MUTARE– A faith based non-governmental organization has called for gender sensitive Cyclone Idai response programs to cater for essential reproductive health needs of women and girls in the affected areas.
By Donald Nyarota
Young Men’s Christian Association Zimbabwe (YMCA) said this while handing over re-usable sanitary pads and stationery to over 100 beneficiaries including orphans and primary school students from child headed families pupils.
With developmental partners and government departments raising a red flag over gaps in gender responsive relief program, YMCA in partnership with Y-Care International have stepped up to provide social psycho-support, education and reproductive.
Speaking at the handover ceremony held at Nyahode clinic, Pfumo village, ward 13, YMCA Zimbabwe, Youth Chairperson Elton Jim said their intervention would provide sustainable and holistic support for victims of Cyclone Idai.
Jim said while support efforts focused on providing shelter and clothing, there was now need for extended support, particularly for vulnerable women, in areas including reproductive health, education and physco social support.
“We firmly believe and fully persuaded to use a holistic approach not just distributing food handout but we are looking to something that is more sustainable and our primary focus is girl child and young children because they are the future of our country.
“We have also seen it fit to remember the girl child by introducing re-usable pads which are very economically. We firmly believe that there should special attention to reproductive health needs to ensure our girls are safe,” said Jimu.
Jimu said women vulnerabilities were exposed by the climate change induced cyclone, relegating young girls to vending to cater for reproductive health needs for women.
He said they have extended their program areas in other rural districts of the province to ensure sustainable response models for disaster induced risk, as well as sexual reproductive health.
“Currently we are at a point where we want young girls here to produce the pads and sell to other communities outside the Cyclone hit areas so that they can raise income for other needs. Currently, we have a rural branch in Tanda Rusape we will be operating from there as well. The whole idea is about sustainability and continuity,” he said.
YMCA National Programs Coordinator, Francis Lembani, said they will pursue their thematic focus areas of health, child welfare and education as key indicators of the country’s performance.
Preliminary reports for the Civil Protection Unit estimates that the economic impact of the Cyclone set back the country’s Gross Domestic Product by 0.6 percent due to infrastructure destruction, which hindered economic activities in the area.
“Maternal health, child welfare and education are our key areas and we believe these are key indicators of the country`s economic growth,” said Lembani.
“This is a critical project for now looking at our economic situation where most women cannot afford sanitary pads and it’s imperative that we produce re usable sanitary pads. We are supporting the psycho social support programme to help the young children to ensure they heal and continue with their normal lives.”
The assistance comprised stationary, satchels and re-usable sanitary pads.
Village head for Pfumo Village, under Chief Muusha, Nickson Pfumo, expressed gratitude at the gesture saying the support will go a long way in rebuilding the traumatized society.
He said while the effects of the cyclone affected both men and women, there was need for special attention to there needs of women and children who have been left orphaned.
“People can easily rebuild their lives if they receive maximum help and support. I am delighted that young women and children are being assisted to rebuild their lives because they are affected more, especially the young girls who lost parents they will assume more responsibilities.
“Without hope and support we will perish,” said Pfumo.
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