by Staff Reporter
The commemorations which were held two days prior to the day of the African Child which is commemorated annually on the 16th of June saw UN emphasizing it’s commitment to meet the challenges of the African Child as support on HIV and AIDs and the broader Sustainable Development partnership’s with Zimbabwe.
“The UN System in Zimbabwe has been at the forefront of efforts to end violence against women and girls through supporting the national strategy which focuses on prevention, protection and provision of services as well as addressing social norms that perpetuate such violence. The work of the UN family and its partners reflects the breadth and depth of the challenges faced by girls and this includes interventions in education, training and skills, child protection, HIV and AIDS, food security, among many others.” The UN Resident Coordinator said.
Furthermore, “The UN is working on sexual and reproductive health and rights, reaching girls in urban, peri-urban, and rural areas with critical information on sexual and reproductive health and rights. To address the HIV challenge which disproportionately affects girls and young women, the UN has been supporting major HIV prevention programs for adolescent girls and young women.”
The global development partner UN emphasised the role it’s flagship spotlight initiative had on the gender based violence and vast other initiative’s with non state actor’s and government on availing technology policy reforms as other actions soliciting for child support.
“In addition, the UN is providing support for law makers to accelerate legal and policy reform in the fields of child justice, child protection, marriage, cybercrime, and criminal justice including enhancing forensic laboratories.” The UN Resident Coordinator said.
Mr Kallon also highlighted that, “Furthermore, the UN is working on a range of interventions aimed at preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence through the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls, with US$ 30 million financial support from the European Union. Programmes under the Spotlight Initiative include, strengthening capacity of state and non-state actors of the Justice Law and Order Sector to implement programmes and advocacy strategies to address sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices.
“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) embody a roadmap for progress that is sustainable and leaves no one behind. Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is integral to each of the 17 goals. Only by ensuring the rights of women and girls across all the goals will we get to justice and inclusion, economies that work for all, and sustaining our shared environment now and for future generations.” Edward Kallon also highlighted.
The resident coordinator acknowledged the positive coincidence that this years theme has with the recent constitutional ruling on child marriage while noting the ever recurring vulnerabilities the COVID pandemic and socio-economic challenges exposed to children.
“As we mark the Day of the African Child two days ahead of the actual day, allow me to pay tribute to the recent Zimbabwe’s constitutional court ruling that increased the legal age of sexual consent from 16 to 18 years old. The day of the African child is being commemorated under the theme Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy and Practice since 2013.”
However, “The prevailing socio-economic challenges, and the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on lives and livelihoods has exposed further existing vulnerabilities and caused further deepening inequalities, particularly gender inequality and spiking sexual and gender-based violence.” Mr Kallon also highlighted.