My Age Zimbabwe is implementing Brother2brother programme which aims to train young men and boys in Masvingo province to curb sexual and Gender Based Violence (GBV) against women and girl child.
The organisation’s media and visibility officer, Blessing Godi said the programme was informed by drastic increase of sexual and gender based violence cases during national lockdown.
“The program came in place after we noticed an unsettling increase in occurrences of sexual and GBV cases against the backdrop of Covid-19 outbreak,” said Godi.
He said it has created a platform for boys and young men in Masvingo province to discuss gender-related issues with the aim of identifying the role they can play in addressing sexual and GBV.
“As MyAge Zimbabwe, we implemented the Brother2brother programme with support from Steps for the Future to curb sexual and GBV against women during Covid-19,” said Godi.
He said Covid-19 lockdown and the restriction in movement increased GBV cases in the provinces as victims are exposed to abusers.
He said the stay-at-home orders affected women and the girl child from accessing support and help from external organizations.
“It has also become increasingly clear that many of the measures deemed necessary to control the spread of the virus are not only increasing GBV-related risks and violence against women and girls, but are also limiting survivors’ ability to distance themselves from their abusers as well as reducing their ability to access external support,” said Godi.
Brother2brother programme, which started in December 2020, trains young men and boys to become gender equality activists’ and to increase awareness on Covid-19 through social virtual platforms.
“The brothers are not only being allowed a platform to share on their experiences and values around gender related issues but they are also being trained as behavior change champions of gender equality.
“One of the key components of the model is focusing on Covid-19, with champions being trained on how to increase awareness of the virus through interpersonal communications,” said Godi.
The organization use film screening as a method of disseminating information on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights issues that affect young people.
MyAge Zimbabwe has encouraged other related organizations to engage in the programme in order to curb sexual and GBV.
“It is critical that all actors involved in efforts to respond to covid-19 across all sectors take into account engagement of men and boys in addressing sexual GBV,” said Godi.