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GENDER DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

GDC

Goal

To facilitate gender mainstreaming in all EFZ systems, processes and programs

Key Results Areas

  • Gender Mainstreaming and Community Development
  • Women’s Ministry and Leadership Development
  • HIV/AIDS and Sexual Reproductive Health
  • Child protection

The Goal of the GDC is to facilitate gender mainstreaming in all EFZ systems and processes. This is achieved through three Key Result Areas namely; Gender mainstreaming and Community development; Women's Ministry and Leadership development; and Child protection.

Commission Highlights

As GDC we reflect upon 2015 with gratefulness for the grace to serve all EFZ provinces across Zimbabwe. Significant signs of impact were witnessed in the communities we are working with and we continue to celebrate their stories in light of our impact. Highlights include:

  • The re-appointmnet of the Women's Advisory commitiee, the enactment as well as strengthening of the women's commitiees in the districts and leadership seminars in three
    districts.
  • Formulation of vibrant micro savings groups through the Micro Savings program which has seen two groups being established in Mbare and Hatcliffe with a total of 42 members of whom 3 are male
  • High level policy dialogue meetings facilitated through World Vision which managed to came through with a religious leaders position paper on the prevention of violence against women
  • The implementation of the Channels of Hope for Gender in 10 districts which has seen more than 1500 church and community leaders sensitized on gender awareness and responsibility.

Women's Ministry and Leadership Development

Nine out of the ten provinces have elected Provincial Women's committees even as we still encourage the districts to do the same. Notwithstanding the challenges, the women's structure continues to be strengthened and the culmination of our efforts will be witnessed during this year's AGM where the National Women's Committee will be ratified with election of the women's committee Chair, Vice chair , Secretary and Treasurer of whom the Chair and Secretary will automatically become members of the National Executive Council. Four Leadership seminars were held for Murehwa, Mutoko and Epworth where over 500 women were equipped with leadership knowledge and skills. These will go a long way in empowering women for Ministry as they form an integral part of the EFZ family. We applaud the Province of Harare for inter- Zonal gatherings were women, have taken fellowship to another level with, mobilizing more than 850 women to get together and know each other's gifts and talents at zonal level through conferences, seminars, and prayer meetings without any financial support from the office. We are grateful to the women Advisory council led by Pastor Maureen B. Shana, with Apostle Mavis Gurupira as vice chair, with other 7 members. We are saddened at the departure to be with the Lord, of Mrs. Majoni from BICC who was also a member of the Advisory, may her soul rest in peace. We look forward to a vibrant EFZ women movement in 2016 going forward, and we are thankful to the HODs and the Provincial structures for their support.

Gender Mainstreaming and community Development

Through a World Vision initiated High level policy dialogue for Church leaders and Theological colleges, a remarkable opportunity to advance the conversation around strategies such as gender policies and gender curriculums to help create a more gender sensitive church was created. Topical gender issues which the church in Zimbabwe should engage with, at policy, systems & structures and practice levels were identified and the following position was adopted by church Leaders Gender and GBV policy response; GBV policies at church level; Theological colleges curriculum reform ;Child Protection policies ;Attitude change towards female participation in ecclesiastic leadership; Harmonization between faith healing and conventional medicine; Campaigns against polygamy; Strengthening of family values; and Enforcement of new Zimbabwe Constitutional provisions on legal rights for all. The commission is therefore proposing to work with theological colleges and develop a gender manual which will be used as a mainstreaming tool as well as a guideline on how to handle GBV cases as well as the EFZ membership on specific policy frameworks on Gender for the church. The Church leaders in a subsequent policy dialogue emphatically spoke out against girl child abuses and made a press statement against court judgments rendering lenient sentences, subjective determinations, and reflecting a disturbing tendency to 'blame the victim' by pointing to physical appearances and 'adult behaviours' as mitigating factors as casting a shadow of moral ambiguity over a clear obligations of adults to treat children as children in accordance with Section 81 of the constitution.

Child Protection

Religious leaders are among the most influential leadership within communities in Africa which is why their involvement in Child protection as gender based violence remains sacrosanct. The commission's partnership and support from the Improving Girls Access through Transforming Education (IGATE) have seen us training a total number of 200 EFZ Religious Cluster facilitators using the Channels of Hope model with 200 more facilitators expected to be trained by the end of the year. The objective of these training is to promote child protection, curtail gender based violence as well as improve girl child retention in schools. Through the channels of hope, religious leaders are given knowledge to identify challenges and deal with attitudes and practices that perpetuate violence against women and girls. The channels of hope emphasizes following competences in its teaching methodology.

  • Relevant and responsible use of the bible
  • Understanding and acknowledging vulnerabilities
  • Accountable leadership
  • Meaningful community interaction
  • Transformative justice
  • Compassion care and support
  • Comprehensive prevention

1500 Church and community leadership has been sensitized on the channels of hope with most of the leaders agreeing that Channels of Hope for gender has proved to be helpful on their views on the importance of positive gender relations in as far as they affect girl child learning, retention and finishing school up to the tertiary level.

Lessons learnt and challenges

Financial constraints continue to hamper effective ministry service to our women's structures outside Harare who are calling for leadership capacity building to ensure effectiveness in their roles.
As we work with rural pastors, understanding the financial burden on their person as man and women called to ministry in these difficult times, we note that it is important for Churches to see some initiatives as ministry and not a project. Churches with a ministry mindset have more sustainability and are able to reach out to communities for a holistic.

Future plans

  • Development and adoption of a faith and Gender manual by theological colleges
  • Launching a Gender Policy for EFZ
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