women who were at the meeting stood up and threatened to boycott the meeting. The men feeling the situation getting out of hand called back the women to the meeting where the post was re-declared vacant and put to vote. The majority of the women present were young women and members of IYWD. They seized the opportunity and collectively voted for Tambudzai for the post of the chairperson. This was such a historic action at Trojan Mine were people were accustomed to having men make appointees of other men into positions unchallenged. The young women celebrated their victory and it is indeed a reflection of power in numbers and speaking with one voice. The IYWD is proud and congratulates Tambudzai on her new leadership position.