Welcome to UNV Zimbabwe
International Day to End Violence against Women
25 November, is the International Day to End Violence against Women and marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign of UN Women.16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign is an international campaign that began in 1991. From today, the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women, to December 10th, International Human Rights Day.
The campaign calls on individuals and groups around the world to act to end all forms of violence against women and girls. Making the critical link between violence against women and human rights, the campaign observes several significant dates in its 16 days, including the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, where a man deliberately gunned down fourteen women students.
Volunteers vital for development -South Sudan
Bentiu, South Sudan: Volunteerism was vital in efforts to develop South Sudan, workers with a Unity State organization said today during a meeting organized by UNMISS in the state capital Bentiu.
The volunteers or “social mobilizers” associated with the South Sudan Trust Rehabilitation and Development Organization (SSTDO) were attending a forum led by UNMISS Public Information Officer and UN Volunteer Anna Adhikhari (Poland).
“As a volunteer I’m getting access to trainings for the future,” said participant Michael Lony. “I will be able to support my community better and contribute to the development of my country.”
The South Sudan Trust Rehabilitation and Development Organization (SSTOD) is a local non-governmental organization (NGO) operating in the state through volunteers, who spread development messages and assist with community work. The NGO aims to provide the community spiritual, physical, environmental, economic and social assistance as well as help youth grow into complete and reliable citizens.
The organization runs several projects in the areas of health, education, environment, water and sanitation, food and agriculture.
“Social mobilizers help the organization by linking it with communities and spreading awareness about such issues as hygiene,” said SSTRDO Executive Director Joseph Ruach Gaey. “Some of our volunteers are going to be trained for the polio campaign in Bentiu and Rubkona, Panijyar and Leer counties.”
“What motivates me is to help the community by creating awareness on different topics that are good for them, such as prevention from diseases, hygiene or civic participation,” said another participant, Elizabeth Nyaniel.
“As a volunteer I get skills and knowledge that can be useful in the future for my family and community,” she added.
Ms. Adhikari told participants that the spirit to volunteer “starts at home”.
“We don’t live alone. We live in communities,” she said. “As parents, we encourage our children by giving them the example that working for communal (benefit) is a right thing to do.”
Leading up to UN Day on 24 October, UNMISS and UN agencies in Bentiu held health education meetings with SSTDO and Youth Action against Illiteracy to assemble 20 local residents to be social mobilizers who would regularly assist the NGOs. The mobilizers were trained by State Ministry of Health experts on prevention and treatment of malaria and diarrhea as well as the benefits of blood transfusions and immunization.
The trained participants then spoke about these four major health problems with patients awaiting treatment at the Care Clinic (run by CARE, the international NGO) in Rubkona and Bentiu Hospital. Most of the more than 200 patients in both clinics were expectant mothers and women with children. Read more here.
Currently, there are about 400 UN Volunteers from around the world working with UNMISS in its role of supporting South Sudan in peace building and creating an environment that enables development.
My name is Fanuel Tshuma a UNV Programme officer attached to a UNDP programme called Support for Peace Building and Increased Access to Sustainable Livelihoods in Zimbabwe. It is a programme that seeks to contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for peace building and development. It builds on and consolidates previous Government of Zimbabwe/UNDP supported initiatives on dialogue, conflict prevention and locally led early recovery initiatives (LLER). The Programme focuses on: increasing Community capacities of women and youth for Recovery and increasing Conflict Sensitive Sustainable Livelihoods at Local Levels.
I was responsible for articulating the project goals, objectives, strategies, and the intended outputs in Bulilima. One of the projects involved infrastructure rehabilitation, procurement of medical equipment, furniture and drugs for Bezu Clinic. Bezu Clinic is situated in the Natane Ward in Bulilima district and caters for eight villages. The clinic has a long history as its construction began in the 1990s with the Poverty Alleviation Action Programme (PAAP).
Pregnant women lost their lives or that of their babies while travelling to the nearest health centre which was more than 25km away. In this project, women made a concerted effort to have the Bezu clinic completed so that services would be within a walking distance. Due to lack of maintenance, the infrastructure had dilapidated and the community had lost hope of ever seeing the clinic opening its doors. In 2011, the LLER project provided funding for the restoration of the infrastructure and pledged to provide equipment and medicines to enable the clinic to open its doors to the public. However due to delays experienced with regards to the procedures in the tendering process, the clinic could not open within the desired time-frame. The tender process was only completed beginning of the second quarter in 2013 and suppliers made effort to complete deliveries before the end of May 2013.
The clinic opened its doors to the public on the 11th of June 2013 and on the same evening; the clinic welcomed its first baby. It was a good experience seeing the communities who were once divided politically, socially and economically, engaging peacefully for the sake of development.
The massive gathering on the official opening of Bezu clinic spoke volumes about a reconciled community; celebrating together, talking together, eating together and laughing together in enhancing development and recovery. The collaboration of Government through the Ministry of Labour and Social Services and UNDP enabled the community to work together for a common cause: that of development.
As the UNV Programme Officer, I utilised all my skills in the field of agriculture development, social mobilisation, business planning, financial management and conflict management. Patience and tolerance were also essential in implementing this programme. During this experience I discovered that teamwork with the district steering committee was pivotal in making the programme achieve the desired results. All this called for a spirit of Volunteerism in its highest degree. My heartfelt gratitude goes to the Ministry of Labour and Social services, UNDP and UNV who vested their trust in me to undertake the duty of UNV Programme Officer and the unwavering support throughout the process.
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