Salvation Army partners Padare in GBV fight

Standard Style
The Salvation Army in Zimbabwe on Friday partnered Padare/Enkundleni Men's Forum on Gender for a men’s conference aimed at enhancing the capacity of faith leaders in addressing gender based violence in the church.

By Takemore Mazuruse As the surge in gender-based violence (GBV) continues unabeted, various players among them church organisations are taking a stand against the scourge, which is threatening families and leading to widespread divorces and in some cases, loss of life.

The Salvation Army in Zimbabwe on Friday partnered Padare/Enkundleni Men’s Forum on Gender for a men’s conference aimed at enhancing the capacity of faith leaders in addressing gender based violence in the church.

The one-day conference, which was held at Braeside Salvation Army church drew various participants from the church’s structures across Zimbabwe.

Speaking to Standard Style, Salvation Army in Zimbabwe secretary for programme administration Lieutenant Colonel Onai Jera said the programme was critical in addressing the pressing challenge of GBV even among the Christian community.

“Gender-based violence is not far-fetched,” Colonel Jera said.

“It’s a reality even amongst our members within the church and men are also bearing the brunt of this social ill given that the majority of them can not speak out.

“We are happy that we have partnered Padare/Enkundleni Men’s Forum on Gender towards a holistic approach to this challenge.

“Men are not only partners in ending GBV, but they are also victims who need to share their experiences and speak out against the scoure.”

Colonel Onai said it was important that the church effectively plays its role towards a gender just society.

“We are all important players in ending gender based violence and it is my hope that this inaugural engagement with Padare gives birth to even more such conferences across our structures and in the Christian community at large to enlighten and empower men,” he said.

“Once our men are educated about their roles and responsibilities and become caring and considerate members of society; it becomes easier to achieve gender justice and end GBV.”

Padare board chairperson Jonah Gokova encouraged Christian men to transform for the better and become partners in ending GBV.

“Inclusive transformation is important towards ending gender-based violence,” he said.

“We challenge the Christian to embrace wholesome salvation which means regard for all and upholding the rights of women.

“We are saved to serve and the sooner we realise that the better.

“We have a bigger opportunity to play our part towards inclusive emancipation of women  and being Christian men we have no excuse in upholding gender justice.

“There is need for a consciousness towards gender equality.

“We must develop material and a foundation that enhances liberation of women and fostering gender justice.”

Kudakwashe Munyoro, a legal expert, highlighted the importance of pushing for gender justice as espoused in the Constitution.

“The Constitution of Zimbabwe, which is the backbone of the law speaks the language of rights for all and disparages domestic violence as spelt out in the national values and principles,” Munyoro said.

“Women and men are treated equally according to the constitution.

“Section 17 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe talks 50-50 representation of men and women and we must all be challenged to play our part in fighting for gender equality.”

Padare/Enkundleni Men’s Forum on Gender national director Walter Vengesai said it was imperative that the church continues to partner development players in championing rights of all and pushing for gender justice given the largely patriarchal society.

“We are happy that the Salvation Army church is taking a stand in pushing for gender justice particularly making sure that men also speak out and share their experiences,” Vengesai said.

“Aptly held under the theme Breaking the Stigma around Male and Gender, this conference is exactly what we need in ensuring that noone is left behind in the fight for gender justice.”

According to Padare/Enkundleni Men’s Forum on Gender programmes officer Paul Vingi, the conference was primed on various outcomes among them, the need to awaken the Christian community towards justice.

“Some of the expected objectives and outcomes of this conference included ensuring that faith leaders will begin the change process, raise societal expectations and publicise the changes while carrying out community engagement and holding community dialogues on specific gender based violence at community events in the community,” Vingi said.

“We were also aiming at bringing visibility to the personal, households and community benefits of shifting negative social norms on gender-based violence and challenging these norms at all levels.”

Various presenters among them Men’s Clinic International and Zimbabwe Fertility Transformation Centre also spoke on some of the challenges among men namely erectile dysfunction and fertility which often lead to verbal and emotional abuse against men.

Participants pledged to actively participate in ending GBV and also to speak out against their own experiences in their homes to avoid bottling up which has led to suicide among men.

The Salvation Army church through it’s various programmes continues to push for wholesome ministry that addresses the various challenge that communities face.

Their gender justice partnership with Padare is one of the many programmes they are championing in Zimbabwe towards community development.

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