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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« on: November 19 2009 »

by Rozaria Memorial Trust
2009-11-19, Issue 458
http://pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/60355

Zimbabwe has ratified the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development, a regional instrument for advancing gender equality and women's rights. It is the second country after Namibia to ratify the protocol.

Some good news from Zimbabwe! Zimbabwe ratified the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development, this month, becoming the second country after Namibia, to accede to this important regional instrument for advancing gender equality and women's rights.

‘This ratification comes at an opportune time when the country is in the process of coming up with a new constitution. This means the protocol can be enshrined in this constitution. Women must ensure that they make use of the opportunity and not miss the train as what has been happening all along,’ Dr Utete Masango, permanent secretary in the ministry of women’s affairs, gender and community development of Zimbabwe had stated at an event earlier in the month.

This is a major step forward for a country that is struggling to recover from a humanitarian, economic and political crisis, where mostly women and children continue to bear the brunt of poverty, HIV and lack of access to quality basic social services. For most women and men at the community level, they will be eager to see the implementation of this SADC protocol, translating the lofty aspirations and commitments to tangible and practical actions in their daily lives. Rozaria Memorial Trust is among the many organisations providing support and services at community level, providing support to families affected and infected with HIV and AIDS and advocating for access to treatment, nutrition and education.

The SADC Protocol on Gender and Development was adopted in August 2008 and encompassed commitments made in all regional, global and continental instruments for achieving gender equality. It also advances gender equality by ensuring accountability by all SADC member states. The main provisions of the Protocol are on: Constitutional and legal rights, governance (representation and participation), education and training, productive resources and employment, economic empowerment, health, HIV & Aids, peace building and conflict resolution, media, information and communication. There are 28 substantive targets for achieving gender equality by 2015 and this initiative is a global first and places SADC at the cutting edge of innovative strategies for giving global and continental commitments meaning at sub-regional level.

As Zimbabwe participates in the Beijing +15 review process in Banjul this November, as well as in the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March 2010, this ratification will feature as a key achievement of a nation. The passage and establishment of the Anti-Domestic Violence Act, Council and Fund will all be key highlights of the official statements.

At the backdrop of this good news, are a people struggling to get life back to normalcy. The women and families are looking for agricultural inputs as the farming season starts; they are still yearning for schools with books, motivated teachers and quality learning environment, and yes are looking for the day where at every local health centre there are motivated health workers and all essential drugs are available. Zimbabwe women are seeking a life free of violence, and where there own innovation and potential is unleashed for the well-being of their families, communities and nation.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* The Rozaria Memorial Trust supports innovative initiatives of young people and women that promote health, education and entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe.
* Please send comments to editor@pambazuka.org or comment online at Pambazuka News.
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