BULAWAYO – On 22 February 2017, over 700 residents participated in a roadshow campaign against gender-based violence, which also promoted hygienic practices in Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city.
The programme, coordinated by World Vision-Zimbabwe in partnership with the Bulawayo City Council’s Health Services Department and Australian Aid, attracted stakeholders from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)’s Victim Friendly Unit, Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development and the Federation of Organisations of Disabled People in Zimbabwe, among others.
Australian Aid is funding World Vision-Zimbabwe programmes, which the latter is implementing in Bulawayo and Gwanda.
The projects include Water Sanitation and Hygiene and, under these programmes, there are community fora and groups such as Men’s Forum, Community Health Group and Gender and Social Inclusion.
Of the participants in the march campaigning for the programmes objectives, held in Ward 28’s Cowdray Park Township, more than 400 were women, while youth participation was estimated at very high 60 percent.
A play by Amazing Stars Arts Academy (ASAA), a local drama group, working in partnership with the Zimbabwe Development Democracy Trust (ZDDT) to empower and mobilise citizens and communities on a number of issues such as community participation, responsible leadership, keeping the environment clean and climate change adaptation methods, left participants begging for more.
ASAA, through humour and satire, engaged the community on health and environmental matters such as proper disposal of diapers and condoms.
Speakers at the grand occasion, encouraged rape victims to try to seek medical attention within 72 hours in order to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
The ZRP’s Victim Friendly Unit, on the other hand, challenged citizens to report both domestic and gender-based violence cases while also discouraging women and girls from using short cut routes such as foot paths passing through bushy areas or maize fields.