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SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe

by Oasis Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
SWATT-TEAM: sexual violence responders in Zimbabwe
Learning is fun!
Learning is fun!

It seems like a world ago since our last report.  Much has happened and the importance of community and responding together as community has been very present with us.  We hope it has with you also. 

In the midst of the toughest economic times our nation has seen since a decade ago, we experienced Cyclone Idai in our Eastern Highlands region here in Zimbabwe.  A cyclone with devastating effect here, in Mozambique and in Malawi.  Two of our SWATT TEAM members were in Cyclone impacted areas, both managed to stay safe where whole communities were lost and our community is very grateful for that.   In the midst of continuing to assist survivors of sexual and gender based violence, this beautiful community of responders decided that in spite of their own circumstances and increasing struggles with making ends meet in the already high risk areas in which they live, they had much to give.   It took four pick up truck journeys to carry the clothing, blankets and supplies they gathered to be sent to support victims of the cyclone!  

Our Oasis Zimbabwe CEO and another team member, both a part of the SWATT TEAMs, also travelled to assist our Oasis family in Mozambique and to support them as they dealt with the impact of the cyclone on their own lives and yet continued to give selflessly of themselves to help the most vulnerable who had been impacted in the communities in and around Biera.  We were able to provide healing play for children and surviviors within one of the displacement camps, help with food disbursements, and to begin to assist the team with a plan to roll out trauma training and our unique HDP training and expertise which has been so powerful in addressing inhibiting mindsets in our SWATT TEAMs, in thier own context.   Our SWATT TEAM community reached far beyond ourselves, joining in community with others. 

Sadly, this was also a time we reached in toward each other as we lost one of our team and male SWATT TEAM members in a tragic accident.  Community makes us vulnerable, but also makes us able in these times. 

As we continue to respond to sexual and gender based violence where the SWATT TEAMs are based, we are continuing our learning.  We are looking to increase, and our next target is to engage 100 men, including pivitol community leaders, as SWATT TEAM members.  Additionally, we are looking to have SWATT TEAMs in 30 schools this year, empowering youth to be a part of the community of solution in disarming tolerence of sexual and gender based violence.  

We are so grateful for all you have partnered in community with us to achieve.  We humbly ask that you continue to do so, helping us to grow this community of action who understand the value of what you have given, but are growing more and more confident in the knowledge and value of what they are giving.  

Cyclone Idai Displacement Camp
Cyclone Idai Displacement Camp
supporting food distribution to cyclone survivors
supporting food distribution to cyclone survivors
Healing Play Trainee Receiving Her Certificate
Healing Play Trainee Receiving Her Certificate
Trauma recovery training
Trauma recovery training

We are delighted that 237 community champions and stakeholders have now been trained as SWATT-TEAM members, and momentum continues to grow as we learn together. Here are some of our highlights of the past few months:

Two ‘safe spots’ have been set up in one of the high-risk communities where our SWATT-TEAM members live. These are places where survivors can be assisted by SWATT-TEAMs to access medical care, report crimes and contact safe extended family members. In the past few months 57 people have been supported, including survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child marriage. The majority have been female, but we have also been able to assist some male survivors.

Following Oasis Zimbabwe’s workshop with representatives of 30 primary and secondary schools in December, in partnership with the local Member of Parliament and his team, the schools have implemented SGBV reporting boxes. The schools are also rolling out ‘Youth Learning and Advocacy Groups’, focused on advocacy around keeping girls in education to reduce their vulnerability to SGBV. This includes addressing the need for sanitary ware, and Oasis Zimbabwe has begun to produce washable pads in response to this.

In February Oasis Zimbabwe hosted an intensive training week for 20 SWATT-TEAM members who are teachers in our Early Childhood Development centres. The training focused on trauma recovery and healing play interventions for child survivors. The 20 teachers were supervised to implement five one-on-one healing play therapeutic sessions for 24 children during the week, and have now begun implementing healing play therapy sessions across Oasis Zimbabwe Early Childhood Development centres.

Also in February, the Oasis Zimbabwe team was delighted to host the Canadian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr René Cremonese, as we visited a SWATT-TEAM community meeting in Goromonzi. During the Ambassador’s visit, we were very encouraged when male community leaders stood together in the meeting and publicly stated their support of the SWATT-TEAMs initiative, and the work we are doing together to address SGBV. While Oasis Zimbabwe’s focus has been on training and empowering women and girls to change their mindsets and speak out with a communal voice, we recognise that men have a critical role in reducing the social acceptability of SGBV. We are excited that discussions around traditional gender roles and SGBV prevalence have been initiated with male community leaders through our SWATT-TEAMs.

