International Day of the Girl Child commemorations
By: myadmin • October 18, 2018
On the 11th of October we spent our day at Shingirirai High School as we unpacked the reason behind the day. It goes without saying that the Girl Child still experiences multiple vulnerabilities which if not addressed will be a hindrance to attainment of Goal 5 of our SDGs. We still have work to do. The District Schools Inspector of Mazowe District highlighted how the District is among those with the highest rate of HIV infection among young people, especially girls. What are we going to do about this? As ROOTS we will continue the work we do and invite you to come along with us as we empower the Girl Child and young people. Thank you to Culture Fund for enabling our work in Mazowe and making today possible.
World Contraception Day Commemorations
By: myadmin • October 18, 2018
World Contraception Day takes place on September 26th every year. The day’s mission is to improve awareness of all contraceptive methods available and enable young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health.As ROOTS we commemorated World Contraception Day at Maizelands Farm, Bindura. This initiative is part of our efforts through the Right Here Right Now platform to promote access to SRH services including contraception. The turn out was incredible. Locals gathered received HIV testing and there were over 40 consultations on family planning and over 10 women received services. Our initial target age group was the 15-24 years.
Discussion was around questions such as:
Do young people know about their sexual reproductive health and rights?
Are young people accessing health services?
Why are young people not accessing health services?
Most members of the group knew about ASRH and what they can do to for healthy living styles but young people within the area didn’t know that they have a right to seek and access health services even information for free. Young people said they were not accessing health services because service providers attitudes were largely negative towards young people and there was a lot of stigma and the long distances to service delivery points hence they appreciated service providers who came for the commemoration. Another problem highlighted was the lack of confidentiality since service providers were also members of the community that young people come from. Again the requirement to pay a fee for consultation which they usually cannot afford to pay due to their economic status was another hindrance to access.
A huge thank you to Transmart and Youthengage for the fruitful collaboration!
Men2Men Community Dialogues
By: myadmin • October 10, 2018
Under the project Men 2 Men: Engaging Men and Boys as partners in addressing Gender Based Violence and SRHR issues facing child brides; ROOTS had several community dialogues in five local communities during the month of September. The community dialogues were held in Wards 8& 11 Bindura district with trained facilitators on the ground. The dialogues aimed at addressing the environment in which child brides are living in and also discuss issues of Gender Based Violence in communities. Activities within the month of September aimed at supporting communities with SRHR information and conducting discussions on GBV and assessing the efficiency of the tool kit. All in all four community dIalogues were conducted by ROOTS in the following areas: Bemberero, Glamorgan, Woodlands and Arcadia.
On the 27th of September at 1000hrs there were around 60 people gathered at Bemberero for the Bridges training facilitated by ROOTS. Exercises during the training resulted in several discussions around social dynamics within the community. For example a disturbing scenario of early child marriage and GBV was then highlighted by one of the community member where an apostolic man in the area who has 12 wives and some of them below the age of 18. This helped ease into the condom usage and demonstrations. Feedback from the attendees was that they would appreciate having these dialogues at least once every month as they have been helpful. It was then agreed and arranged to have further sessions at Bemberero since it was impossible to have all the topics covered in one day.
Just like Bemberero, Glamorgan is also a farming community. The attendees of this dialogue were gathered by 1400hrs on the 27th of September. 2 bridges trained facilitators led the proceedings that were to a larger extent successfully carried out. The major discussion was around GBV as it was evidently one of the most topical issues in the community. The women especially spoke out and complained that men did not tolerate being denied sex. Through the “the future I want” exercise from the bridges training, the facilitators were able to dissect the matters and drivers towards solutions to these problems. The community requested the facilitators to have more sessions with them and for ROOTS to organize more of these dialogues.
The Woodlands community gathered in the morning of 28th September There was a crowd of slightly above 30 gathered. The major topic under discussion at woodlands was marital rape and also around reasons why condom use was not considered in relationships owing to suspicions raised when partners propose the usage of condoms. Through the bridges training on “the future you want” it was proposed that couples communicate openly about their life goal as well as on SRHR issues. Demonstrations on how HIV attacks the body were done by bridges facilitators with the community members actively participating. The picture below shows participants in Woodlands in a group picture after their dialogue:
In Arcadia people gathered at Maize lands secondary school. There was a high appreciation of the work ROOTS does and the bridges training at basic. Religious and traditional norms were mentioned as the drivers for gender based violence and early child marriages. Solutions that point to policy formulation at national level were proposed by the community. The bridges facilitators then took the lead with the crossing the bridges exercise where attendees identified some of the challenges mentioned here as hindrances to the future they wanted. This enabled the facilitators to crack the societal hindrances mentioned above and ask people to open their minds to choice and the dynamism of society. The day closed as the facilitators were picking cases from the community that they would follow up on after the dialogue including a child marriage situation.
All the four communities need ROOTS to increase the frequency of these dialogues and also their reach. They appreciated that this was a new way of tackling GBV, SRHR and ECM issues and also pledged to commit to the taught lessons and even initiate others into it. ROOTS definitely needs to be more active in terms of policy advocacy and effect constitutional amendments. Looking ahead, the communities want ROOTS to continuously be part of them and vice versa.
As with past experiences women were generally much more open and willing to participate in the dialogues as compared to men. We need to ensure greater representation from men and boys. Another challenge was communication between project members was sometimes hindered by poor network connections in most areas where the dialogues took place.
