An international campaign to eliminate violence against women and girls, 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an important global crusade that is commemorated every year from 25th November to 10th December.
Under the theme,“Unite! Activism to end violence against women and girls” – the 2022 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence activities were held at a global scale across countries.
In Zambia, the Ministry of Health, civil society organisations, and various rights groups joined hands to remind the Zambian people and beyond about the dangers of violence against women and girls. Importantly, on the economic front, violence against women and girls impedes social and economic development – a global call that no country can develop in the presence of gender-based violence. All Zambians from all walks of life are called upon to commit to policy and advocate to ending violence against women and girls.
In keeping with this fundamental principle, the Zambia Association of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians [ZAGO] notes the importance to ending gender-based violence and therefore joined all well-meaning Zambians to the cause.
As a professional body representing doctors specialized in maternal and newborn health in the country, ZAGO has been a key player to end gender-based violence in the country. Over the years, the society has employed various strategies to empower both women and girls with knowledge and information on how to identify gender-based violence, and defend their rights.
To commemorate this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, ZAGO co-hosted activities with Africa Directions in Lusaka’s Mtendere township.
The activities involved free provision of SRHR services including but not limited to counselling, HIV testing, distribution of both male and female condoms; information packs etc.
“For the first time here in Mtendere, the information and services you brought will extremely help us curb gender-based violence,” says Joakim Mwape, a bar attendant. “Women and girls are highly abused here simply because they lack information.”
While sensitisation is one of the most important tools to curbing gender-based violence, people should be made aware that no one has the monopoly of violent.
“We need more of this awareness. We, women are always at the mercy of men,” adds Patricia Mhango, “With this information, men will not be stepping on our rights; there will be sanity and peace even in our homes. It is good that you are not only targeting women, but men too because our colleagues [men] are the culprits.”