A youth-led civil society organisation, YES Trust Zimbabwe has raised concern over rising cases of gender based violence (GBV) in Plumtree.
According to a report by USAID the Covid-19 lockdown led to a 60% increase in cases in GBV as young girls and women were forced to stay at home with their abusers.
This sparked concern among citizens and YES Trust Zimbabwe.
Bright Sibanda, the executive director of YES Trust Zimbabwe, told Business Times that the organisation has been conducting campaigns across four wards in Plumtree against GBV.
“We have been doing some programmes in partnership with other organisations raising awareness on GBV. We have been doing road shows, community dialogues, street theatre and short films,” he said.
Sibanda said the organisation has been receiving reports of a sharp increase GBV from the Zimbabwe Republic Police and as a key stakeholder under Crime Consultative Community for Zimbabwe, saw that it was very important for us to carry out these activities especially in Plumtree.
“During the Covid-19 era we saw that there were a number of reports of GBV cases. So we partnered with the Ministry of Women Affairs, and in doing so were able to get reports, and realise their financial limitations to carry out these activities,” Sibanda said.
“We felt that a partnership with them as well as local businesses and community members would ensure that the campaigns were conducted.”
“Victims in marginalised communities for example, in rural areas live in communities where there are no police stations. You find that within five wards, they are only being served by one police station, making it difficult for the survivors of GBV to report. So through our campaigns we have been reaching out to those areas, giving them those toll free lines to call, also sensitising the community, community leaders, and young people on the need to report these cases.”
Sibanda said that the campaigns had already begun to bear fruit with victims now reporting cases.
“People are now reporting cases. We were also able to form community structures; we call them Charge Protection Committees and GBV Champions. These structures were created through the United Nations funded spotlight initiative project currently being implemented in six provinces across the country. The structures managed to advocate for a one-stop-centre in Plumtree then we took that matter to our donor who was able to provide funding. This was a win for the programme and the people of Plumtree.”
The campaign so far has only been held in four wards. Lack of funding has hindered the campaign from spreading any further.