Daily Archives: June 9, 2014

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.