By Byron Mutingwende
Tag a Life International (TaLI) has taken bold steps aimed at empowering young women in leadership during an event slated for the International Women’s Day at the University of Zimbabwe.
“This year, as is our tradition including the previous few years, TaLI is taking some #BeBoldForChange steps in partnership with Vital Voices, a Global organisation which works to promote women leadership, in hosting a Mentorship programme on the 8th of March 2016 at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) for students from the UZ and Women’s University in Africa (WUA), matching them up with successful women to begin a mentorship relationship with which runs for the next six months,” said Nyaradzo Mashayamobe, the Director of TaLI.
Mashayamombe said that the mentorship programme would be expected to provide some desperately needed support in the business, career and other areas where the young women find challenges. The mentors are women who are at different levels in their lives, some are businesswomen, managers, directors of different companies, NGOs who are passionate about young women and are interested in giving back.
“They are giving back their time, donating their money to the event, sponsoring through their companies and are also engaging as partners in the TaLI programme for the young women. The door is still open to those women and men who can support the work in one way or the other, and even wanting to be mentors to these young women. We are looking forward in 2017 and beyond, to individuals, companies and organisations who want to #BeBoldForChange and want to support this effort.”
The women’s rights and girl child advocate said that the International Women’s Day (8th of March t 2017) was a reminder of the successes, the strides, efforts and commitments that women and girls have achieved for their own emancipation.
“It enables us to reflect on the efforts made by government such as Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 to enhance the lives of women and girls. We reminisce on attainments by the civic society to speak and represent those without voices including fighting for a gender constitution like the 2013 one. Passions are reignited and plans to continue with the work and to do better. All these actions look like supporting this year’s global theme #BeBoldForChange,” Mashayamombe said.
Countries such as Zimbabwe still grapple with many challenges, chief among them financial resources to ensure funding of the implementation of all laws such as the new Constitution of Zimbabwe, policies and national action plans that seek to improve the lives of women and girls, and to eliminate violence and discrimination.
She pointed out that the recent national budget has a significant amount of money towards funding education, but lamented the fact hundreds of thousands of young people were out of school for lacking money yet free education is enshrined in the constitution.
The government of Zimbabwe still suffers setbacks in its national plans to execute best education for all, with the recently launched curriculum seen by many as failing to address in its implementation, the realities of many scholars who come from poor families, and the economic struggles that have been caused by job looses in the current environment in Zimbabwe with more than 90% of citizens being unemployed.
Girls suffer the brunt of lack of access to education and when that happens, there is increase in child marriages, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, child labor -which all add up to increase in HIV incidences, poverty among many of their vulnerabilities.
“Girls and young women also face challenges in finding role models, mentors, sponsors and people who can support their efforts for their advancement. When girls have mentors, sponsors and supporters, they can make right decisions about their own careers and sexual reproductive health, they can achieve greatness in life. Young women who have someone who points them in the right direction and sometimes opens doors of opportunities are able to compete with their male counterparts, who often have access to mentors and sponsors including a social setup that supports them from birth.”
Pamela Mhlanga, the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Women’s Resources Centre and Network (ZWRCN) said the theme for the year was reminding everyone that the struggle for women’s rights is a political one, and that it is about transformation and change.
“This means that we have to be resilient in the face of the many challenges women face and boldly move forward with our agenda for transformation. We have many milestones to celebrate, for example, the adoption of our progressive Constitution. However, often it is two steps forward and five steps back. We thus owe it to ourselves to be inspirational, visionary and innovative as we push the agenda for full equality of women of Zimbabwe in all spheres of life. Zimbabwean sisters in the women’s movement have shown that they can organise and move mountains. We must collectively continue on this path and blaze new trails,” Mhlanga said.
DISCLAIMER: As TaLI, we appreciate the role the media has played in supporting such efforts over the years and are welcome to support. We are happy to tweet, Facebook and share ideas on social media on the day and we join the world in using the following hashtags to raise our voices for girls and young women: #BeBoldForChange #TaLI #TagALife #MentoringWalk #IDW2017. Tag a Life International Trust (TaLI) is a girls and young women’s rights organisation thats been operating in Zimbabwe over the last 7years to empower girls, as well as working with communities and law makers to achieve this. The organisation works with men, boys, women, communities, local leaders in Zimbabwe, within the region and the globe to advance the rights of girls and young women. For more information about this event and other ones, contact us on the details below. Tag a Life International Trust (TaLI) – Making the World a Safe Place for the Girl Child. Email: [email protected], Mobile: 0777 549 090 No 52 Glamorgan Belvedere Harare