Chipinge based youth organisation, Platform for Youth Development has set sight on eradicating harmful cultural practices that have perpetuated discrimination of girls and women in Chipinge.
According to Cynthia Gwenzi, the organisation’s Gender Officer, they organised a training workshop at Checheche Growth Point last week that brought together 25 young people from across Chipinge district to highlight various cultural practices that have perpetuated abuse of women’s rights and come up with ways to ensure that the girl child enjoy the same rights and privileges enjoyed by boys and men.
“PYD is undergoing a series of capacity building programs aimed at equipping young women and men with skills to fight harmful cultural practices including early child marriages,domestic violence and gender based discrimination due to lack of empowering information and poverty.
“Child pledging known as ‘kuputsira’ was described as the biggest threat contributing to the abuse of young women and girls,” said Gwenzi.
She added that the practice of child pledging was still rife in Chipinge communities hence her organisation’s resolve to introduce advocacy programmes to empower young girls against such practices.
Gwenzi was upbeat that her organisation’s gender project will make a significant impact on the lives of young people in Chipinge district.
“The young people who have received capacity training will act as community monitors to identify,document and report on all cases of harmful cultural practices that have been outlawed by the constitution and other gender protocols ratified by the government of Zimbabwe” said Gwenzi.
Some of the harmful practices that are still in existence in Chipinge include wife inheritance, child pledging, arranged marriages, forced virginity testing and polygamy.
According to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, in 2016 alone 4500 pupils dropped out of school countrywide because of early marriage.