By Lerato Ndlovu
The Family Aids Care Trust (FACT-Zimbabwe) with the support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has set up safe shelters as provisions for Gender Based Violence survivors in Hurungwe district.
The Hurungwe Safe Shelter which stands as the second in the province and third in the country, was officially opened by Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Deputy Minister, Jennifer Mhlanga as a safe house that can accommodate 20 survivors.
The first two safe shelters were established in 2017 in Makonde district Mashonaland West and Mutasa districtin Manicaland. The second Hurungwe safe shelter is expected to be established in Magunje.
Speaking during the official launch, Deputy Minister Mhlanga who was represented by Women Affairs’ provincial development officer, Mr Patrick Rangwani commended the Safe House saying cases of GBV were escalating to unsustainable levels and called for a multi-sectorial approach to the rising daily challenge.
“The safe shelter concept effectively demonstrates the multi-sectorial response mechanism to GBV whereby all the essential GBV services are offered under one roof. The Hurungwe Safe Shelter will accommodate survivors of gender based violence; offer health care services including Post Exposure Prophylaxis and Emergency Contraceptives; psychosocial support, police and legal aid services.“
I want to express my sincere gratitude to UNFPA under the EU-funded Spotlight Initiative for the financial support towards the establishment of this safe shelter,” she said.
She said her Ministry which was mandated to coordinate the national response to GBV through the Anti-Domestic Violence Council, Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Victim Friendly Unit and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, called for domestic financing options including tapping the resources from the private sector through Public-Private Partnership.
FACT-Zimbabwe executive director, Mrs Getrude Shumba implored that the move to establish two safe houses in Hurungwe district was premised around GBV surveillance findings.
“Statistics from GBV surveillance conducted by community based facilitators in Hurungwe for the period of April 2020 to date recorded 370 cases of GBV where 143 were of rape and physical assault. One of these resulted in the death of a woman who was bludgeoned to death by her husband for failing to serve him with food,” she said.
In her remarks, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland West province, Ms Mary Mliswa-Chikoka who was represented by an official in the office of Hurungwe district development coordinator’s office, one Mr Ngirazi said the house was a temporary safe shelter where GBV survivors were supposed to also gain knowledge on hands-on work experiences to support themselves financially once they are out.
Among other amenities, the comfortable home is also installed with electric and gas stoves, fridges and freezers, 42 inch television set, twelve bunk beds, blankets and linen, kitchen units and utensils. The shelter which has already accommodated four victims, has four staff members including Shelter Matron, Relief Shelter Matron and three security guards.