Government is happy with the recently formulated gender policy which seeks to end cases of gender based violence.
Addressing delegates at the unveiling of the gender policy, which was formulated by World Vision Zimbabwe and Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe (Udaciza), Deputy Minister of Women Affairs and Community Development, Abigail Damasane, said government is chuffed by this progressive policy as it will end gender violence related issues.
“We are happy with this initiative which is in line with government’s effort in ending gender based violence. This is a step in the right direction if we want to see an end to violence in homes,” Damasane said.
She added the policy would effectively empower Udaciza and affiliated church leaders to transform religious communities and congregations to be active agents of change in the elimination of violence against women and girls.
“The policy seeks to discourage adverse religious beliefs and practices, thereby, encouraging faith-based communities to be more gender-sensitive and responsive to gender equality,” she said.
Deputy Minister Damasane also revealed that the formulation of this policy is in line with Section 56(3) of the Constitution, which outlaws unfair treatment of any person on the grounds of sex, gender, culture, religious beliefs, marital status, age, and disability, economic or social status, among others.
However, Damasane said the policy must be fully implemented if the intended results are to be achieved.
Speaking to 263 chat on the sidelines of the unveiling process, World Vision National Gender Coordinator, Madrine Chiku said they are happy to have come up with such an important initiative and urged the apostolic sect to abide by the policy as it will help in the eradication of gender based violence.
“We are happy as an organization, this is just the beginning of a number of projects that we are working on in trying to curb gender based violence issues. We hope this will go a long way and we hope all the apostolic sects will get to read the policy and put it into action as they have, for long, been major perpetrators of such acts,” Chiku said.
World Vision Zimbabwe director, Ish Emmanuel said Gender Based Violence was increasingly become an issue of concern among faith communities, as some religious beliefs and practices were often used to justify or perpetuate violence against women and girls.
“According to a gender-based analysis undertaken by World Vision Zimbabwe last year, religious leaders were identified as the main first port of call for Gender Based Violence victims,” he said.
Udaciza secretary-general, Reverend Edson Tsvakai said practices such as virginity testing for girls, Kugara mapfihwa and forced child marriages should be done away with.