Health

Sexual Reproductive Health Rights Africa Trust (SAT) speaks on their drive to end Gender Based Violence.

In light of ending violence against women, SAT conducts data collection on gender based violence, mapping hotspot areas to strengthen evidence based programming in response to the fight against GBV, it also conducts awareness campaigns against GBV, engaging religious and traditional leaders for solidarity support in ending harmful cultural practices against women and girls in communities. We also work with local adolescent girls and young women as community game changers who promote information education against harmful practices, building the agency of adolescent girls and young women in communities with SRHR knowledge on consent and bodily integrity as well as the referral pathways for reporting cases of rape……….  Tendai A. Sauta speaks to Raymond Mazhambe SRHR Youth Officer at (SAT).

Tell us about who is SAT and your involvement in the fight against GBV?

Sexual Reproductive Health Rights Africa Trust (SAT)  is  a locally registered   innovative organization with a regional footprint contributing to improved systems for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of girls, adolescents and women in East and Southern Africa. Our flagship programmes “The Girl Plan”  places girls at the centre of health with focus areas towards a gender equal Africa, demanding services fit for purpose and that AGYW enjoy rights, and accountability in service planning and delivery.  We work to empower girls, adolescents and women to participate in inclusive and equitable systems for health at local, national and regional levels. SAT operates in the ESA region, connecting community voices and experiences to national, regional and international networks, while bringing global best practices in SRHR to communities through strategic partnerships. In light of ending violence against women, SAT conducts data collection on gender based violence, mapping hotspot areas to strengthen evidence based programming in response to the fight against GBV, it also conducts awareness campaigns against GBV, engaging religious and traditional leaders for solidarity support in ending harmful cultural practices against women and girls in communities. We also work with local adolescent girls and young women as community game changers who promote information education against harmful practices, building the agency of adolescent girls and young women in communities with SRHR knowledge on consent and bodily integrity as well as the referral pathways for reporting cases of rape. We also work with other stakeholders such as the Victim Friendly Unit, Msasa project, Adult Rape Clinic, Population Services Zimbabwe engaging them at various levels of responding to GBV.

Which Innovations did you push for to solve or ameliorate the COVID-19 crisis and in particular GBV?

SAT during the period of the lockdown made use of its social media platforms and the national media platforms to promote information education on COVID-19 and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights including Gender Based Violence (GBV). We used our facebook page platform, “YouthWyze Zimbabwe” to share information on COVID-19, promoting access to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and services during the lockdown through our partnership with Population Services Zimbabwe, we also promoted referral pathways especially the access to SRHR services using the emergency numbers list developed by CSOs as shown below;

What technologies have you embraced to promote and advocate for the well-being and gender responsiveness?

At the beginning of the year, SAT launched a “YouthWyze Zimbabwe” Facebook page, an interactive platform for connecting young people with information education related to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, COVID-19 and Mental Health and for promoting uptake of SRHR services to prevent unplanned pregnancies and STI and HIV infections. SAT also continues to use national media platforms such as the community and national radio stations, and national television platforms such as ZBC and Zimpapers Television Network to disseminate information on SRHR and gender equality especially addressing harmful cultural practices against women and girls. SAT has also acquired a tollfree line platform where young people can call in, when they have mental health challenges, GBV cases and other SRHR concerns where we refer them to the right service providers for the various cases. 

Challenges

Reduced reach of the adolescents and young adults that we work with in community due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions especially in our outreach programmes. However, for increased reach online programmes we continue to support the young people and other stakeholders with data connectivity for them to participate in our SRHR programmes.

Success Stories

Conducted Radio Programmes on Capitalk FM, Diamond FM, Ya FM and Radio Zimbabwe providing comprehensive sexuality education and sharing the importance of meaningful youth participation in SRHR during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Engaged Communities which include; Insiza, Mutasa, Mufakose, Chitungwiza and Mbare with access to SRHR information and services and education on ending violence against women and girls. Developed a country policy brief on GBV in pandemics and disaster preparedness key for informing policy and programming. Increased reach of our online communities with information and education on SRHR through our YouthWyze Zimbabwe facebook page and through our partnership with Identities Media Holdings. We also conducted the National SRHR Activism Awards ceremony celebrating the extraordinary work being done by adolescents and young adults advancing the SRHR agenda and also responding to GBV in communities.

Concluding Remarks

It is important to recognise sexual reproductive health and rights as a fundamental part of our well-being and an essential part of women and girls that should be valued and respected. We believe in a gender equal society that respects bodily integrity and values freewill to express one’s self without coercion or manipulation. In this regard, society should come to a level where we respect one another and promote gender equality at all levels of the community and give women and girls a chance to lead successful lives with a healthy well-being free from violence.

INTERVIEW COMPILED BY TENDAI A. SAUTA   0772761139 (27-11-2020)

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