By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa
Zimbabwe Parliamentary -Portfolio Committee on Gender has launched 16 days of gender- based violence, opening up can of worms in line with covid-19 and gender -based violence. Prevalence rate of GBV [Gender Based Violence] is high owing attention to other factors besides covid-19, Experts in Gender-Based-Violence speak out.
There are other line-affecting factors lying side-by side close to women and children especially those disabled, exposed to gender-based violence and stricken in poverty leading to vulnerability. The 2020 16 days is run under the theme , ‘’Orange the World —- Fund ,Respond , Prevent and Collect’’ ….
Giving a thrilling presentation in Harare at a virtual platform UNFPA [United Nations Fund for Population Agency] Country Representative Esther Muia points out that women and children remain exposed to effects of gender-based violence in families and communities.
‘’Women and children remain burdened especially during this time of covid-19. Women are close to children; children are close to mothers because they get basic support from matriarchal parent. During covid-19, gender-based violence increased, exposing women and children further deep into poverty and vulnerability’’ .
‘’Women remain un-economically empowered during this time resources are scarce and out of reach. Women do domestic work of which they stand responsibility of food security especially in rural communities where they are 60% in Agriculture’’.
African countries must stand firm and resilient against a number of challenges artificially and naturally. Many of them become extremely impacted by several factors’ likely disasters, floods, hunger and drought caused by climate shocks above all.
‘’There are standing, blocking issues and core hindering factors which have reversed gains of women in communities. This is because of covid-19. Therefore, we need to see to it that they have support of men staying out of gender- based violence.’’
‘’In Africa the other side of the challenge story is a result of climate disasters, floods, drought and hunger that has affected many families exposing women and children mainly to hunger vulnerability. Those in large number are from rural marginalized communities ‘’.
Speaking in perfect tones in line with peace, Lorraine Makawa a Parliamentarian notes that peace brings women in collective action, working together and social justice to address peace. She elaborates that peace in the African region is a weapon addressed by solving gender in-equality. This realizes the outcome of human development in the light of women empowerment.
Interviewed at a Regional view point she notes that peace is the only weapon that has given freedom, liberal rights and emancipation of women in countries like Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Angola which faced civil wars. She continued to state that war-torn African countries looked first at peace and conflict resolution, addressed equality then looked at women empowerment with children sorely at the center.
‘’Peace has freed women in war torn countries in the African continent like in Rwanda. Where there is no peace, gender- based violence increases. Like in the time we are we are affected. We have come up with one stop centers to accommodate survivors.
‘’We are implementing this in spot-light districts where gender-based- violence has been rife. We bring all services under one roof, police services, legal services and resources, tools, food and basic amenities to address this challenge.
‘’Women must engage in economic activities so that they must take care of children in terms of food provision. Empowerment there-fore is vital , crucial and important especially in covid-19 era . Action is the way out of such challenges. We note there are gaps. Our interventions are from funding partners. There has been Humanitarian crisis, thus the challenge among bigger challenges.’’ She says.
In the years back gender-based-violence in Africa has been fueled by patriarchy, male domination, culture, tradition and African customs among other causes. The mentioned factors are no-longer standing negatively impactive in the post-modern society of educated young people who no-longer have the aura of gender-based -violence perpetration. This escalating scenario bearing remorse on the shoulders of women and the Zimbabwean Government, makes it lose on Sustainable Development Goal number 5 [Five] on Gender-Equality.