EU commits US$34 million to tackling sexual gender based violence

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By Anna Chibamu

GOVERNMENT is set to receive US$34 million from the European Union (EU) in an initiative meant to help create a violence-free, gender-responsive and inclusive society.

European External Action Service deputy secretary-general, Christian Leffler announced this at the Spotlight Initiative country programme launch this week.

“Gender-based violence is not inevitable but is literally man-made. The solution lies with the strong cooperation of all, international actors, government, CSOs, local authorities and citizens,” Leffler said.

The programme, according to the EU envoy, will be implemented by the UN in partnership with the Ministry of Women Affairs and civil society organisations.

“The Spotlight Initiative will ensure that all women and girls benefit from adequate legislation and policies, gender responsive institutions, violence prevention programmes, essential services, comparable and reliable data, and strong women’s movements and civil society organisations,” he added.

UN Resident Coordinator Bishow Parajuli said the programme is aimed at tackling the scourge of gender based violence.

“The initiative tackles head-on sexual gender based violence by paving the way for women and girls to have a ‘voice’, ‘choice’ and ‘control’ over their lives, particularly their ability to make decisions, pursue education, provide for themselves and their families and actively participate in their community,” said Parajuli.

In a speech read on his behalf by Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Amon Murwira, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his government was committed to eliminating gender based violence in communities.

“Violence against women and girls often go unreported and are usually concealed within families. My government is committed through the Spotlight Initiative to put in place measures that will unmask the challenge and enable policy makers to realise that the issue has negative impact on Gross Domestic Product and national development that needs to be dealt with swiftly,” said Mnangagwa.

Women Affairs Minister Sithembiso Nyoni said government’s Vision 2030 will not be realised if the elimination of violence against women and girls is not embraced as a key enabler.