Men Reaching to Men to End Violence against Women and Girls

Zimbabwe, as the rest of the world, has been on 16 days campaign trail since 24 November under a localised theme, “From peace in the home to peace in our community” to end violence against women and girls.

Since it was launched, the 16 Days activism campaign reached a pitch when 19 motorbike riders who were on a tour to nine Southern African countries with a message on ending violence against women and girls arrived in Harare on 03 December.  The 19 bikers with messages on bandanas, reading “Ride on – Speak out, men as agents of change to end violence against women and girls” were welcomed by representatives from Government, UN and over 200 men from Padare (a grassroots men’s forum on Gender), members of the press, and the public at large. 

Addressing local and international press in Harare, Mr. Thurston John Koller, a member and a spokesperson of the 19 bikers said, “We have embarked a journey within a journey” referring to the exhausting week-long motor-bike ride and the journey they embarked to reach fellow men with a message to end Gender Based Violence.

The overall objective of the “ride on –speak out” campaign is, in line with the global vision of the United Nations Secretary General and its offshoot Africa UNiTE chapter campaigns, which aim to achieve a world free from violence against all women and girls.  “This [UNiTE] vision can only be realised through meaningful political leadership commitment, by allocating the necessary resources, and with the optimum level of community mobilization”, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Alain Noudehou said in a press briefing organised to welcome the riders.

Member of the riders and Resource Mobilisation Chief of UN Women, Mr. Antoine de Jong underlined, “Violence against women is a worldwide problem and we should all work together as United Nations, Government, Media, private sector and community to end all forms of violence against women and girls.” He emphasised on the role the media has to play in sharing the message to end violence against women to millions as it has a powerful means to reach every home.

At the press briefing, Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Dr. Olivia Muchena said, “Zimbabwe has stepped up the campaign from 16 to 365 days with a clear objective of reaching every citizenry to commit to ending violence against women and girls”. To that effect, she explained that the Ministry of Women Affairs was leading an advocacy initiative commonly known as 4Ps (Prevention, Protection, Participation and Programme) to mobilise communities.

The Minister noted that the riders have planted a seed of commitment, stating that if nine countries could be reached in such a short period of time with an intensive advocacy messages, it is a challenge for Zimbabwean men to reach their fellow men in 10 provinces in 356 days to advocate for ending all forms of violence against women.

The Regional UN Women Office for Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, in partnership with  Harley Davidson South Africa embarked on the “Ride on – Speak out”  campaign to mobilise men and the private sector for action and engagement to end violence against women and girls.

Read the Statement by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator