By Loveness Nyathi
Women empowerment programmes are no longer just targeting women, but they are now focusing on their male counterparts as intricate partners in changing social views on women’s emancipation.
Michael Nyathi (60), from Madiliwola in Ward 6, Umzingwane was among scores of people that took part in an Inkanyezi Development Trust roadshow which kick-started in Dula ward 11 and wrapped up at Ward 6 business centre.
Nyathi attended the event to learn more about the impact of gender-based violence on women and girls. He says he didn’t know a lot about the subject but after the event, he now knows how he should treat women and the dangers of abusing them.
“I have learnt how we should treat women in our society. We must be there for them in good and in bad times” he said
“I have also learnt that as a father I can also buy sanitary wear for my daughter or my granddaughter”, said Nyathi.
Ngqabutho Sibanda (46) from Mathendele village, said he too learnt a lot about the dangers of Gender-based violence and how as men, they should treat women when they are on their monthly periods.
Nyathi urged his fellow men to do away with the stereotype that women are “dirty and unclean” when experiencing their menstruation cycles.
“Women and the girl child go through a lot during this time therefore we should be supportive all the time rather than neglect them. I have always been supportive to my family, and with the information, I got today I will up my game by not shying away from buying women in my family sanitary wear”, said Nyathi.
Nokuthula Moyo from Luvuno village said she once did cervical cancer screening and thought that was enough but after taking part in the roadshow event by IDT, she has learnt that she must take the test every two years. She urged other women to go for cervical cancer screenings because cancer is very painful preventing it by getting regularly screened doesn’t kill and it’s free.
Ward 6 Councillor Amanda Khumalo said she took part in the roadshow to engage with young and elderly women on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) issues.
She also learnt a lot from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) legal expert Mrs Prisca Dube and wished the programme had taken longer so that they could know more about their rights as women.
Khumalo urged young women to take part in such programmes so that they acquire the right knowledge from the right people.
Sithandekile Ncube a retired AIDS Coordinator for Umzingwane thanked Inkanyezi Development Trust and the South Western Region Gender Network (SWRGN) for bringing different services to women, girls as well as men.
She said that people need to have information on how to prevent STIs, information on HIV prevention, information on how to acquire family planning and information on how to prevent your prevention of getting HIV in the case one is a victim of rape.
Ncube urged women to utilize the information imparted to them. She also pleaded with those battling gender abuse to feel free and open up to the service providers who come to offer their services for free.
The Roadshow was a brainchild of Inkanyezi Development Trust (IDT) in conjunction with South Western Region Gender Network (SWRGN) and the project was funded by Christian Aid.
Sibakhele Tshuma from IDT said the roadshow was a part of the activities under a short SRHR project which started on the 27th of June and ended on the 7th of July.
“We were working in conjunction with SWRGN and the project was funded by Christian Aid. We started on June 27 and ended on July 7th covering 2 wards in Umzingwane” Tshuma said.
Their main activities included Covid vaccination awareness campaigns, He for She, Social accountability, and then full training on an SRHR Manual in the second week.
There was also a quiz session where school children from Dula Secondary school and some people who had blessed the event got away with dignity packs comprising of a bucket, sanitary wear, bath towels, bath soaps, toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Ward 11councillor, Mrs Sithabiso Nkomo appreciated the SRHR training offered to them and she applauded the fact that men were also trained on how to treat women.
The event was attended by a representative from Women Affairs, Umzingwane District Mr Mhlanga, Ward 6 and 11 councillors, Trinity project representative, PSI and PSA who shared information on SRHR and offered their free services to those who needed them. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights representative Prisca Dube who was also in attendance shared information on children’s rights and laws binding children from indulging in sex before 18 years.