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Government of Zimbabwe, EU, UN agencies, launch Spotlight Initiative to eliminate GBV and Violence against women

Harare, 26 June 2019 - The European Union (EU) and the United Nations in Zimbabwe together with the Government of Zimbabwe have launched the Spotlight Initiative, a US$34 million, 4 year programme which is aimed at eliminating Gender Based Violence (GBV) against women and girls.

Gender-based violence is a serious concern in Zimbabwe as it is in the rest of the world. At least 1 in every 3 women (15 – 49) have experienced physical violence (35%) while 1 in every 5 women (17%) have experienced sexual violence, according to the Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey. In most cases, perpetrators are the intimate partners.

This initiative is implemented by six United Nations in partnership with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and Civil Society Organisations and is wholly funded by the EU. It builds on what the UN agencies are working on GBV in the country. The UN agencies participating are ILO, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNWomen.

“Violence against women and girls often go unreported and are usually concealed within families,” said President Emmerson Mnangagwa in a statement read on his behalf by Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Hon. Prof. Amon Murwira,

“Government is committed to strengthening the development and implementation of laws and policies that protect women and girls from all forms of violence. Through the Spotlight Initiative, we hope to adopt measures that will bring this problem into the public domain and enable policy makers to realise that the issue has negative impact on Gross Domestic Product and national development that needs to be dealt with swiftly.”

Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Hon. Dr. Sithembiso Nyoni said, “no-one shall be left behind as we boldly march towards realizing our national vision 2030. It will be foolhardy to believe that vision 2030 will be realized without embracing the elimination of violence against women and girls as one of the key national development priorities.”

Dr. Nyoni said the programme will be implemented in 5 provinces namely Mashonaland Central, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Matebeleland South and Harare and in 23 districts in these provinces. Criteria for the identification of targeted provinces include high incidence rates of Gender Based Violence.

Speaking at the launch, European External Action Service Deputy Secretary-General, Christian Leffler said “Gender based violence is not inevitable – it is literally man-made. The solution lies with the strong cooperation of all of us, international actors, government, CSO, local authorities and citizens.”

UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Bishow Parajuli highlighted UN commitment to bringing stake holders together to support government in its efforts to addressing GBV and other harmful practices.

The Spotlight Initiative is a EUR 500 million global, multi-year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls as well as harmful practices. The initiative brings focused attention to these issues making it central to efforts towards achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Africa will receive Euro 250 million, half of the global amount for eight countries including Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe will receive EUR34 million over a 4-year period based on performance of the programme in country.