A local non-governmental organisation (NGO) dealing with girl child protection Shamwari Yemwanasikana has expressed concern over the increase in cases of child abuse involving girls in some parts of Mashonaland East.

In an effort to increase awareness on child protection and empowerment, Shamwari Yemwanasikana, which is operating in some parts of Mashonaland East, has opened an office in the Mureverwi area of Ward 10 under Marondera Rural District Council (RDC) within the jurisdiction of Chief Nenguo.

Shamwari Yemwanasikana Director Ekenia Chifamba said it is worrying that cases of child abuse continue to rise but said the involvement of traditional and religious leaders is set to help in addressing some of the challenges.

“I think the involvement of traditional leaders has come at the right time as it will help in addressing the many challenges we face in child abuse cases,” said Chifamba.

The area’s traditional leader Headman Mureverwi says girls have always been disadvantaged but welcomed the organisation for establishing a base in the area.

“For years, the girl child has been at a disadvantage as compared to the boys and this needs to be addressed,” Headman Mureverwi said.

According to the Shamwari Yemwanasikana’s monthly report, a total of 18 girls faced various forms of abuse which included sexual abuse, physical abuse, negligence and child marriages in Chihota, Seke and Murewa during the period 15 July to 10 August 2018.

The organisation is working Women’s Coalition Mashonaland East chapter, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, the Ministry of Health and Child Care and other civil society organisations in its advocacy work for girl child rights.