Vapostori fights child marriages, GBV

The Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) is organising a youth and women conference to be held in October at Masuka Christian High School in Tynwald, Harare in a bid to curb early marriages as well as gender-based violence.

By Lazarus Sauti

The event, under the theme “The Role of The Church in Shifting the Paradigm on Youth and Women Engagement in Peace Building and Development”, is expected to attract over 5 000 apostolic youths and women drawn from all provinces.

Addressing journalist at the New Ambassador Hotel in Harare on Friday, ACCZ Gender and Child Care chairperson, Bishop Busani Sibanda, said the purpose-in-life of the youths and women conference is to teach apostolic members to guard against child marriages and gender-based violence.

He also said, youths and women constitute the majority of people in ACCZ and as such, the Gender and Childcare Unit is mandated with the task of creating a conducive environment that champions their development.

“Based on the large demographic profile under our organisation, we discovered that the majority of people in the affiliate member churches are women, the youths and children.

“Cognisant to this large demographic dividend, we established the Gender and Child Care as a unit under ACCZ and the unit is mandated with the task of creating an enabling environment that champions the development of women, children and the youths,” Bishop Sibanda said.

He also said the unit constantly strives to scout for solutions that empower, protect and champion the well-being of women, children and the youths since they are vulnerable to poverty and other social vices in churches as well as mainstream society.

To foster child development, Bishop Sibanda added, the unit successfully conducted anti-child marriages crusade under the theme “Zero Tolerance to Child Marriages, Iyi Ndiyo Sungano YaVapositori”.

“The campaign was conducted based on the hypothesis “Engage to Change Behaviour and Perception” and hinged on the premise that if people know more about the causes and effects of child marriages to families, churched as well as the nation, they can do more to eradicate this practice, creating resilient, empowered and progresses communities,” he added.

Bishop Sibanda also said: “As a Christian-oriented organisation, ACCZ believes in dialogue as a remedy to a lot of problems hence the upcoming conference is consciously tailored to allow interaction between males and females fostering gender equity.

“The conference also presents stakeholders with the unique opportunity to interact with the large number of women and young people so that they can discuss various issues in the areas of women and youth empowerment, education, business, health issues, gender-based issues and child marriages.”