On the 18th of October 2018, the Forum for African Women Educationalists –Zimbabwe Chapter (FAWEZI) with support from HERVoice Fund held a meeting with girls and young women from Mabvuku to discuss issues on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR), HIV/AIDS and also get a view of their understanding on policies that affect their health.
FAWEZI gave the girls and women a platform to air out their challenges in line with access to services and information on SRHR, HIV/AIDS and polices around them. We managed to group the attendants into different age groups so as to allow for age appropriate engagements.
The various discussion centred around menstruation, sanitary wear, dating, sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS testing and status disposure teen pregnancies and child marriage .All the participants were able to state their challenges in these areas and also propose possible solutions to the same.
Chief among the proposals were pleas for accessibility and affordability of sanitary pads, life skills training for girls, engagement of boys and men, bursary support and the inclusion of girls and young women in grassroots level formulation policies. Representatives from other organisations like Justice for Children also had an opportunity to assist the girls on vague issues around child abuse and child rights.
FAWEZI continues to work around empowering girls with life skills in line with SRHR so as to reduce early marriages, teen pregnancy and school drop outs caused by ill-informed decision making. From this engagement it was evident that most of the girls from the project areas do not have adequate information on SRHR since it is a topic that is not openly talked about in the home.
The inception meeting will form the background to future engagements where the voice of the girls and young women will be shared with a wider network of stakeholders and government departments .