Thank you once again for your generous support, which is helping to grow our community movement. Please continue to give and share our page so we can reach our $50,000 goal!

Healing Play
Healing Play
Trauma recovery training 2
Trauma recovery training 2
Trauma recovery training 3
Trauma recovery training 3

Boy has this proven true for so many of us in our SWATT TEAMs over the past couple of months!  While we are learning how to effectively handle and refer the “bigger”, confidential cases we encounter in our communities, we are realizing how many things go un-noticed within our communities that contribute toward normalizing aspects of sexual and gender-based violence.  

Just within our Oasis Zimbabwe team, we have had two instances where team members have suddenly recognized daily occurring practices have required them to confront community to think differently.  In the video, Barbra, shares her experience of standing up to the practice of mini bus (aka “kombi”) public transport conductors encouraging teenaged girls come and sit on their laps and using the excuse that they are “helping passengers” when the kombi is full.  

https://youtu.be/pt8pXN7yswI

 Additionally, a team member stopped to address a group of young men who were using sexually explicit language with a group of young ladies who were walking to their lessons, and another SWATT TEAM member confronted a sect leader who began to refer to the body of a child present, as well as engaging the girls mother and other women present in dialogue when they expressed their sentiments that the man’s interest could lead to the possibility of the young girl becoming his wifeShe engaged them around the violence and illegality of child marriage, eventually winning them over to recognize the danger the man was actually posing to the child.  A good thing, as he was arrested a couple of weeks later.   

These and numerous other examples SWATT TEAMs have shared during our training times, have highlighted just how effective our approach to addressing trauma and resulting mindsets is.   We are digging deeper, growing more confident, and beginning to see active impact together. 

In the last months over 200 community members have participated in the monthly SWATT TEAM trainings, our next training is December 13th, and we anticipate an additional 15 young women (aged 16-24) and a number of their parents/caregivers to join us for the first time. 

On November 29th, our CEO participated in an event hosted by the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust marking #16DaysOfActivism in which she was asked to present a “Situational Overview of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Zimbabwe” to Members of Parliament.  The event which was attended and supported by several partner organisations and supported by the Canadian Embassy and Ambassador, effectively created the space to bring a very real picture of what is happening within communities when it comes to sexual and gender based violence, and to dialogue with Ministers of Parliament about how they can effectively partner to eliminate the large gap between the very strong laws we have in Zimbabwe and the current lack of application of those laws on the ground.  

December 7th, in partnership with the area Minister of Parliament and team, we held a training workshop for 55 science teachers and heads of departments for 30 primary and secondary schools and were joined by the District Schools Inspector and his team, had one of our Ministers of State stop by to bring two of her team to the workshop and to fully endorse the work we are doing around addressing issues that cause our girls to drop out of school and increasing their chances of experiencing sexual and gender based violence, child marriage etc.  Youth clubs will be initiated at the schools at the start of the 2019 school year, and will engage young boys and girls to bring their voices to the table in addressing those issues. 

This week, we are furnishing our first community based safe spot, with the second due to be set up early 2019.

Once again, you continue to be a part of this community movement through your support.  Step by step, we are learning, we are growing and we are beginning to thrive! We would be honored if you would share our page with friends, family, work places or organizations who are looking for a great cause to invest in on behalf of themselves, or others for the holidays. 

Thank you! May you find the true value in and power of  the “small” things this season.

 

 

 

 

Links:

Learning The Impact of Our Choices on Each Other
Learning The Impact of Our Choices on Each Other

The confidence after four monthly training sessions with close to 100 women plus team members each, is growing, and the colours of our community champions are showing.  These amaizing women have begun to notice and identify incidence of abuse within their communities and actively engage around how to effectively address them.  And in our last session we were all profoundly impacted as we heard firsthand of how the trauma and addressing deep cycles of poverty training and techniques we have been building on habitualising saved a life.

Conversations about the SWATT TEAMs community movement has stirred other community stakeholders, including two police units, and planning around providing Victim Friendly Unit officers with trauma and Hidden Dynamics of Poverty (HDP) training is currently under way with both units.  One of our key stakeholders leading in medical treatment for rape survivors will be attending our training and strategy sessions, learning with us, providing specific training on steps to take when assisting rape survivors to receive care within the critical 72 hour window, and responding to and dialoguing around the SWATT TEAM champions questions as they forge this path and learn to navigate the needs of survivors within their communities.  Everyone is very excited about a self defense session we have planned. 

