Tackling GBV at Hatcliffe water points

The Herald

Roselyne Sachiti Features Health and Society Editor

• Ms Mutake said from what they gathered, constant fights at the water points emanated from people who did not want to wait in the water queues.

• New forms of GBV were raised as men lamented that they, too, are now becoming victims• Some male voices coming out of the dialogue stressed the importance of intentionally engaging men and boys in gender issues particularly where GBV is concerned.

Most Harare residents have endured months on end without tap water.

In its absence, the residents fetch water at various boreholes, some close others quite a distance.

Fetching has become a fulltime job for many as it demands a lot of time and energy.

The high demand of water at the boreholes and wells also comes with several challenges chief among them gender based violence (GBV).

Here women to women, men to women, men to men violence is quite rife as tempers easily flare at the water points.With some people fetching water for resale and wanting to do so quickly so they serve many clients, skipping the queues has become the norm, so are fightsSuch is the day for many residents in Harare’s high density suburbs.

The situation is no different in Hatcliffe where cases of GBV at water points, and other forms have spiked during the lockdown.

Shamwari yeMwanasikana programmes coordinator, Ms Florence Mutake, told The Herald that approximately, two in every five women and girls are survivors of GBV in the area.

She said GBV cases during the lockdown have increased by 33 percent.

On Saturday, Shamwari yeMwanasikana targeted the Hatcliffe community reaching out to men and women, boys and girls at water points and households.

Ms Mutake said from what they gathered, constant fights at the water points emanated from people who did not want to wait in the water queues.

She said while the community was welcoming and were excited by the information they disseminated on GBV, they reached out to a large number of women than men.

“At first they were hesitant to participate. The water point committees were cooperative and the people engaged also participated very well,” she said.

Community engagement remains key in ending GBV at waterpoints

Ms Mutake added that GBV cases among women and girls in Hatcliffe, especially during the national lockdown period also increased.

“Girl child abuse cases are happening in the evening when girls will be coming from the water points. GBV in the home has been noted to be the most prominent as people spend most of their time confined in the same space,” she said.

She said other factors like loss of income  also resulted in an upward movement of GBV cases in  Hatcliffe.

Ms Mutake revealed that new forms of GBV were raised as men lamented that they, too, are now becoming victims as they are increasingly failing to provide for their families during lockdown periods.

“We have also noted an increase in violence against men who are failing to provide for the family during the lockdown period.

“The prolonged closure of economic spaces especially the informal sector means more families continues to be at risk of GBV.

With the support of OXFAM, we have managed to reach out to these communities and raise awareness,” she noted.

She also said the community was largely responsive to development programs.

“We had men and boys embracing the platform, a situation which is quite different from other communities.

“Some male voices coming out of the dialogue stressed the importance of intentionally engaging men and boys in gender issues particularly where GBV is concerned.

“Social norms cannot be totally transformed if programs do not embrace male involvement in terms of creating strategic allies in championing an end to GBV and gender inequalities.”

The Herald