Women at the Centre Project to provide support to GBV survivors

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The Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Women Affairs Community, and Small and Medium Enterprise Development in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund today launched the Women at the Centre Project which focuses on providing increased support to survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV) through quality case management.

Japanese Pharmaceutical Company Takeda is supporting the project, being implemented over four years. Zimbabwe is one of five countries that are part of this project. The other countries are Indonesia, El Salvador, Azerbaijan and Madagascar.

GBV is a huge problem in Zimbabwe affecting many women and girls. At least 49% of ever-married adolescent girls and women aged 15-49 years have experienced some form of emotional, physical, or sexual violence committed by their current or most recent husband or partner.

The Women at the Centre project seeks to ensure increased and sustained accessibility and availability of quality services for GBV survivors including those most marginalised; women and girls with disabilities; key populations and adolescent girls through increased GBV case management capacity and system strengthening.

In Zimbabwe, this nationwide project will be piloted in Matabeleland North Province’s Bubi district and then scaled to other provinces. GBV is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. It knows no social, economic or national boundaries. It undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence.

“It’s heartwarming to note that we shall be piloting the Case Management system in Bubi a rural District of Matabeleland Province,” said Minister of Women Affairs, Community, and Small and Medium Enterprise Development Honorable Monica Mutsvangwa.

She added: “Piloting in a district such as Bubi will inform us of the realities faced by survivors accessing services, especially in hard-to-reach areas. This gives a true reflection that we can replicate across the country in line with the Country’s Vision of leaving no one and no place behind.”

The launch of the project comes as UNFPA is this year recognising the 30th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development. This conference tied women’s empowerment to peace and prosperity.

Although much progress has been made since the International Conference on Population and Development a lot still needs to be done for women’s and girl’s progress. Achieving gender equality and women’s well-being in all aspects of life is more crucial than ever if we want to create prosperous economies and a healthy planet and ending GBV is very critical to achieving this.

“As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development we are reminded that Gender Based Violence remains the unfinished of this important agenda,” said Ms. Miranda Tabifor UNFPA Country Representative.

She added: “The Women at the Centre project uses a holistic approach to address the pandemic of violence against women in Zimbabwe. It is not just about responding to GBV; it’s about preventing it. By empowering women, addressing their needs, and building strong support systems, we can create a safer and more just future for all”.

This project offers a multi-pronged approach which will include:

  • Capacity building of specialised actors on GBV Case Management;
  • Provision of life-saving multi-sectoral survivor-centred GBV essential services such as mobile one-stop centres, GBV hotline
  • Community-based GBV risk mitigation and referral mechanisms such as safe spaces, community mobilisation and GBV surveillance and referral