Zimbabwe: Women Organise a Taskforce to Deal With Water Sanitation and Hygiene Issues During COVID-19

Women in Mabvuku has put in place a Women Action Taskforce in responding to non-availability of water in other areas of Mabvuku, lack of sanitary wear among women and harassment of women in public spaces.

Speaking at a Core Group meeting organised by CHRA and supported by WLSA today in Mabvuku, Ward 19 CHRA Vice Chairperson, Ms Prudence Hanyani said "this platform enabled us women to discuss pertinent issues affecting us hence we need a team to coordinate actions of the Core Group Meeting."

During the meeting it emerged that despite the fact that water was now coming in Mabvuku, some areas around Save and Mushandike Streets were not receiving water, a situation that has seen women and girls converging in numbers at few water points exposing them to COVID 19 pandemic.

It emerged during the meeting that women and girls were failing to access sanitary wear due to unaffordable pricing in most shops and that women have become victims of physical and emotional violence at water points especially at water bowsers and boreholes.

"As the competition on water has increased due to scarcity most women walk distances to streams and springs in forest surrounding Mabvuku to bath and conduct laundry further exposing them to sexual violence" said another women during the meeting.

The women agreed to seek an enforcement order from the Courts to compel the City Council to supply other areas of Mabvuku with water building on the previous High Court Order won by residents through CHRA.

Legal representatives from the Women and Law Southern Africa then conducted a one on one diagnosis with the women participants to explore cases for litigation and provision of legal advice among women who attended the meeting.

Other issues that were highlighted during the meeting were the chaotic council billing, title deeds, destruction of wetlands, demand for cash by police on fines of failure to wear face masks.

The taskforce will spearhead actions on access to water, safe public spaces for women and girls, access to sanitary wear, inheritance, property ownership and other women's rights.

The meeting came at a time when women's rights abuses have been escalating during the lock down period due to the shrinking civic spaces caused by lock down guidelines announced by the government.

Source: Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

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