Zimbabwe: Legislation Gaps Against People With Disabilities Exist

Advocacy groups against gender based violence have lamented existing legislation gaps when it comes to the protection of People with Disabilities.

Stakeholders yesterday converged in Harare to identify ways and challenges that affect women and young girls with disabilities under the scourge of Gender Based Violence.

Onai Hara, programmes officer for Deaf Women Included said the sensitization meeting was focused on service providers who interface with survivors and those at risk of violence.

"We were trying to look at the different gender based violence service providers and also try and identify the gaps that exists when it comes to providing services and information to Persons with disabilities in this case women and girls with disabilities within their communities. It was really targeted at service providers who interface with gender based violence survivors or those who are at risk of violence," said Hara

She said gaps within the laws do not provide enough structures and guidelines for inclusion and accessibility of Persons With Disabilities.

"Through the workshop we managed to identify some gaps especially when it comes to our legislation and the focus on disability to also say that even when it comes to implementation of the laws we really do not have adequate structures, guidelines and the actual implementation strategies when it comes to our laws.

"When it comes to issues of inclusion and accessibility for example the constitution says we have the right to health but do we have health workers who are competent to provide services to person with disabilities in accessible formats or inclusive ways," she said.

Samantha Sibanda board member for Deaf Women Included said there was need for engagement with stakeholders so as to avoid duplication of duties.

"We have seen a lot of gaps in terms of policies and laws that are not including people with disabilities. We have also seen a gap in terms of the intervention that is given for young boys and women and as Deaf Women Included we would like to engage such stakeholders further. We expect to have more meetings with stakeholders in the GBV services space and also ministries. We have seen that we need to have these meetings so that we don't duplicate things in the programming.

"We feel that more stakeholders should actually mainstream disability in their programming, they should start from budget stage right up to implementation of their projects and evaluation stuff. We are trying to capacitate the organisations as we sensitize them with the various challenges that are there in terms of the services that they are providing and also helping them to find a disability lenses in their work." Sibanda said.

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