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Dutch Embassy To Reward Gender Champions

As part of this year’s 16 days of activism against gender based violence commemorations, the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Zimbabwe has come up with an innovative program to recognize and reward outstanding individuals making a difference in their communities through championing women and girls empowerment.

16 Days of activism against gender-based violence which runs from 25 November to 10 December is an internationally recognized campaign introduced to bring to the fore challenges faced by women and girls. 
This year, the Netherlands embassy has come up with a unique way of commemorating this important event through rewarding community influencers working to promote the rights of women and girls.

In an telephone interview with 263Chat, one of the judges and international acclaimed women’s rights campaigner, Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda said the nominations are open to every Zimbabwe who feel they are making a difference in their society.

“We are opening this campaign to the public, there are no limits. You might be a school prefect, a chief, a policeman, as long as they are doing something within their community to address gender based violence, small things that are making a difference in our community,” said Gumbonzvanda

“It’s not restricted and 16 individuals will be identified by the judges. The individuals will be recognized during the 16 days of activism and their stories will be shared. A massive recognition of their work will be done,” added Nyaradzai.

Another judge, Nigel Mugamu, founder of 263Chat added that the nomination is not restricted to people with high public profiles.

“We want the public to nominate people in their communities who are making an impact in trying to protect and empower young girls and women. We want to recognize their efforts in trying to make a difference as we celebrate 16 days of GBV. They might even just be women who inspire and mentor girls. Our definition of a gender champion is quite broad,” said Mugamu.

“It  might be that woman in your rural setting who is do everything to make the living of young women easier, we don’t want this campaign to be urban based, we want to include everyone,” added Mugamu.

According to the rules of the nomination process running from 16 September to 6 October, one has to simply log on to the website www.16days.co.zw/nominate and enter a name and phone number of the nominee and also the reason why they think they are making a difference in the community.

Another option would be by sending the name and phone number and address through a text to 0772 233 994 or and email to nominate@16days.co.zw.

A high-profile panel of judges will assess all the nominations and select 16 winners.
The team will then visit each one of the nominees wherever they are in Zimbabwe, and make a short video of the work being done by the selected gender champions.

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