|Newly opened Hurungwe Safe Shelter to respond to GBV
FACT Zimbabwe Executive Director, Gertrude Shumba (left) with Mashonaland West Ministry of Women Affairs Community Small to Medium Enterprise Development Provincial Development Officer, Mr Patrick Rangwani during the official opening of the Hurungwe Safe Shelter.
HURUNGWE- FACT Zimbabwe with support from UNFPA through the European Union sponsored Spotlight Initiative officially opened the Hurungwe Safe Shelter on the backdrop of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (GBV) commemorations which ran under the theme “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”
The intended purpose of the safe shelter is to keep the survivor from any further potential harm from the perpetrator with the aim of supporting them in dealing with the trauma, preparation for the legal processes, economic or vocational empowerment to equip survivors with the necessary skills to lead independent and dignified lives. The shelter will also offer case management services which include psycho-social and legal support as well as follow-up to care and completion of the justice processes.
Statistics from a GBV surveillance conducted by community-based facilitators in Hurungwe for the period April 2020 to date recorded 370 cases of GBV incidents where 143 of these were of rape and physical assault. One of the physical assaults resulted in the loss of life in Pote (Hurungwe) where a woman was bludgeoned to death by her husband for failing to serve him with food at the beginning of December 2020.
Speaking during the official opening, FACT Zimbabwe Executive Director, Gertrude Shumba called on the Hurungwe community to unite in the fight against GBV by responding and preventing any forms of violence towards women, children and girls.
“As as community we need to work together to ensure violence is eliminated in all forms. Let us all unite, keep and ear and an eye on GBV and report,” she said.
Over the years, the UNFPA has been supporting FACT Zimbabwe to conduct GBV surveillance at community level in order to identify and increase the reporting of GBV cases, whilst also facilitating the referral of survivors to appropriate GBV services.
Since the partnership was established with the support from UNFPA, FACT Zimbabwe has also managed to establish GBV Safe Shelters in Zimbabwe in Makonde (Mashonaland West) and Mutasa (Manicaland) districts with the Hurungwe safe shelter being the second in Mashonaland West.
The Hurungwe safe shelter currently has a carrying capacity of 12 survivors with a provision for an overflow of up to 20 survivors. To compliment efforts of the safe shelter FACT Zimbabwe with support from UNFPA, is currently piloting the concept of satellite GBV Safe Shelters at community level that will serve as temporary half way homes admitting survivors in transit to the safe shelters.
The event was attended by GBV partners and stakeholders working within the district who included local traditional and community leadership, Ministry of Women Affairs Community Small to Medium Enterprise Development (MWCSMED), Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), Zimbabwe Republic Police- Victim Friendly Unit, Karoi Town Council representatives, Judicial Service Commission and the National AIDS Council.
“After Completing my studies, I want to be a doctor,”- Junior.
16-year-old Junior Sithole is a single orphan from Chipinge in Manicaland Province, a U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supported district.
A single orphan, Junior lost her father who passed on in 2018 when she was still in Form One. Left only with her mother and sibling, Junior was on the brink of dropping out of school as her mother could not continue supporting her educational needs.
As Junior narrates her ordeal it was not easy for a 14-year-old girl child and a single orphan as most of her peers had dropped out of school got married or had left the country for greener pastures. Junior did not resort to any of the temptations a girl of her age and not going to school would succumb to.
“After my father passed on, I faced a number of challenges which include my friends getting married and leaving the country going to Mozambique and South Africa to work. Not being in school also meant I was to help my mother fend for myself, herself and my brother by working while my heart wanted to be in school.”
It was in 2019, when one of Junior’s teachers realized she was on the brink of dropping out of school and facilitated her entry into the FACT Zimbabwe implemented Children Tariro Programme. Junior’s hope was re-kindled and was re-admitted into school a wish she was longing for.
“I joined the Children Tariro Programme after one of my teachers assisted me to be part of the programme. My wish to be in school with others was fulfilled,” she said.
