Katswe – Churches, SASA! Faith program tackling GBV

“There is need for churches to put aside the variations in doctrine and work together to end Gender Based Violence”.
By Tatenda Mujeyi.
HARARE – The SASA FAITH program being run by Kastwe Sisterhood under UNs Spotlight Initiative is tackling Gender based Violence and HIV as presented by multiple stakeholders at a workshop in Harare this week.
Stakeholders who included Church leaders and program representatives from Epworth who have been coordinating the two year program shared thier successes and challenges.
The project was rendered central in the process of seeking to address the gender based violence issues through utilising the church as a social institution for programming.
“The church is a community pillar from which we can draw a platform from which Gender Based Violence and HIV can be curtailed. The SASA! Faith program which we have been running for two years now creates that enabling platform from which GBV issues can be inculcated into the religious programs.” Katswe Sisterhood Legal Assistant, Program Manager Mrs Paidamoyo Muganyi said.

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The workshop participants retorted the reccurent GBV challenge of men’s inclusion in the gender based violence programming despite acknowledging the changing trends.
“When we embarked on our program the main challenge was that men did not want to come onboard as they perhaps rendered this to be a women’s project. We have however urged consciousness to the role men have to play in the process and we are seeing changes.” Mrs Precious Dhliwayo the Apostolic Faith Mission Representative said.
The workshop also emphasised on the resilience that some churches were presenting in meeting religion’s centrality in ending GBV.
“We still have problems with the “white garment” churches in enforcing GBV best practices, they at times do not need calls to engage in community and national programs that have a bearing on GBV.” Epworth Ward 1 Councillor, Joshua Chinonyengerwa said.
Emphasis was placed on how the church remained central in the fight against gender based violence with calls for a more unified approach across denominations.
“The church remains a key driver for the fight to end Gender Based Violence as congregants and communities relate with not only the institution but the various opinion leaders who stand as important counselors in time of GBV. There is need for churches to put aside the variations in doctrine and work together to end Gender Based Violence.” Rev Josias Mudenda of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.
The program resonates well with Sustainable Development Goal 3 and 5 , ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, Achieve Gender equality and empower women among other goals respectively.
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