All across the world, it’s tough growing up, especially as a girl, but Zimbabwe has joined the global movement towards changing the plight of the girl child and the women. First and foremost, the country adopted a firm stance against gender-based violence (GBV). For Zimbabwe, eradicating GBV is a crucial ingredient for achieving gender equality, where females and males have equal enjoyment of their rights, resources, opportunities and benefits.
With the emerging body of evidence that shows the importance of reaching girls early with empowerment efforts before they drop out of school, before they marry, before they enter romantic relationships, Zimbabwe has adopted a firm stance against GBV aimed at directly and deliberately supporting gender equality through multi-sectorial efforts.
Towards Sustainable Development
Zimbabwe has in the past three decades pursued deliberate policies aimed at acknowledging the importance of girls and women as individuals and their role towards development by taking steps to support girls’ empowerment and meaningful participation in the country’s economic activities. These policies speared headed by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development culminated in the launch of the country’s first ever National Girl’s and Young Women Empowerment Framework on 15 October 2014.
The National Girl’s and Young Women Empowerment
National Girl’s and Young Women Empowerment Framework clearly confirms Government’s commitment to the empowerment of girls and young women through ensuring that they actively and effectively participate at all levels of social, economic and political development and in programmes pertaining to the economic and social sectors such as the, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset), and other development concepts.
This framework, which is a culmination of extensive consultations with key stakeholders, chief among them the girls and young women themselves provides a guiding framework for all stakeholders involved in girls and young women empowerment. It seeks to, among other things;
- Eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl-child.
- Eliminate negative cultural attitudes and practices against girls and young women.
- Promote and protect the rights of the girls and increase awareness of her needs and potential.
- Eliminate discrimination against girls in education, skills development and training.
- Eradicate violence against the girl-child and young women.
- Promote the girl-child and young women’s effective participation in decision making and leadership at household, community and societal levels.
- Strengthen the role of the family in improving the status of the girl-child and young women.
Strategic Areas of Intervention
The framework is anchored on five main strategic areas of intervention around which strategic objectives, priority actions and actors have been formulated. Thus, it makes specific reference for the need for age appropriate, targeted interventions that promote their health, education and well-being as well as their economic and social status. The following are strategic goals for each strategic area of intervention:
- Education: To increase the effective participation of girls and young women and achieve parity in education and training enrolment at all levels by year 2020.
- Economic Empowerment: To increase girls and young women’s knowledge of economic issues and their participation in the economy of Zimbabwe.
- Safety and Protection: To increase the rate of reporting from 3% of girls who experience violence, to 50% by year 2020.
- Reproductive Health: To increase the percentage of girls and young women who know where to go to access sexual and reproductive health services by year 2020.
- Decision Making and Leadership: To increase the percentage of women participating in decision making and policy dialogues at community and national levels.
For each area of intervention, multiple strategic activities to be implemented by the Government are described. For example, under “safety and protection,” the framework suggests creating girls and young women’s interactive centres at community and institution levels and developing a national media campaign strategy and materials on harmful religious and traditional practices affecting girls and young women.