Wedza Residents Development Initiative Trust (WERDIT), a registered Community Based Organization (CBO) operating in 15 wards of Wedza district joins the rest of the world in commemorating 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (GBV).
16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence takes place every year between the 25th of November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – and Human Rights Day on the 10th of December.
WERDIT seeks to utilise this commemoration as an organising platform for it’s stakeholders and duty bearers around the district to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. This year’s theme is “UNITE! to end violence against women and girls.”
The theme is quite befitting given the reality that violence against women and girls remains the most pervasive human rights violation in the district and beyond.
Already exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, its prevalence is now being further heightened by the emerging challenges of climate change, global conflict and economic instability.
The case of Chipo Gwese, a woman who lived with a disability who was killed in cold blood on the 20th of March 2022 by a serial killer whom she was hanging with remains very shocking and a testimony of how women are vulnerable to violence.
From 25 November till the 10th of December 2022, WERDIT is encouraging diverse residents groups in the district to get involved: from raising the voices of survivors and fire-brand women’s activists to supporting women’s initiatives towards their rehabilitation as equal partners with their male counterparts and ultimately their empowerment, reduction and prevention of violence against women and girls, and protection of women’s rights.
Through our Peace Building and Conflict Management project entitled, Building Resilience, Inclusiveness, Social Cohesion and Healing (BRICH) we have done a lot of work with relevant state and non- state actors to identify conflicts in the district with a bias towards GBV.
Targeting the hotspots of GBV WERDIT has conducted a cocktail of activities seeking to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women.
In that regard the WERDIT Peace Structures known as Community Advocacy Teams (CATs) in all the wards has managed to unearth a total of 40 cases of GBV between May and November 2022 and have been brought to the attention of relevant authorities in the district. Utilizing our cordial relation with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, council and the District Development Coordinator’s (DDC) Office we have managed to obtain a multiplicity of timely policy interventions as a remedy to the challenges to do with violation of women’s rights, particularly during the Covid 19 era.
Since It’s formation, WERDIT has successfully become a platform for state and non-state actors to deliberate GBV driven challenges and conflicts.
Consequently, these platforms have yielded noble resolutions currently being pursued by the duty bearers including establishment of a one-stop center for GBV in the district and rehabilitation centre for survivors of GBV.
At our platforms, it was also realized that peripheral areas in the district such as Zviyambe are too far from Wedza Police station, hence the call for a police post in that area.
The idea of neighborhood watch in hotspots for GBV also came out from the mentioned engagements, hence advocacy and resources to implement these ideas will continue to be on our agenda as we fight to eliminate all forms of violence against women.
To put end to violence against women in Wedza district and beyond, WERDIT will continue to challenge the attitudes that legitimize and normalize violence, and deny women’s right to safety. Men are generally the perpetrators of GBV. To bring to an end to violence, the attitudes of men need to change.
Shifting these attitudes and behaviors is a process, but gender equality means all of us, and working with all genders is the only way to see total development in this thematic area.