The Embassy of Sweden on Tuesday signed an agreement with Culture Fund pledging to contribute US$1.35 million (12 Million Swedish Kronor) towards Culture Fund’s new three year programme dubbed ‘Culture Actions’.
According to Sweden Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Sofia Calltorp, Sweden’s support to Culture Fund is in direct line with its newly adopted five year strategy that gives particular attention to human rights and gender equality as well as environment and climate change.
The Culture Actions programme aims to reduce gender based violence, combat child marriages and promote environmental awareness by harnessing the power of the trans-formative arts.
”Culture can be a very powerful tool in our box to promote development. Through art and different cultural expressions we can reach out to communities and enhance awareness, stimulate debate and highlight the need for action to combat gender based violence but also to start a discussion around environmental issues and climate change”, said Calltorp.
Environmental shocks and climate change have also shown to worsen the vulnerability of women and girls and their exposure to gender-based violence in Zimbabwe. The new Culture Actions programme will in response call for artistic interventions that can strengthen women’s knowledge and decision making capacities in environmentally vulnerable communities, and also for call for initiatives that can raise the general awareness of environmental shocks and climate change in Zimbabwe.
“Culture Fund remains a development oriented social change NGO that has worked within Zimbabwean society over the last ten years to change the lives of thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans. This new programme marks a new era of partnership between the Culture Fund and the Embassy of Sweden under a renewed model that seeks to achieve greater impact by working with selected creatives and community based organizations to infuse practical innovations into more sustainable development interventions,” said Culture Fund Executive Director, Farai Mpfunya upon signing the agreement.
Culture Fund chairperson, Gift Sibanda expressed gratitude by the longstanding partnership between his organisation and Swedish embassy which he said is a manifestation of the excellent relationship.
“The board is expecting to fulfill the expectations of this agreement in particular, as they relate to reduction of gender based violence, early child marriages, awareness on climate changes as well as the result-oriented approaches in our programming,” said Sibanda.
The new ‘Culture Actions’ will in the near future see the Culture Fund invite submissions from community based organizations and creative agents to encourage greater gender equality within targeted communities, help reduce early child marriages and play an active role in climate change awareness through trans-formative arts.