By Daniel Chigundu
UNITED NATIONS resident Coordinator Bishow Parajuli says the current ratio of women who are becoming victims of gender-based violence (GBV) in the country is unacceptable and more needs to be done to address it.
According to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS), 2015 violence against women and girls remains a huge problem with at least 1in every 3 women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence since the age of 15.
The survey further reveals that 27 percent in the same age group (15-49 years) have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives.
Addressing delegates at a signing ceremony for US$4.7 million commitment by Sweden and Ireland to support a joint program on Zero Tolerance to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) 365 in Zimbabwe, the UN Resident Coordinator said there is need to work together to achieve the desired results.
“We need to all work together in all this definitely, the sad story of 1 in 3 women becoming a victim this is really appalling and it’s not acceptable in the 21st century and especially in Zimbabwe with the strong constitution, women’s rights, human rights and an educated man-force.
“We need to hit the road running and push that harder so it’s really important we work together in this. We talk about SDGs you know gender equality etc and with this 1 in 3 women and girls becoming victims we cannot achieve it.
“So this is fundamental for the achievement of SDGs we need to integrate our programs to address gender issues while also addressing gender-based violence,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Sofia Calltorp said her country is extremely excited to be part of the partners because gender issues are at the centre of every program they do.
“Gender equality and rights of women and girls and children are part of every program we do throughout this country, and that is simply because we do not think there can be any social development, any economic development without gender equality.
“If we exclude half of the population we definitely won’t achieve the potential of this great country.
“We need to address GBV if we want to address and develop the core of society so I am extremely pleased to be here representing Sweden and committing US$3million to this program not only because this is key in addressing concerns such as GBV but also ensuring all partners work together,” she said.
Ambassador of Ireland to Zimbabwe and South Africa Liam MacGabhann urged the implementers to ensure the program achieve greater results.
“We just want to deliver our message of support, it’s a clear message, it’s a simple message and it’s a short message that Ireland is there for the next 5 years to support the work against GBV working with partners that we have worked with in the past programs.
“We will be looking at these programs to achieve real results and we have seen some of those results today and we are encouraging upscaling of the effort to achieve an even greater level of results,” he said.