UNFPA Zimbabwe, partners respond to Gender Based Violence

27 November 2017
Gender based Violence in its many forms has devastating consequences on the physical and mental health of victims

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is working with partners to provide services to survivors of Gender Based Violence around the country such as medical treatment, psycho social support and legal services.

Working with the partners such as Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Ministry of Health and Child Care, Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association, City of Harare health department and Musasa project UNFPA has set various centres to ensure survivors have access to critical services.

In Matabeleland South Province a One Stop Centre (OSC) was set at Gwanda Provincial Hospital that will provide emergency medical treatment and other support services to survivors. In Gweru, Midlands Province another OSC was set up at Gweru Provincial Hospital while in Manicaland province a centre has been set up at Rusape Provincial Hospital. In Harare a 24 Hour clinic has also been set up at Wilkins Hospital in Milton Park. The OSCs provide much needed medical, legal and psyscho social services to survivors at no cost under one roof.

Other services in Harare are available at:

·       Harare One stop Centre and Shelter at Msasa offices, 64 Selous Avenue, Harare

·       Adult Rape clinic at Parirenyatwa Hospital, Ward C 6

·       Edith Opperman Polyclinic in Mbare

·       Family Support Trust located at Harare Hospital in Southerton

Plans are underway to establish more centres in at least every province in the country to bring more services to survivors. Speaking at the launch of the Gwanda OSC Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Hon. Nyasha Chikwinya was quoted saying One Stop Centre model represents a promising model for providing comprehensive care and support for survivors by providing direct services under one roof.

“In most communities, service providers are located in different physical locations thereby inhibiting timely and efficient responses and police stations and hospitals do not provide a conducive atmosphere to report cases of GBV,” she said. “The environment accorded by One Stop Centres allows survivors to feel safe and to open up on their devastating experiences at the same time guaranteeing them maximum confidentiality.”

The 2015 ZDHS confirms that violence against women is rife in Zimbabwe and affects all women, regardless of geographic location, wealth or education. According to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (2015) at least 13% of women have experienced physical violence and at least 13% have experienced sexual violence. The launch of the One Stop Centres is one of the many efforts to address the problem of Gender Based Violence in the country.

UNFPA has been working with 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.

The health sector response component of the UNFPA Zimbabwe gender programme includes the programmatic interventions such as the launch and roll out of the clinical guidelines on the management of SGBV, training of GBV multi-sectoral teams on the referral pathway and provision of comprehensive services to survivors of GBV at One Stop Centres. To date, more than 17 000 GBV survivors have been reached with services through the One Stop Centres. Other service centers for survivors of GBV set up by UNFPA and partners include six safe shelters set up by implementing partner Musasa in Bubi, Marange, Chikomba Gutu, Harare and Gweru.

UNFPA is committed to working with the GoZ in providing quality services to survivors of GBV and the community also has an important role in this endeavour.

“Addressing GBV adequately requires community intervention not only Government effort,” said Choice Damiso, UNFPA Gender Specialist. “GBV takes place within families and communities but sometimes GBV is tolerated if not actually encouraged as an acceptable form of dispute resolution. I encourage communities and families to learn values that give honour and respect to women and girls.”

UNFPA work on GBV in Zimbabwe is supported by the Government of Sweden, Britain and Ireland.

By Bertha Shoko