News

Government of Zimbabwe, UNFPA launch Gender Based Violence Online Portal

11 December 2018

 

Harare, 11 December 2018 – The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has launched the Gender Based Violence (GBV) Online Information Portal, expected to be a key resource for service providers and survivors.

 

GBV is an umbrella term for any harmful act that is perpetuated against a person’s will and is based on socially ascribed (i.e. gender) differences between females and males. It includes acts that inflict physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering, threats of such actions, coercion and other depravations of liberty.

 

The information portal is expected to provide GBV survivors, the public and their communities with life-saving information on the importance of timely access and referral pathways to multi-sectoral services. It will also enable service providers to engage and coordinate with each other by acting as a centralized hub for the sharing of GBV relevant activity reports, research, programming & Monitoring and Evaluation tools and service access data.

 

Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Hon. Sithembiso Nyoni urged communities, both in service provision and survivors to make use of the platform to eliminate GBV.

 

“For the general public, it will act as a gathering point for GBV relevant knowledge and information, as we embrace the slogan, Information is Knowledge and Knowledge is Power,” she said.

 

United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Bishow Parajuli said “violence against women has serious consequences for global development, with significant threats to households’ economic welfare both in the short and long term.”

 

“It also makes a significant call on scarce public resources for essential health, security and infrastructure services. In this context, it is important to promote support services in Zimbabwe to survivors and people who may be vulnerable to GBV, and to ensure coordination of these support services, with a focus on the implementation of a systematized set of GBV prevention and response interventions, to reduce duplication of efforts while providing greater access to services for GBV survivors on a national scale,” he said.

UNFPA Country Representative, Dr. Esther Muia said GBV survivors, and those at risk of GBV, need to be aware of the different organizations available and the support services they provide, information which will be featured on the online portal.  

“It provides a comprehensive picture of the problem of GBV in Zimbabwe, the various forms it takes, and the national, regional and international frameworks that guide and inform our efforts to prevent GBV and respond to the needs of those affected,” Muia said.

“More importantly, it will also connect the general public to safety nets including shelter services, medical and counselling support and legal services available throughout the country.  For service providers, the portal will aid information sharing to ensure a well-coordinated approach towards ending GBV in Zimbabwe.”

The launch was attended by representatives of the key GBV service providers in Zimbabwe, as well as by representatives of the embassies of Ireland and Sweden, main donors for the ongoing Zero Tolerance for GBV 365 National programme.

 

Evidence from the Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) (2015) shows that the overall prevalence rate of GBV is at 35%, with 14% of women aged 15-49 having experienced sexual violence and 25% reporting experiencing physical violence since the age of 15. Among ever-married women, 45% reported experiencing physical, sexual and emotional violence by their current or most recent partner.

 

Through the Health Development Fund (supported by the Governments of Britain, Ireland, Sweden and the European) and the National Programme on Zero Tolerance on GBV365 (supported by governments of Ireland and Sweden) UNFPA has been working with various partners to implement a wide range of interventions to reduce GBV and to increase availability and utilisation of GBV services by survivors and perpetrators. The key thrusts of the programme include increasing awareness of gender responsive laws and services, and women's rights; strengthening of the GBV referral pathway; provision of direct services, including legal aid and psychosocial support, and mobilising men and young people to support gender equality; enhancing coordination among GBV service providers and stakeholders; strengthening data gathering and utilization on GBV; under the humanitarian component of the programme, ensuring GBV in emergencies preparedness and response.

 

The newly launched GBV online portal is a key tool towards the reinforcement of GBV coordination efforts led by the Ministry of Women affairs in Zimbabwe, and aims at becoming a more and more youth-oriented comprehensive and interactive platform interlinked to social media and other digital info sharing sites, with the development of a GBV APP on its way.