By Thandeka Matebesi
State and non-state actors in Bulawayo have partnered in the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (GBV) in order to deploy creative interventions in the fight against GBV.
Organisations that include the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development, the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe (Bulawayo), Victory Siyanqoba and Intwasa Arts Festival have formed a consortium aimed at improving awareness around GBV.
Speaking on behalf of the consortium at a Press Conference held at Bulawayo Club on Wednesday the Director of the National Art Gallery in Zimbabwe (Bulawayo) Mr Butholezwe Nyathi said the partnership recognises that violations on women are much broader than generally appreciated.
“In commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, the undersigned organizations have come together in a bid to respond to the global theme ‘Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect”.
This consortium notes that while emphasis during the 16 Days Against GBV is largely on physical violence, the violations on women are broader. They are exacerbated by the deterioration of service delivery where women have had to uphold their provision of unpaid care work despite shortages of water and other basic services.
“This partnership brings together state and none state actors in an effort to enhance the effectiveness of campaigns against GBV”, said Nyathi.
The partnership was consummated in 2019 and a scan of the partners shows that there is a deliberate approach to deploy creative interventions in the fight against GBV.
“It seeks to influence the increase in funding for GBV response, improve and support effectiveness of GBV response mechanism, promote ways that contribute to the prevention of GBV as well as collect information and data that may help in the curbing of GBV”, he added.
Nyathi also said that in addition to the current efforts against GBV, there is need to come up with more ways to curb the ugly phenomenon.
Although there is an extensive legal framework related to gender equality, criminalisation and prevention of violence against women, more still needs to be done to improve the situation of women and girls.
Nyathi bemoaned the negative effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on situations at homes due to lockdown measures that meant more time spent together between the aggressors and their victims.
“This year, the lockdown measures introduced to curb the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a global retreat as citizens were expected to stay at home. This trajectory was followed by an alarming increase of violence against women, it triggered and exacerbated forced marriages, inter-partner violence and aggravated pre-existing gender inequalities,” said Nyathi.
Some of the activities lined up for the 16 days include; radio programs on Skyz Metro FM, trainings on self defence and reporting on Gender Based Violence, arts exhibition and laundry cafes.