Budget for GBV response activities, govt told

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HARARE – Government must allocate funds to bankroll Gender Based Violence (GBV) response activities in the 2014 national budget, the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN) has said.

As Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, ZWRCN says perfect legislation without money to fund implementation was an exercise in futility.

“Good institutions and policies on their own are simply not enough,” ZWRCN’s statement read. “They need to be complemented by financing for successful and sustained implementation.

“This applies to all other existing services and interventions. We take this opportunity to appeal to the ministry of Finance and the government to urgently put in place a comprehensive funding mechanism for the country’s overall response to GBV.

“This includes funding for the GBV response in the 2014 and subsequent national budgets. This will ensure that survivors of GBV receive the required assistance, including counselling and access to safe houses.”

Zimbabwe’s new Constitution includes a provision for the creation of a Gender Commission.

On the statute book, there is a Domestic Violence Act meant to address sexual role issues and unfair practices perpetrated within social systems. 

ZWRCN said the contribution of such bodies and laws to the elimination of GBV will remain insignificant unless government and partners avail funding.

“We applaud the government for setting up structures such as the Anti-Domestic Violence Council, for example, which shows its appreciation of the seriousness of GBV and the need to address it squarely.

“However, the council’s operations are affected by lack of funding and we therefore call on the government to address this gap.

“We would like to draw attention to the fact that lack of financing greatly undermines all efforts that are being made to eradicate GBV.

“We contend that the country’s response to GBV will benefit immensely from consistent and adequate funding from government, development partners and the private sector.”

At least 68 percent of women in Zimbabwe have been subjected to some form of GBV perpetrated by men, a study by Gender Links and the Women Affairs ministry says.

Women participation in economic and political processes is still at undesirable levels and activists lay blame on patriarchy.

ZWRCN believes enough funding will boost women’s contribution into processes that affect national development.

“Financing a comprehensive GBV response is a sound economic development strategy; the eradication of this scourge will contribute towards eliminating a big barrier to women’s economic participation and to their being productive members of society”.

The campaign running under the theme “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s challenge militarism and end violence against women” ends on December 10.

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