The Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) has called for the elimination of harmful practices such as child abuse and forced marriages as the country commemorates the 16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence.
BY NIZBERT MOYO
Mission Gwafa, the ZNFPC communications and marketing officer, made the call during a youth seminar in Bulawayo last week attended by young people drawn from different church organisations.
Gwafa said the country needs to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and sexual reproductive health rights issues, which entails promotion of the well-being of people of all ages.
“Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes,” he said.
The youths said gender-based violence and sexual reproductive health rights issues were not being discussed in churches.
They argued that that some churches were in denial about issues of violence against women and the fact that young people were sexually active.
One of the youths, Hloniphani Sibanda, said church doctrines do not support family planning methods.
“There is lack of information at church,” Sibanda said. “Sexual reproductive health rights issues are a taboo subject in churches.”
Simoesihle Dube said some youths faced stigmatisations in churches after falling pregnant or for using family planning methods.
“They are banished from church and some end up disappearing forever from these religious institutions,” Dube said.
Youths said churches should provide support systems for young people.
Some of the organisations that took part in the seminar were Plan international, Childline, Emthonjeni Women’s Forum, J F Kapnek Trust and Trocaire.