Canada Supports GBV Activism

Canada Supports GBV Activism
December 21 14:51 2018
By Masline Mavudzi

The 16 days of activism against GBV in Zimbabwe was well supported by companies, civil society, government and NGOs. Activities and dialogues were held at different venues that saw the launch of the HeForShe campaign and corporates such as ZESA hosting an Orathon.

In an exclusive interview with The Diplomat Magazine, Canadian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Rene Cremonese, said if there were additional resources against gender-based violence more initiatives could have been undertaken during the 16 days of activism in Zimbabwe.

The embassy of Canada in Zimbabwe confirmed that it will keep on supporting the civil society organisations that are active in combating Gender-Based Violence (GBV) throughout the year.

“We all could have done better if we had more resources, more money, you can always do more.  I think the most important thing for us is to provide support to civil society organisations that are active in those areas,” said Ambassador Cremonese.

Ambassador Cremonese reiterated that reviewing laws to combat the scourge of GBV in Zimbabwe was vital.

“On an issue such as this we aim to lobby and advocate with the government. For example, when I met with the speaker of the house, I made sure to raise the issue of the constitutional court decision on the age of majority and asked questions again on when that alignment will occur. The marriage bill and related bills have not yet been aligned. So those are the things that we aim to do.

“The big area of focus for Canada globally is gender. You would have perhaps seen lately in the press we helped to create a caucus of male diplomats in Zimbabwe as part of the HeForShe campaign. We continue to think that this should be a major element of the kind of work we are going to do. Our small project fund deals with issues related to gender equality and other gender issues such as preventing gender-based violence, early childhood marriage and helping women and girls be better trained and willing to petition parliamentarians to support their needs. Those are the kind of areas that we continue to work on quite a bit here in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Ambassador Cremonese said the HeForShe caucus of senior male diplomats had committed to fight against gender-based violence for the whole year in Zimbabwe.

“I think for me, coming from the 16 days campaign against gender-based violence, the most important thing is that you don’t build a campaign as a once off moment. Everybody puts on an orange shirt for 16 days and then you put it away and you do not do anything until the November 25th of the following year. That is one the reason behind the creation of the HeforShe caucus of senior male diplomats. We made a commitment during the 16 days of activism against GBV that our work will last for the whole year. I expect that we would be holding ourselves accountable as a group and as individuals next November. We will want to say what have you done during that time period to advance the issues of gender equality, to deal with issues like GBV or child forced marriages,” he said.

Ambassador Brian Nichols (US),Toshiyuki Iwado (Japan), Mphakama Mbete  (South Africa) and Rungsung Masakui (India), Bishow Parajuli (UNDP), Simon Thomas (UK), Timo Ollkonen (EU), Hubert Gijzen (UNESCO) and Emmanuel Chenda (Zambia) also joined the caucus of diplomats in Zimbabwe who committed themselves in the HeForShe campaign aimed at combating GBV.


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