The collaboration between Bridges of Hope Training and ROOTS, supported by Hivos has so far yielded positive results as far as the work towards bettering local communities is concerned. The local people in all the areas where dialogues were conducted requested more future dialogues.
Men2Men:Developing a Participatory SBCC Toolkit for Engaging Men and Boys as partners in addressing Gender Based Violence and SRHR issues facing child brides
By: myadmin • October 10, 2018
Developing a Participatory SBCC Toolkit for Engaging Men and Boys as partners in addressing Gender Based Violence and SRHR issues facing child brides was the name and aim of this project being implemented by ROOTS and Bridges of Hope Training. The project kicked off to a great start in Bindura South District. Involvement of facilitators and community members in the toolkit development has shown positive results that are pointing towards greater ownership of the Bridges project by the community. The project managed to identify and recruit community facilitators (including young men and women) who are influencers in their wards making it easier for community mobilisation and acceptance of the project in the communities. The use of sports proved to be a useful strategy to engage men as partners in ending GBV faced by girls in child marriage. The traditional chief was one of the trainee facilitators as he showed personal commitment to address GBV. An immediate result of the training was that 3 of the trained male facilitators shared that they used to perpetrate GBV in their homes and shared that the training was a “eye opener’ and they committed to end this social injustice. ROOTS also carried out a baseline study that will inform project implementation. The following were the major activities: Pre-test and refine “BRIDGES” Pilot Package, Baseline Study and training of Community Mobilizers in a 5-day workshop1. Pre-test and refine “BRIDGES” Pilot Package
Having developed a pilot toolkit Peter Labouchere joined the ROOTS team of 4 highly experienced male facilitators, ROOTS representatives, and a local artist for 4 days (13-18 July) to pre-test, develop and refine the pilot toolkit and ensure that the activities, materials and visual images are appropriately adapted. The following were the major activities:Pre-test and refine “BRIDGES” Pilot Package, a baseline Study and finally training of Community Mobilizers in a 5-day workshop. ROOTS and Bridges of Hope Training jointly organised a 5-day workshop programme at Arcadia Dam near Bindura, to train 30 Community Mobilizers from that district to use the revised ‘August 2018 Trial Edition’ of the BRIDGES toolkit most effectively and adapt it to suit different contexts and target groups. The Bridges of Hope Training produced 35 complete training kits. Each of the 30 Community Mobilizers who completed the program received a complete Bridges toolkit.
Altogether this phase of the project was a resounding successs.
National Symposium on Safe Abortion
By: myadmin • October 10, 2018
Roots, with the support of the Right Here Right Now (RHRN) Platform hosted a National Symposium on safe abortion on the 12th of September at the Bronte Hotel. RHRN is a consortium of 11 youth led and youth serving organization committed to young people’s access to young people’s effective access to sexual reproductive health rights. The platform also focuses on freedom from stigma, discrimination and violence. The aim of the symposium was to congregate various stakeholders working on Termination of Pregnancy (ToP) to create a strategy for harmonizing efforts as a means of intensifying advocacy campaigns, avoiding duplication and collectively tracking progress. The Objectives of the Symposium were to: Raise awareness about the state of abortion in Zimbabwe, lobby for the Review of the ToP, create a roadmap for advocacy around ToP and fially hold government leadership accountable to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on the current state of affairs.
Critical players and legislators who were present included: Traditional chiefs, Senators, Parliamentarians, Representatives from the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), and critical state department representatives. Many of these stakeholders have decision making, implementation and oversights responsibilities towards effective ToP policies in Zimbabwe. Critical regions, persons with disabilities and the Research Department of Parliament were also represented.
On giving key note remarks, Dr. Madzima, the Deputy Director of Family Health at the MoHCC highlighted that Zimbabwe has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, at 651 deaths per every live 100 000 births and that bortions account for about 20% of these maternal deaths and overwhelming evidence suggests that illegal abortions, which are usually conducted under unhygienic conditions, contribute to the given statistics.
Miss Jessie Majome- a legal expert and former active parliamentarian in Zimbabwe- went through the history of the ToP Act since 1977, giving outlines of the Act’s evolution and the implications associated with it. She highlighted the Act’s weaknesses as a policy instrument. Jessie then challenged the legislators who were present to ensure ToP amendments that will pave the way for accessible, efficient and safe abortions in Zimbabwe. Jessie highlighted two critical factors surrounding medical and legal circumstances for terminating a pregnancy: Medical circumstances- ToP could only be approved if it threatened the physical health of the mother or if it affected the physical and mental health of the baby and legal circumstances- ToP could only be done under rape and incest cases
Challenges and limitations to the ToP were explored during discussions and the following were some of the main ones: The process is often prolonged and too bureaucratic for victims intending to safely terminate, ToP is not pro-choice. It does not consider the mental health of the mother as a good enough condition to terminate pregnancy and it disregards economic situations, which are key in significant cases in the Sub Saharan Region, for example, Zambia has included such circumstances.
In conclusion, appreciation was given to all participating stakeholders, particularly the active legislators. There are two strands to safe abortion that need to be weaved together: 1) How do stakeholders make the current ToP Act work 2) How do stakeholders address the high rates of unsafe abortions- regardless of whether or not the ToP is effective. The work at hand is enormous and needed urgent collective effort to save the lives of many young girls being lost through unsafe abortions. There was a call for collective efforts towards follow up advocacy plans.