Writes Marlvin Ngiza
Young women and girls in Victoria Falls have appealed to responsible authorities to avail more empowerment opportunities for them and continue increasing access to such services and information to ensure that no one is left behind in line with the mantra of the country.
This was said by Young Voices Secretary, Nyasha Vengesai, while unpacking their thrust of advocating for the rights of young women in the province through music and campaigns among others.
Nyasha said that the lack of information on how young women’s empowerment was being done posed some challenges to young women and girls in their province as some young girls ended up falling victim to early marriages, teen pregnancy and gender-based violence.
“Few young girls and women are being empowered. In Victoria Falls or Matebeleland North province as a whole, many young girls have dropped out of school due to early pregnancy. Due to the lack of motivation and inspiration, they only think about marriage as the only option. The few who are not educated but skilled usually start up some businesses to earn a living whilst those who are not educated but have not been guided about the idea of their skills will only want to be married. On the issue of empowerment, I would say that practically, a big number do not have knowledge of how, where and when empowerment programmes are being held hence these programmes only reach a few. This leaves the majority in poverty, and unemployment and exposes them to GBV,” said Vengesai.
The advocate said that her vision was aroused by the experiences of some young people who were failing to access fundamental services.
“I have met a lot of girls who have not been able to go to school. We acknowledge that there is justice in the country for everyone as it is written legally on paper but not every girl child is accessing that justice as some do not even know that they are being oppressed especially those in remote areas. I am therefore advocating for young people through music with a goal to reach as many people as possible so as to bring a positive change in society,” she added.
Vengesai just released a song titled “mwana asingacheme” which she said was meant to give a voice to young people to call for increased inclusion and participation in empowerment programmes.
According to the statistics which were presented to the Thematic Committee of Gender and Community Development early this year by the chief director for learners welfare, psychological services and special needs, Ms Kwadzanai Nyanhungo, the 2021 overall total number of school dropouts at secondary level, due to a variety of reasons, was 50 744, almost double that for primary schools.
Out of the overall total of 633 male and 8 063 female pupils, a total of 8 696 dropped out of school due to marriage in 2021 and, in 2022, there were 305 male and 5 385 female pupils that dropped out due to marriage, a significant reduction to 5 691, compared to 2021.