Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Monica Mutsvangwa, addressing delegates at Spotlight Close Out Event in Harare recently said she was amused to be part of the intiative to eliminate violence against women, girls and children.

“I am honoured and proud to be part of this gathering to celebrate the Zimbabwe Spotlight Initiative, coordinated within Government by my Ministry as the host Government Ministry for the Spotlight Initiative, and to share with you, the Government of Zimbabwe’s priorities for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women & Girls in our country”, said Mutsvangwa.

Mutsvangwa went on to say that,the Zimbabwe Spotlight Initiative to Eliminate Violence against women, girls and children has given the Ministry a strong foundation to expand from, and created momentum in all sectors, which we can build upon now to accelerate towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 5.

“We should harness, not lose this Momentum! To sustain and expand the gains of the Zimbabwe Spotlight Initiative and to accelerate the implementation of the High-Level Political Compact on Ending Gender-Based Violence & Harmful Practices, which is aligned to our National Development Strategy 1 and Vision 2030.

I would like to share with you my Ministry’s Priorities for advancing Gender Equality, Women’s Rights & the Empowerment of Women and Girls”, Mutsvangwa said.

Some of our strategic priorities, among others, include, implementation of the Plan of Action of the High-level Political Compact and the National GBV Strategy, which we will launched in December.

These are national blueprints for addressing GBV as well as for promoting and protecting the human rights of women and girls as citizens.

Revitalization of the National Gender Machinery as a mechanism for coordination, lobbying and oversight for the implementation of laws and policies to advance gender equality in all sectors.

Acceleration and strengthening of Gender-Responsive Budget Initiatives led by the Ministry of Finance and Investment Promotion, as well as the creation of models to mobilize domestic funding for gender equality, empowerment and GBV programmes in partnerships with the Private Sector & Development Partners.

Partnering with others on Women’s Economic Empowerment, with specific focus on GBV survivors, the most marginalized and vulnerable groups of women in our rural areas.

Knowledge Generation to Build the Case and to Provide Evidence and Data to inform our policies, laws, and programmes in for example, studies on the Cost of Gender Inequalities, the Cost of GBV, dedicated studies on Violence against Women and Girls, among others.

Strengthening the Ministry’s Gender Equality and GBV Coordination mechanisms and structures at the national and sub-national levels.

Implementation of national and sub-national awarenessraising and Information, Education and Communications campaigns on women and girls political, economic, and social rights as citizens and GBV Prevention Campaigns
I appreciate the spirit and format of this event to provide us with an opportunity to dialogue together on what needs to be done and on how we can join forces.

In addition to sharing some strategic priorities, Mutsvangwa ended with three key messages on Commitment, Financial Resources and Collective Action.

The Government of Zimbabwe has a strong commitment to achieving SDG 5 and to the creation of a society where women and girls can freely, without the threat of violence in the public or private spheres, exercise choice, have a voice and agency, and are respected, valued, and treated as equal citizens.

She went on to say, “Our Constitution, laws, and policies and the High Level Political Compact on Ending GBV and Harmful Practices (HLPC) signed by the President, His Excellency Dr. Emmerson Mnangagwa on behalf of ALL of Government, and all the international and regional gender equality and women’s rights Conventions and Protocols signed and ratified by Zimbabwe, is testament to this Commitment”.

The Ministry need to invest in developing and strengthening institutional systems and mechanisms that create accountability among duty-bearers to the implementation of this strong legal and policy framework; and stronger messaging on gender inequality as a driver of violence against women and girls.

Violence against women, girls and children is preventable and gender inequalities should not be promoted as the norm in Zimbabwe.

Financing for Gender Equality and for initiatives to eradicate GBV & Harmful Practices in Zimbabwe must be increased. The Government, Private Sector and Development Partners must work together and within their individual sectors to mobilize and increase the financial resources for addressing the systemic, structural, and cultural barriers which perpetuate inequalities and violence against women and children.

The Government of Zimbabwe has committed in the HLPC to increase financing of the GBV response by 2030 through genderresponsive budgeting, public-private partnerships and other domestic resource mobilization models that will be explored.

“We still need financial support from development partners for programmes and initiatives on gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls and for the elimination of GBV.

We need coordinated, consistent and collective approaches and actions to address these urgent issues.

What the Spotlight Initiative model has shown us is that when all stakeholders are coordinated in a comprehensive manner with a shared vision and objectives, we can move the needle faster towards change.

Our efforts to achieve gender equality and to eliminate all forms of GBV must be mutually re-enforcing.

We need far more joint initiatives and programmes involving Government, Civil Society, Private Sector, Independent Commissions and Oversight Institutions, Development Partners, among others, which create and respect national ownership.

My Ministry, as the convenor of the Inter-Ministerial Platform during the Spotlight Initiative, already started consultations between Government Ministries, departments, Independent Commissions and our technical partners in the UN on the development of a new country programme outline for a joint programme on gender equality to expand the gains.

We cannot expand the gender equality gains and eliminate GBV in isolation. Closing the gender inequality gaps and reaching the most vulnerable requires holistic, coordinated, and well- resourced programmes and partnerships.

I look forward to our continued engagements as we focus on the next steps in order to sustain the momentum of the Spotlight
Initiative”, she said.

The intiative comes as the global community is in a 16 days campaign against gender based violence.

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