Women Action Group (WAG) has donated a consignment of hampers consisting of food stuffs, toiletries, sanitary wear, hand sanitizers and face masks to several women in Mabvuku as part of their ongoing drive to assist vulnerable women who have been economically affected by the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
By Michael Gwarisa
In an interview with HealthTimes in Mabvuku, WAG Executive Director Mrs Ednah Masiyiwa said in as much as the COVID-19 and the lockdown has affected everyone, women and girls have been hardest hit economically and socially, especially in terms of access to critical health services such as family planning and health and hygiene products such as sanitary wear, amongst a host of other things.
The activity we had today is part of a broader program we are running where we are also trying to build a movement for women particularly young women so that they are also able to claim and defend their rights in whatever space they are, in particularly looking at the issue of ending Gender Based Violence and promoting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).
“In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also have managed to source funds to be able to prepare hampers for the vulnerable women in the community so today, we came here in Mabvuku to distribute hampers for those who cannot afford basics. We distributed a total of 75 hampers to elderly women, disabled women as well as the women who are just vulnerable and we have been assisted by the Department of Social Welfare in Mabvuku to be able to identify the vulnerable communities,” said Mrs Masiyiwa.
She added that their focus as WAG remains women and girls and they had observed that most women had lost their sources of livelihoods due to the lockdown restrictions.
“We came up with this idea after observing that women have lost their sources of livelihoods due to the lockdown measures that have been put in place. Some used to survive on vending but they are no longer doing so due to the restrictions.
“We are going to be implementing this particular program in three districts and we have started with Mabvuku and we will be going to Masvingo for the same program and we will proceed to Bulawayo as we have also expanded it beyond Harare.”
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) the prevailing COVID-19 conditions would expose more women to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence hence the need to support these women and children will only increase when the crisis is over and people are free to move around again.
Meanwhile, District Development Coordinator for Northern Eastern Region Ms Benedicta Mubaiwa said the move by WAG to assist vulnerable women was a good step towards addressing some of the imbalances that have been exacerbated by the lockdown restrictions.
“What WAG has done here is a great gesture and right move towards ensuring women survive these trying times of COVID-19 Lockdown. The world over, everyone has been affected but the impact this coronavirus has had on women is huge.
“We know women from Mabvuku are also among other women in Harare who survive on vending. Before the lockdown came, you would go into town to sale your wares, you would be actively involved in gardening amongst other economic activities but the lockdown has made all that impossible. We thank WAG for distributing these items to the vulnerable women of our society in such a clear and transparent manner,” Ms Mubaiwa.