Following increased incidences of gender based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, a local advocacy group has taken to social media to raise awareness against the scourge that continue to claim lives across the globe.
WELEAD in partnership with the United Nations (UN) in Zimbabwe conducted various activities to raise awareness on GBV and human rights during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.
In a statement, WELEAD said COVID-19 disruptions had worsened gender based violence hence their campaign to educate and empower women to speak out.
“The period has seen a spike in cases of GBV because of a number of reasons. More is needed to fundamentally change the narrative and make this violation of the rights of women and girls unacceptable, including commitments at work, in schools and in homes,” the organization said.
Reports from women serving organizations under the Spotlight Initiative (2020) recorded a 45% increase in reported GBV cases during the 2020 lockdown period.
With youths constituting 65% of the population the organisation implemented activities through the use of social media platforms to reach out young people in the fight against GBV.
“Much of the activities were implemented using social media and electronic platforms to reach out to young people with the key messages of ending violence against women and girls and promoting human rights. Informed by this and with the broad aim of increasing communication and publicity of messages on GBV to young people by young people, UN in Zimbabwe in partnership with WELEAD Trust rolled out a series of activities throughout the 16 days using its social media platforms on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
The use of social media platforms engaged the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi, the Swedish Ambassador HE Asa Pehrson, the United Nations Resident Coordinator Dr. Alex Gasasira, the Chairperson of the Gender Commission Margret Sangarwe, the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Dr. Elasto Mugwadi and the European Union in Zimbabwe Ambassador, HE Timo Olkkonen.
Also involved in the campaign were Namatai Kwekweza (WELEAD Trust Director), Florence Mudzingwa (Hope Resurrect Trust Founder), Makomborero Muropa (Section 7 Department of Research and Evidence) and Plan International Programme Manager for Bulawayo and Matabeleland North Noreen Makhurane.
WELEAD said the programme attracted various intersectional groups such as women, youth and persons with disability and attracted more than 1600 people on Facebook and YouTube.
The youth organisation said human rights and inclusion “have become the center of attention among young people on social media platforms for WELEAD Trust under the hashtags #StandUp4HumanRights and #Stand4Inclusion.”