With your generous support, and through the incredibly genrous support of the Canadian Embassy in Zimbabwe - although not via this platform - we are half way to our finacial goal toward training 1000 SWATT TEAM members, establishing and capacitating safe houses, assisting survivors to medical, legal and other supportive service appointments, and in supporting education/skills development for young women!  Over the next few months, we will be training an additonal 200 SWATT TEAM champions, increasing our engagment of men in addressing this issue, establishing 2 of our overall targeted community safe spots, as well as increasing our support of survivors in accessing medical care and other vital important follow up through your support. This includes support through specific savings pots SWATT TEAM members have established and are contributing into themselves to assist with survivor transportation for these services.  

Awareness is changing, mindsets are changing, responsibility toward the future we want for our mothers, sisters, nieces, daughters, granddaughters is growing, not through a programme, but through a community movement that you are a part of. 

Please consider continuing to give, sharing this work and our Global Giving link with your family members, your colleauges, your social and church groups.  The more we are able to raise toward our goal of US$50,000, the more lives you and us are able to impact generationally.  Thank you again for being apart of this priviledged journey. 

The faces of Champions!
The faces of Champions!

Links:

Thanks to all our Global Giving donors, Oasis Zimbabwe was able to launch the first of our SWATT-TEAMs initiative community training and strategy sessions on 3rd May 2018.

90 people from across our programmes, plus team members receiving the training themselves, took place in our fist training.  85 of the attendees were women, and came together from several high-risk communities we work alongside across the Greater Harare area, including Epworth and Goromonzi.  There was a strong mix of community and the attendee list was cross generational, including teachers from our 99 Oasis Zimbabwe Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres, parents and caregivers of children from the ECD Centres, community leaders and members of our in community economic strengthening groups, and young women from our vocational tailoring training course. The room was packed and the energy was high!

The first full day of training together was facilitated by our Oasis Zimbabwe CEO with our Programmes Director, both of whom frequently burst in to song in the midst of the training.  The "rule" was that any time music was heard, everyone had to join in the song and dance.  The atmosphere was awake and the training and dialogue was deep, focusing on how mindsets can influence choices, priorities and the ability to make decisions with long-term consequences. From this basis, everyone walked through the processes of exploring and owning how our mindsets have contributed to cycles we see in our individual and community contexts, and focused in on cycles of sexual and gender-based violence in our communities.  The information supporting the fact that 113 rape case are treated on average each month in the community where a majority of the women live, and the reality that there is likely at least one unreported case for every reported case, was a real wake up call to all present and increased the resounding "YES" to us, as community, moving from being seen as a point for information in awareness campaigns to being THE solution!  Lots of lively group dialogue occurred, lots of "aha!" moments were observed, and this energy was brought into the second part of our day which focused on strategising around rolling out the sexual and gender based violence response through SWATT TEAMs. 

The 90 champions discussed first steps to establishing supportive networks for survivors of sexual violence in our communities and started to develop ideas about how to engage the police, local government, churches and clinics to ensure services are delivered effectively. Discussion which continue into the various groups’ weekly meetings, and which will further inform our next training and strategy session planned toward the end of June and monthly moving forward. 

One of our star champion ECD teachers, Dorothy, commented on how powerful she found the first training session, "We receive the best training to impact children with Oasis Zimbabwe, we are stars who are respected within our community because of this, but this training together has been amazing and so valuable to bring deeper light to us about the way we have limited ourselves in thinking about what we can do.  As you said, we don't know what we don't know, but now we are becoming so much more aware.  We are becoming aware that we are perfectly positioned, as women who can change the nation, to change this violence in our community". 

We wish that you could have experienced the energy of everyone in that room, this is the beginning of a powerful movement of women, and men,  who are empowered through the responsibility they are determined to carry.   Even though not present, you share in this movement by your support.  We are all so grateful to you for the part you play in it by your contribution.    

Our goal is to train 1000 SWATT TEAM members through raising our total goal of US$50,000 (we have raised US$7,540 together to date). If you are inspired and would like to support this movement further, please consider another one time or recurring gift.  Gift an amount to honour your father this Fathers' Day, let your family and community know about us should they wish to do the same.

with thanks from Oasis Zimbabwe and the first of the SWATT TEAM champions! 

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Oasis Zimbabwe

Location: Harare, Harare Province - Zimbabwe
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @oasiszimbabwe
Project Leader:
Ashleigh Emmerson
CEO, Country Director
Harare, Harare Province Zimbabwe
$15,369 raised of $50,000 goal
 
90 donations
$34,631 to go
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