The Government of Zimbabwe, the European Union and the United Nations today launched a multi-year Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls in Zimbabwe.
The Spotlight Initiative with a financial commitment of €500 million by the European Union is a joint United Nations and European Union global initiative to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. Africa will receive half of the global amount (€250 million) for eight countries including Zimbabwe, plus an African Regional programme.
The European Union has committed over €19 million for the Spotlight Initiative country programme in Zimbabwe, which will be implemented by the UN in partnership with the Zimbabwean Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and civil society organisations.
Gender based violence is a serious concern in Zimbabwe. At least one in every three women (15 – 49) have experienced physical violence (35%) while one in every five women (17%) have experienced sexual violence. In most cases, perpetrators are the intimate partners.
Other harmful practices include child-, early-, and forced marriages, which constitute a serious violation of the sexual, reproductive and health rights of women and girls in Zimbabwe, leading to higher rates of early pregnancy, increased risks of exposure to HIV/AIDS and a high level of maternal mortality.
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.
The Zimbabwe Spotlight Initiative country programme targets directly and indirectly 11 million beneficiaries, particularly rural women and girls, women and girls living with disabilities, and women living with HIV.
The launch was presided over by President of Zimbabwe H.E Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, EU Representatives, and the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Bishow Parajuli. It brought together over 200 senior delegates including government Ministers, Members of Parliament, European Union and United Nations representatives, diplomats, Civil Society, the private sector, academia and the media.