World Vision, UDACIZA, to formulate gender policy

World vision has partnered the Union for the Development of the Apostolic and Zionist Churches In Zimbabwe Africa (UDACIZA), an umbrella body representing apostolic churches in the country in a bid to come up with a gender policy that is earmarked to reduce cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Gender Based Violence has increasingly become an issue of concern among faith communities as some religious beliefs and practices are used to justify and  perpetuate violence against women and girls.

Speaking to 263chat on the sidelines of the two day summit World Vision National Gender Coordinator Madrine Chiku said the policy formulation is part of the prevention of violence against adolescent girls and young women. She said the  project will deal with knowledge gaps, attitudes and practices that fuel GBV.

“We heard some key and disturbing issues that were coming from some of these Christian churches and we were struggling to get them addressed. There were issues to do with early marriages, immunization, and and also issues to do with treatment and use conventional medicine.

“So we started by conducting a gender based analysis after we got a heads-up from the body of trustees and this is when we discovered that there are issues of gender gaps,” said Chiku.

She added that they started an institutional bye-in where they commenced a capacity building exercise in terms of GBV issues

“After consulting our partners, we then decided to start a policy formulation and divided the 10 provinces into two, one in the Southern Region and the other in the Northern Region and we are very happy with the response thus far from the Northern Region as they have responded positively to our cause,” she said.

Chiku however said there are still some sticking issues pertaining the full understanding of what GBV and Gender Equality is .

From the Northern region, the same process will be conducted in the southern Region and then a validation process will begin with the formulation of the Gender Policy taking place.

The policy is expected to be ready or presentation by September this year.

Secretary General of UDACIZA, Reverend Edison Tsvakai said they are happy to engage World Vision in formulating the Gender Policy .He added that it is high time churches  start recognizing the rights of women and empowering them both in the church and in the community.

“The gender policy will be there to empower women in our society. It will also major on issues to do with their maternal health as well as equipping male church members with knowledge on how to do desist from gender based violence,” said Rev Tsvakai.

He added that the time is ripe for apostolic sects to start recognizing women and elevating them to leadership positions as opposed to the current status quo where leadership positions are solely reserved for men.

Reverend Tsvakai said it was of paramount importance that they, as UDACIZA, come together and formulate a policy which will see women acquiring top posts in the church.