By Robert Tapfumaneyi
VARIOUS women in Mbire district, Mashonaland Central province have embarked on successful goat-rearing projects as part of efforts to end domestic violence and early child marriages within their community.
Mbire district, which stretches along the borders of Mozambique and Zambia, north of Zimbabwe, is one of the marginalised area in the country.
Challenges in the area, include high cases of early child marriages, gender-based violence, and low literacy levels among women and girls.
However, to alleviate the standards of living for the local community, Katswe Sistahood with support from UN Women Zimbabwe is implementing a project in wards 2 and 3 with the aim of reducing violence against women and ending early child marriages.
“We were given goats in 2019 by Katswe and now we have 17 goats. This project has assisted us in a very long way as we now have an income-generating project,” Precious Natande told NewZimbabwe.com during a recent visit to the area.
“We give each member weekly duties to look after our goats because this area has lots of wild animals.”
All the women in Natande’s group were married and are below the age of 25.
“Before the goat-rearing project, we used to request for money from our husbands, and this sometimes ended in domestic violence but what Katswe brought here, is a blessing in disguise, as women we are now able to assist each other,” Jennifer Natande.
Memory Bhagiwa said the project brought an end to fights between couples on petty issues, including money.
“The goat project has made us friends as women. Long back it was each ‘man’ for herself, but now as a group, we are sharing ideas daily on how to solve challenges that one may be facing.
“Domestic violence is now a thing of the past and our husbands are very much supportive of this project by Katswe and we no longer fight for minor issues,” said Bhagiwa.
Fadziso-Fadzisai Mawunganidze said the women chose to undertake the goat-rearing project as their choice of livelihood. The aim was to curb domestic violence and early child marriages.
“In an effort to fight gender-based violence in this ward, we introduced the goat project and also as resilient building with about 56 young women and we distributed 56 goats as well,” she said.
“One of the advantages is that goats are resilient to droughts, floods, diseases and thrive better under conditions that are within this district.”
“We have seen most women now spend time doing something that contributes meaningfully to their households such as improved finances, and thereby empowering them economically.”
Founded in 2007, Katswe Sistahood is a movement of young women fighting for the full attainment of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Zimbabwe.