The new dispensation says it is committed to strengthening the development and implementation of laws and policies that protect women and girls from all forms of violence.

This was said by Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Amon Murwira who represented President Emmerson Mnagagwa at the launch of the Spotlight Initiative, a global programme focusing on eliminating sexual and gender based violence and harmful practices.

“The Spotlight Initiative is an expression of the same political will that was demonstrated by the international community in adopting the Sustainable Development Goals, with Goal 5 focusing specifically on gender equality with concrete targets on ending violence against women and girls, as well as mainstreaming of gender across the entire 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Additionally, this initiative resonates well with the provisions in our Constitution and (Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) which recognise gender mainstreaming in all sectors of the economy as an essential tool to eliminate all negative economic, social and cultural practices that impede equality of sexes and gender equality as fundamental to achieving equitable, sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development,” he said.

The President said that in order to address violence against women it is important to address the root causes.

“It is my strong belief that in order to effectively address violence against women, it is critical to address the root causes in particular issues of economic empowerment of women as lack of it increases women and girls vulnerability,” he said.

The President also reiterated the government’s commitment to partnerships with United Nations, civil society organisations and all key stakeholders in the implementation of the Spotlight Initiative.

The initiative is supported by the European Union and the United Nations and is a 4 year programme premised on the Theory of Change.

The programme will be coordinated by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development together with the office of UN Resident Coordinator, EU and UN women.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Cde Sithembiso Nyoni said Zimbabweans have to change the manner that they do business so as to transform society.

“We have to change our manner of doing business to effectively transform our society in a sustainable manner. The programme avails a rare opportunity to introduce and adopt new innovations to tackle antisocial traditions and belief systems without relegating our social values of Ubuntu,” she said.

It will be implemented in 5 provinces namely Mashonaland Central, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Matebeleland South and Harare and 23 districts in these provinces have been selected based on high incidences of sexual gender based violence recorded in them.

The programme will have six (6) interconnected and mutually-reinforcing pillars which are aimed at holistically addressing violence against women and girls namely: law and policies, institutions strengthening, prevention and social norms, services, data and women’s rights movement.