Yeukai Karengezeka and Nesia Mhaka
Government, in partnership with the United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU), yesterday launched a mobile one-stop-centre in Hopley, Harare, to assist victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and to eradicate violence against women and girls.
The mobile one-stop-centre programme falls under the Spotlight Initiative, which was launched by President Mnangagwa in June this year.
The model has garnered attention in development settings as an exemplary approach to facilitating comprehensive and ethical care for survivors of GBV.
It offers health care, psychosocial support, police victim friendly and legal aid services to GBV victims under one roof in communities.
The mobile one-stop-centre was launched at Tariro Clinic and Youth Centre.
Services will run for three days and then move to other parts of Harare South.
In a speech read on her behalf, Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Dr Sithembiso Nyoni said: “The Government of Zimbabwe remains committed to addressing the problems of Gender Based Violence (and) the ministry has adopted the “Zero Tolerance 365 National Programme on GBV Prevention and Response”, which stipulates that institutions should be established and be supported to provide timely and comprehensive services to survivors of GBV in a victim-friendly environment.
“This then facilitated the adoption of one-stop-centre.”
Dr Nyoni said since the establishment of some one-stop-centres, her ministry and other partners had provided services to 8 957 survivors of GBV in the last two years, with 65 percent of them being victims of sexual violence.
European Union Ambassador Timo Olkkonen expressed hope that the mobile centre would bring to the fore, cases of violence against women that often went unreported.
“The one-stop-centre model is the epitome of a coordinated response to GBV and has demonstrated positive results in increasing access to formal support services, providing a comprehensive support package,” he said.
Ambassador Olkkonen said training programmes would be implemented for service providers to ensure they had the requisite capacity and knowledge to deliver multi-sectoral services in a sustainable manner.
The centre would focus on prevention, protection of survivors and increased reporting of violence against women and girls.
He called on the women and girls of Hopley and surrounding areas to use the services to have better control over their sexual and reproductive health and their well-being.
“We need to stand up, speak out and act against sexual and Gender Based Violence until it is totally eradicated in our society. It is unacceptable and should not be normalised.
“Ending sexual and gender based violence and harmful practices is a joint responsibility,” said Ambassador Olkkonen.
The EU was contributing significantly to the provision of equality, essential services to the most marginalised and vulnerable women and girls through the Spotlight Initiative.
To date, Government in collaboration with the UN and the EU, has commissioned four fixed one-stop-centres in Makoni,Gwanda, Gweru and Chinhoyi.
Government has also started processes of setting up more one-stop-centres in Epworth, Bulawayo and Bindura.
They are expected to be running before end of next year.