Young women get free washable sanitary pads

In an effort to promote good health, a Ruwa – based health rights lobby group, Society for Pre and Post Natal Services (SPANS), has initiated a project to donate washable sanitary pads to poor young girls and women in the dormitory town.

reusable padsSPANS coordinator Linos Muvhu says the desire to donate washable sanitary pads was motivated by the need to assist young girls and women who cannot buy these pads from shops due to poverty. ‘Most young girls and women in Ruwa are poor and they cannot afford to buy expensive pads that are sold in the shops and often end up resorting to commercial sex just to get cash for buying sanitary pads whilst others are sexually abused by men who then give them money. The other major issue is that some of these people end up using material that end up exposing them to dangers of cervical cancer and so we are saying it is better to give them free washable sanitary pads that they can use for a year or more,’ said Muvhu adding that most people underestimate challenges that women face during menstruation periods.

Speaking to Talking Harare, some beneficiaries of the donation hailed SPANS saying the move will certainly help improve hygiene and promote good health. Primrose Miranzi (17) said, ‘this donation will take away girls from the habit of selling their bodies in order to get money ($2) to buy sanitary pads. As a young girl, I felt very bad having to use pieces of worn – out cloth as sanitary pads and we ended up engaging in unethical behavior.’

Another young woman, Evengelista Tapera (21) had this to say, ‘...since we were using things like toilet paper, newspapers and other things that I am ashamed of naming, we always lived in fear of contracting cancer and so this donation has assisted us big time. With just a set containing 4 pads, I can go for a year without stress related to menstruation.’

Recently there was lobbying from female legislators calling for removal of import duty from sanitary products. Mutasa South MP Irene Zindi told a bemused National Assembly that many girls and women cannot afford sanitary wear and end up using cow dung, leaves, newsprint and maize stalks. ‘The situation is so sad and government should prioritise availability of free sanitary wear and we need to think as government how we can alleviate the problems suffered by women and girls due to lack of sanitary wear. Just imagine how cow dung looks and create a graphic image of what our girls go through, 34 years into independence,’ she said.

Women conduct demos against gender – based violence

By Givemore Chipere

Over a hundred women and girls demonstrated Wednesday over the increase of gender – based violence incidences in Hopley. Carrying banners inscribed with messages denouncing forms of gender violence such as physical beatings, rape and child labor, the protesters marched from the popular Kumbudzi Bus Terminus to Hopley Zone 3 and called on government to address underlying issues that promote gender violence such as poverty and patriarchy.

Marlene Mazodza, leader of an all–women All Generations Drama Group that uses art to protest violence in all its forms and was behind the demonstrations, told the protestors that women and girls were riled by physical and emotional abuse perpetrated on them by men. ‘Today we are demonstrating against gender- based violence in all its forms and we want men to know that such violence leaves physical and emotional scars on our lives and hence should be stopped forthwith. Hopley is one of the areas where women and girls are being abused at high levels and as Zimbabwe has joined the world in commemorating the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender – Based Violence, we also want to inform government that it must put in place economic policies that benefit women and girls so that they don’t get tied up to violent men who also happen to provide food and other basic necessities for us,’ said Mazodza.

Hopley is an informal poor settlement situated about 15 km south of Harare and has been on the limelight for poverty, abuse of girls and child prostitution. The area has no formal schools and young girls are often seen milling around and soliciting for sex during daylight.

Meanwhile, Dzivarasekwa residents also held a peaceful march Thursday in memory of three women who died as a result of gender – based violence in the suburb. Evernice Munando of Female Students Network (FNS) who helped organise the march said it was sickening women were losing lives due to domestic violence. ‘It is disheartening that women and girls lose life because of domestic issues some of which are triggered by petty issues. We also decided to hold this march here in the communities where domestic violence is very common and we want to urge people to find amicable ways of dealing with domestic issues,' added Munando. Zimbabwe is currently commemorating 16 Days of Activism Against Gender – Based Violence being held under the theme ‘Lets challenge militarism and end violence against women.’

Norton residents, council clash over allowances

Norton Town Council has come under fire from residents who accuse it of giving huge trip allowances to councilors whilst employees have gone for long without salaries.

In an interview with Talking Harare, Norton Residents Development Trust (NRDT) chairperson Liziwe Museredza said residents are surprised over issues of priority at council. ‘Norton has of late been authorizing councilors to go to Victoria Falls, Gweru, Beitbridge, Kariba and Beitbridge for retreats where each councilor receives allowances totaling US$1500 per trip. This is a lot of money given that council workers have not received their salaries for the past six months. In addition to this, there is no portable water whilst refuse is not being collected in the town,’ said Museredza adding residents may be forced to pass a vote of no confidence on the councilors and town management or launch demonstrations if corrective action is not taken.

Contacted for comment, Norton Town Council chairperson Precious Mufahove agreed councilors were being awarded allowances for trips made outside the town. ‘Yes it is true that councilors went to the trips as mentioned but these were budgeted for and the allowances were awarded in line with rates approved by the local government ministry. The major problems we are facing as a town emanate from residents’ failure to pay their bills and this is causing lots of problems when it comes to delivering services to the people,’ explained Mufahove.

Norton is a small town located about 40 km west of Harare on the main road and railway line connecting Harare and Bulawayo. It has a population of over 52 000 people and faces challenges of providing services for its residents. It relies on the capital city for water and this has posed further challenges as Harare is failing to to supply water to its own people.

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