Nyanga Local Rights Programme
The current strategy for the Nyanga Local Rights Program was developed in 2014 through consultative meetings with community members focusing on reduction of identified challenges which were gender based violence, teenage pregnancies and child marriages. The program is funded by ACTIONAID INTERNATIONAL ZIMBABWE (AAIZ) targeting women, girls, men, boys and traditional leaders in wards 4, 6, 7, 15, 19, 21, 22, 23, 27 and 29 of Nyanga District. The goal is to improve quality of life for women and girls in Nyanga through reduction of GBV and improving access to sexual reproductive health services. In 2015, the program reached 1 699 rights holders with various trainings and services like, effects of child marriages, legal instruments and reporting cases of GBV and child marriages. The program availed a contingency fund to assist survivors of GBV to access health and legal services. In 2015, ten (10) survivors of GBV were assisted to access health and legal services using the fund.
Apostolic leader reformed –Now against child marriage
The apostolic sect is a religious sect mostly known of its human rights violation practices. It promotes child marriages and deprives mostly girls of their right to education by giving them into marriages at a very young age. The sect gives girls as young as age 13 or below into marriage. This subject girls to GBV such as sexual, physical, psychological and economic violence due to their tender ages. Many girls drop out of school to become young mothers and reports from communities have shown that some girls die during delivery.
Nyanga Local Rights Program conducted Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)training with church leaders in 2015 aimed at reducing child marriages and teenage pregnancies. An apostolic sect leader who attended the CSE training changed his negative attitude towards that of educating his daughters. He also changed his beliefof giving his daughters into marriage at a young age. Before the training, he made his 3 daughters to drop out of school and was in a process of organising their marriages. Soon after the training he confessed that he was unaware he was violating his children’s rights and promised to send them back to school.
His three daughters whom he was in the process of giving into marriage, Ensiara, Yvonet and Tabithas(not real names)are now going to school at Nyangani High School in Nyanga. He supported them into getting help from Campaign for Female Education (Camfed); an organization that is now paying school fees for his 3 daughters. Right now the three girls are in Form 2 at Nyangani High School. The apostolic leader influenced his brother who was also in the habit of marrying his young girls to desist from the practice and value his children’s life and education.
The apostolic leader also gained knowledge on child rights and he is now holding community meetings on Saturdays educating other community members on child rights and the importance of child protection and education. The three girls now feel safe as their father is now friendly to them and provides them all the support they need. He now protects his daughters from men who wanted to marry and abuse his children. Said one of the girls:
“My father is now very close to me and he is like a friend to me. He takes time to be with me and listens to me when I have issues to discuss with him. It is surprising how changed he is since he was trained by FACT. When I ask for school stationery he buys just in time unlike before when he asked us to leave school and get married.”