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Shamwari Yemwanasikana launch campaign against early child marriages

by Fanuel Chinowaita
02 Aug 2021 at 20:21hrs | Views
In a bid to curb vulnerability of girls in Zimbabwe, Shamwari yemwanasikana launched awareness campaigns against early child marriages that have been worsened by the Covid 19 pandemic.

In an interview with Wasu Post Shamwari Yemwanasikana director Chafamba said, ‘in light of the Covid 19 pandemic we are amplifying initiatives which seek to ameliorate cases of child marriages especially in areas where  girl child rights violations are rampant.

"We have put in place programs like awareness campaigns to educate the community on the equality of a boy and a girl child as well as the importance of ensuring that they get both formal and informal education.

"Under one of our ongoing program forum CIV and the World's Children Prize, we are engaging children, parents, traditional and local leaders in a bid to increase their knowledge of the rights of a child, children as change makers.

"We are aiming at deconstructing the existing social norms that place less value of girls as well as their attainment of education which is propelling child marriages in communities," said Chafamba.

"We have also established men`s and boys' forums in a bid to promote gender equality and allow for males to become game changers and not be perceived as perpetrators.

"Our Dandaro Revasikana platform also stands as a platform to empower our girls on their rights as well as provide them with opportunities to develop in all aspects politically, socially and economically," she said.

Chafamba also highlighted that they have established SRH hubs in Mash East and Harare  that are meant to disseminate information on SRH as well as provide one on one counseling to young people in partnership with likeminded organisations.

"We have been carrying out on wheels campaigns since 2020 on GBV and SRH together with Ministry of Health, Women Affairs, Social Welfare and Victim Friendly Unit police.  We have also been doing radio and television programs as well as campaigns on social media.

"Our advocacy efforts through the girl's rights movement have seen press statements being released on our various social media pages on the urgent need from the government to tackle the issue.

"Our GPSS department has been providing legal counseling, police and hospital escorts as well as provision and referral to safe shelters to child brides .The organization has since responded to more than 2400 cases of GBV since January 2020 to 30 June 2021.

"Our various economic empowerment initiatives have seen more girls staying in school and the program has since benefitted 200 girls in all of the four provinces of operation. We are grateful for the support from the ministries of women affairs who have been providing the skills to some of the girls, especially child brides in Seke," Said Chafamba.

Government line ministries in collaboration with civil society organizations such as shamwari yemwanasikana should continue educating the communities on gender equality, girl's equal rights and the importance of ensuring access to education by all children despite gender. Moreover, it is recommended that in partnership the government and civil society organization strain household heads the various economic empowerment projects which will ensure sustainable livelihoods doing away with the mentality of marrying off the girl child to alleviate poverty.

 Additionally, community movement should be created by gatekeepers (traditional and religious leaders) aimed at respecting and promoting the rights of girls amidst the prevalence of the covid-19 pandemic.

Source - Fanuel Chinowaita

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