Today Junior is doing her Form Three studies at Chimana Secondary School in Chipinge and is receiving the much-needed education assistance which include payment of school fees, provision of school uniforms and textbooks through the Children Tariro Programme. Junior’s prospects are to remain in school, excel in her studies and one day become a doctor.
“My wish after completing my studies and pass, is to become a doctor and help my community with their health needs,” said Junior with a smile on her face.
Traditional leaders step up the fight against GBV in Dora
MUTARE- Traditional leaders in Dora ward 35 under Chief Zimunya have pledged to fight all forms of violence against women and children calling on all community members to report cases of violence.
The commitment was made during a Gender Based Violence (GBV), HIV and AIDS Awareness Campaign that was conducted by the DREAMS Consortium at Kuhudzai Primary School running under the theme ” Empowering Girls to realise their DREAMS.”
Speaking during the campaign, Headman Dennis Nyakunu said all forms of violence should not be condoned in the community and encouraged timely reporting of in a bid to protect women and children in the community.
“We are grateful for the work being done by the DREAMS Consortium of brining knowledge and services to the Dora Community. It is now our responsibility to ensure women, girls and children in our community are safeguarded and allowed to realise their dreams and contribute to the development of the community and our nation,” said Headman Nyakunu who spoke on behalf of Chief Zimunya.
The DREAMS Initiative being implemented by FACT Zimbabwe with support from The U.S Presidents Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through USAID Zimbabwe seeks to complement efforts by the Government of Zimbabwe to improve access to post- GBV care services, improve parent-child communication; and to increase school attendance, retention and progression towards epidemic control by having Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS free, Mentored and Safe Zimbabwean girls.
Partners who include Childline, FHI360, Simukai Child Protection, Plan International, National AIDS Council, Family Support Trust, Highlife Foundation, Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe and Population Services International graced the occasion and got an opportunity to interact with the Dora community through information dissemination and offering of services.
FACT, MoHCC and FHI360 trains on Family Life Schools
Mutare– FACT Zimbabwe in collaboration with Family Health International (FHI360) and the Ministry of Health and Child Care recently held a capacity building training for Family Life Schools (FLS) Facilitators under the Mhuri/Imuli project.
The training workshop targeting 30 facilitators drawn from 10 targeted high volume clinics aimed at increasing facilitators’ knowledge and skills on promoting maternal, newborn, and child health and family planning (MNCH-FP) service uptake and to highlight the role of facilitators in the implementation of FLS.
Family Life Schools (FLS) is an integrated, holistic approach which brings together individuals and or caregivers who are in the same phase along the life-stage to provide education on Maternal New-born Child Health and Family Planning (MNCH – FP). The FLSs is a strategy that Mhuri/Imuli will use to improve household MNCH-FP knowledge and behaviors, through identification of mothers, fathers and Village Health Workers (VHW’s) who shall be trained as facilitators to lead sessions in the different class categories of Mama, Baby and Baba Classes.
Cohorts of learners register in the FLSs self- care groups depending on their life stage within the 1000 days: when they are pregnant or lactating (Mama class) or when the baby is between 6 and 59 months of age (Baby class). Another class (Baba class) comprises of male spouses of WCBA to facilitate shared decision making and responsibility for MNCH and FP. Life skills for men strengthen childrearing support and transform gender norms in communities. Learners graduate from one level to the other. During monthly meetings, the participants are taken through a series of lessons relevant to their life stage and support each other as they go through the pregnancy and child care challenges. Within each class of 15 – 20 participants, small peer groups may be formed for mentoring and peer leadership.
About the Mhuri/Imuli Project
The Mhuri/Imuli, is a five-year project funded by USAID Zimbabwe, it works to improve maternal, newborn, and child health and family planning (MNCH-FP) in Zimbabwe’s Manicaland Province (Buhera, Chipinge, Chimanimani, Makoni, Mutare, Mutasa, and Nyanga), working closely with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council.