8th November 2020
On Saturday the 7th November 2020, the Scotland Branch of the UK Chapter of Restoration of Human Rights [ROHR] Zimbabwe held their monthly meeting via zoom. The meeting was chaired by Lindah Chenyama (Committee Fundraiser).
Minutes were taken and compiled by Masciline Mzondiwa
REGISTER OF ATTENDANCE
Masciline Mzondiwa, Lindah Chenyama, Vongayi Mufara, Harriet Ndlovu, Alvina Chibhamu, Olivia Chamboko, Thenjiwe Ndlovu, Mavis Harrison (South Branch), Nontokozo Ncube (North Branch)
- Welcome and Apologies (Lindah Chenyama)
- Confirmation and adoption of minutes of previous meeting (Alvina Chibhamu)
- International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – 25 November (Alvina Chibhamu)
- Poor Education system in Zimbabwe (Vongayi Mufara)
- Poor health facilities for pregnant women in Zimbabwe (Harriet Ndlovu)
- Monitoring and recording of Human rights violations in Zimbabwe (Vongayi Mufara)
- Christmas zoom party (Lindah Chenyama)
- Any other business
1. Welcome and Apologies
Lindah Chenyama (Committee Fundraiser), the Chairperson of the meeting welcomed everyone and asked everyone to introduce themselves. No apologies were received.
2. Confirmation and adoption of minutes
Alvina Chibhamu called for seconding of last month’s minutes. The minutes of the previous meeting were unanimously approved as distributed.
3. International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November)
Alvina explained the history of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November) which brings to the fore human rights violations against women and girls. These issues include but are not limited to; sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment, all forms of intimate partner violence such as marital rape, femicide, battering, psychological abuse, human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation); female genital mutilation; and child marriage.
Alvina also applauded Scotland branch for tackling some of these issues in several of the campaigns done this year. She invited suggestions from other members and it was agreed that we use previous relevant campaigns to continue this theme as the said campaigns were effective; retweeting, sharing on social media to continue raise awareness and tagging some notable names associated with the campaign such as UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
4. Poor education system in Zimbabwe
Vongayi updated us on the current situation pertaining to the dire education system in Zimbabwe. Teachers are refusing to return to the schools but going on strike- demonstrating, demanding proper remuneration and proper sanitation equipment. The children in turn took to the streets demanding their right to an education as most of them are being forced to be wayward and milling around the streets, playing football and engaging in sordid acts like taking drugs, teenage pregnancies etc.
Alvina mentioned one of the heroes who got a mention from our campaign #CelebratingOurOwnHeroes – Obert Masaraure – President of Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) who has been arrested and abused severally, but has stood firm and continues standing up for the rights of the marginalised rural teachers.
It was put to the group to come up with suggestions concerning this issue since all of us here have passed through a teacher’s hand. Alvina also raised a point of delivering a campaign in a different format as we have tended to be one directional in campaign strategy so far.
Thenjiwe suggested featuring schoolchildren with their different messages but not necessarily showing their faces
Nontokozo added that we could become those schoolchildren and run the campaign wearing school uniforms representing students and holding placards written about poor education.
Alvina also added that we could incorporate all the pictures and write a blog article featuring student/ teacher demonstrations and showing the dilapidated school infrastructure in Zimbabwe.
5. Poor health facilities for pregnant women in Zimbabwe
Harriet spoke passionately about the state of the healthcare system in Zimbabwe, in particular the plight of the pregnant woman. While the constitution of Zimbabwe guarantees the right to healthcare, the situation on the ground is a far cry from being idealistic. Zimbabwe’s once enviable healthcare is now completely collapsed with the situation reaching new heights such that most women cannot afford hospital bills, lack of drugs, staff that are poorly paid and frequently going on strike just to name a few.
Harriet called out the First Lady-Auxilia Mnangagwa on why she is silent about such issues while women are dying in labour, losing their babies at birth or stillbirths, babies being born outside in maternity queues, midwives asking for bribes. She stated that some women are having to resort to giving birth at home which is dangerous, this is happening due to corruption in the country, at the hands of Zanu-PF government that has continued to loot funds.
Thenjiwe highlighted the research she conducted for the #StopVIolenceAgainstWomen campaign where some of the findings were that even contraception is not freely available to all (something which they should be entitled to) and this results in poor people having large families that they cannot sustain as they cannot do anything to prevent the pregnancies. She also noted Zimbabwe is one country that does not have child grants to assist low income families in such dire circumstances.
Vongayi commended BusStop TV who are using satire to point out such social issues in our country and the government’s response or lack of it.
6. Monitoring recording of human rights violations in Zimbabwe
Vongayi spoke about the Human Rights Violations Subcommittee which has been tasked with recording violations as they happen in Zimbabwe. She has put it to the group that it is also something that every activist should be concerned about. The branch agreed to record these human rights violations on a rotational basis and post findings on the Committee as well as give a full report on the monthly meetings. This will also help each and every one of us to be up to date and be in the loop with what is happening in Zimbabwe.
Alvina concurred and shared that it will help us identify what campaigns to come up with every month. Also to make this a standard agenda item for all our future meetings, i.e after greetings and confirmation of minutes we can then report on the Human Rights Violations updates. All present were in agreement.
7. Christmas Zoom Party
Lindah touched on the imminent festive season and suggested we hold a Christmas party via zoom since we will not have any meeting in December. We could play music, games, buy each other presents and it will be a good way to round off the year and also good for team building.
Masciline proposed we buy Christmas presents or donate towards the kids in Zimbabwe instead of buying each other presents, and feel that it would be a nice gesture and nice feeling for the kids to receive presents for Christmas time.
Olivia suggested to communicate with our runner in Zimbabwe and find out more information for us eg a hamper including sweets or toys for the kids and will be delivered to them.
Everyone agreed to contribute a minimum of £10 and if others can contribute more they are free to do so.
8. Any Other Business
Harriet gave a rundown of the branch account transactions and shared the bank balance.
All agenda items and any other business have been exhausted, Linda Chenyama declared the meeting closed 15.30pm.
To view pictures taken at the event, follow this link below.
By: Information & Publicity Department