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Spotlight initiative supports disability inclusion mapping in community service providers and GBV centers – Zimbabwe

In November 2021, Deaf Women Included (DWI) conducted community surveys and mapping exercises in Hurungwe and Guruve districts. The objective of the survey was to map the existing GBV and SRH services in the districts and assess the extent to which they are adapted and accessible to people with disabilities as well as the extent to which service providers understand the inclusion of gender. disability in service delivery. This builds on community dialogues with community leaders and women with disabilities which showed that women and girls with disabilities lack access to some essential GBV and SRH services. In both districts, DWI organized group discussions with service providers and visited two GBV shelters located in Karoi (managed by FACT) and Chiweshe (managed by Musasa). The purpose of the shelter visits was to assess their accessibility to people with disabilities (PH) who may need their services.

A total of 42 stakeholders were reached in this mapping exercise, including the staff of the Victims Unit, the staff of gender-based violence shelters, representatives of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Ministry of Women. Ministry of Social Protection as well as people with disabilities. Mapping results in the two districts indicated that cases of sexual and gender-based violence among women and girls with disabilities are endemic, with GBV shelters reporting they are receiving more cases, but the VFU indicated that there is still an underreporting of cases involving people with disabilities.

Barriers to communication, especially with the deaf, have proven to be a critical challenge in accessing essential services for survivors of GBV. Most stakeholders indicated that they did not have staff with basic sign language skills. A few VFU and Musasa staff who had received the training a few years ago indicated that they are slowly forgetting because they haven’t had the opportunity to constantly interact with the deaf community. One of the GBV service providers in Karoi indicated that “People with disabilities in our district are not satisfied because there are no sign language interpreters in most GBV and SSR centers, most of them buildings are not accessible and the staff are not adapted for disabled people…. ”

DWI interacted with staff at Chiweshe Shelter which is run by Musasa, from the engagement it was noted that staff still have difficulty offering counseling to women and girls with disabilities and especially deaf victims. Deaf women and girls in the district indicated the need to equip the shelter staff with skills to enable them to provide services effectively as well. The refuge was praised by the OPD for its infrastructure accessible to people with reduced mobility. DWI indicated that the presence of ramps around the shelter and the material translated into Braille is a positive step towards disability inclusion.

Through this mapping exercise, DWI managed to create a partnership with the Karoi refuge which is managed by FACT. Shelter staff and DWI coordinators have expressed a strong interest in capacity building initiatives to ensure that shelter services become inclusive for people with disabilities.

With the support of the Spotlight initiative, the deaf women included in phase 1 developed a guide on mainstreaming disability in the prevention and response to violence against women and girls with disabilities and during phase 2, DWI will use this tool to train community actors and service providers. on disability-inclusive service delivery and ensure that existing referral pathways become disability-inclusive.

The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa collaborates with deaf women included in activity 3.2.6 on promoting a culture of inclusion for women and girls with disabilities in the initiative’s community programs. Spotlight and discusses SGBV, SRHR and HP in women and girls with disabilities. During phase 2, DWI focuses more on strengthening community referral systems and the capacity of GBV service providers and community actors to ensure that they have adequate disability awareness and are able to meet the diverse needs of women and girls with disabilities, ensuring their inclusion in community initiatives that address GBV and harmful practices.

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Phinith Chanthalangsy
Program specialist
[email protected] (link sends e-mail)

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