World Vision Zimbabwe in partnership with United Nations Women’s Organization undertook a giant stride in addressing gender based violence issues in colleges and universities by conducting awareness lectures in the higher learning institutions.
This comes on the backdrop of a Gender Policy that was formulated with the help of the Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe (UDACIZA) recently with the aim of fighting gender violence in the apostolic sects.
Speaking to 263chat on the sidelines of a two day workshop in the Mashonaland Central Provincial capital, Bindura, which was held at the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University (ZEGU) and Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) World Vision National Gender Coordinator, Madrine Chiku said they have resorted to engaging universities and colleges in an effort to spread awareness on gender based violence issues.
Chiku said “We are very pleased to be hosting these workshops. We have deliberately started to engage colleges and universities in an effort to bring awareness on the issue of gender violence.
“Too often students, both males and females, suffer gender based violence and they do not realize it until it’s too late. So that is why we are here to educate them on what gender based violence is all about,”
She added that World Vision is on the drive to see an end to gender based violence in schools, homes or workplaces.
With Mashonaland Central Province topping the list of gender violence cases, Chiku said they had to start in the province in an effort to educate the locals on the dangers associated with gender violence.
“We designed a program in which we engage provinces and spread the message. As World Vision, it is our hope and vision to see an end to gender violence. We want this scourge to be a thing of the past and it can only start through these programs,” Chiku added.
Students who attended the two workshops, paid homage to World Vision and its partners for coming up with such an initiative.
Said Millicent Chipfunde from ZEGU, “Such workshops help us fight gender based violence and react to it. These programs should involve more males so that they also get to air out their views with regards GBV.
“Most males fear coming out of their shells if they are abused and with programs like this one, they will be told on ways to report their cases without facing discrimination,”
Another student, Nyasha Jabangwe said it was important for victims of GBV to come out and report as failure to do so will lead to depression and low self-confidence.
The Dean of Students at BUSE, Mr. Retias Makado said on occasional basis, reports of conflicts within students, especially those cohabiting, are reported to his office.
“You find that as students begin to grow, they engage in courtship and some young man or young lady may not have the right approach, so that when we have cases of gender violence.
Some are not physical as such but are mostly verbal but we still discourage any form of gender violence,” said Makado.
He said his institution has for long been holding awareness campaigns to educate students on GBV issues. He however said with organizations like World Vision, they can accelerate programs which they already have under their belt.
Shocking figures from the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey recently revealed that almost 47% of women face some form of gender based violence.
The survey also revealed that only 13% of those abused get help from the police while five percent seek assistance from doctors, lawyers or health workers.