Strategically using ICTs to amplify voices of silenced groups

Friday, April 26, 2013

CCCD brings limelight on mental illnesses

From left to right: Gertrude Pswarayi,
Soneni Gwizi, Frank Jabson
Issues affecting women suffering from mental illnesses were brought onto the limelight when the Creative Centre for Communication and Development (CCCD) staff members featured on a popular radio programme, Disability Issues.
The programme, which was aired on 22 April 2013, is hosted by one of Zimbabwe’s influential and award winning female broadcasters, Soneni Gwizi on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s Spot FM channel.
Gertrude Pswarayi, the Director of CCCD and Frank Jabson, the Programme Officer of CCCD featured on the programme to highlight the organisation’s 2013/4 Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights programme which targets women and girls suffering from mental illnesses.
The 30-minutes programme focused on the challenges that women and girls suffering from mental illnesses face. Pswarayi highlighted cultural myths, beliefs and perceptions that lead to the marginalisation of women and girls suffering from mental illnesses and the subsequent violation of their basic right to medical support, shelter, food and other services.
Jabson focused on how the organisation is working with one of its local partners, the Noah’s Ark Ministries to alleviate problems faced by patients at Ingutsheni psychiatric hospital in Bulawayo. Ingutsheni hospital is the country’s biggest mental health referral institution.
Spot FM broadcasts mainly in English and is a music, news and current affairs station aimed at a mature audience. The third quarter of the 2012 Zimbabwe All Media Products and Services (ZAMPS) survey shows that Spot FM has approximately 171 984 listeners. The surveys confirms that radio is still the most popular source of news and information in Zimbabwe, especially in rural areas with the country having about a million radio sets – roughly 1 for every 12 inhabitants according to the online database PressReference.  
CCCD will feature again on the same programme to highlight its initiatives of building the capacity of women and girls in the use of Information and Communication Technologies so as to raise their voices on issues that are of concern to them. The organisation strongly views radio as one of the key ICT that that can be used to give voice to the ‘unheard in the zone of silence’.

CCCD visibility growing in leaps and bounds

Strategic networking and outreach initiatives by the Creative Centre for Communication and Development (CCCD) are now yielding positive results. From its epicentre at Montgomery Hall in the northern suburb of Kingsdale, CCCD is now drawing beneficiaries from some of the eastern, western and southern suburbs of Bulawayo metropolitan province in Zimbabwe.
The organisation’s structured approach to community mobilisation has availed opportunities for the organisation to reach out to more women and girls locally and internationally. The strategy was adopted in 2012 after a realisation that there were more women and girls in need of the services offered by the organisation.
In 2008/09, CCCD was working with community members in the northern suburb of Queens Park. In 2010/2011, the organisation extended its reach in the northern suburb by reaching out to women and girls in Kingsdale, Woodville and Saurcetown. In 2012/2013, the organisation extended its reach to beneficiaries from western suburbs such as Nkulumane, Mpopoma, Cowdray Park and Makokoba, southern suburbs such as Hillside, eastern suburbs such as Waterford and other northern suburbs such as Trinance.
Meanwhile, CCCD is also making her presence felt on online. Our blog, has attracted readers from as far afield as the United States of America, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Canada, India, France, Ghana, and South Africa.
We are getting better and smarter at gathering and analysing relevant data that allows us to track the social impact we are making as we touch the lives of women and girls in Zimbabwe.

Wanted sex, good sex and the right to enjoy sex!

Adolescent girls and boys in Bulawayo north district, who have been bombarded by scare tactics in HIV prevention, sex and sexuality education for a long time, are set to benefit from a programme that seeks to promote positive approaches to sexuality and achieve comprehensive sexuality education for young people.

The sexuality education campaign has been launched to safeguard adolescents’ right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, in line with the 1995 Beijing Programme of Action, paragraph 96.

The campaign is part of our Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights programme which has been designed to allow teenagers to talk about sex, life and relationships in a healthy way. 

The Creative Centre for Communication and Development began the programme the first week of April 2013 and the programme is expected to run for 12 months. Teenagers are meeting once every week for knowledge and skills building workshops that encourage frank and non-judgemental conversations for participants to have correct information about a range of Sexual and Reproductive Health and gender issues.

Challenges facing women come under scrutiny

Women in Bulawayo north district of Bulawayo metropolitan province have decried some cultural practices in Zimbabwe that have relegated women and girls to the periphery of society.

The women, who had gathered at Montgomery Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe for a workshop facilitated by the Creative Centre for Communication and Development, said women and girls continue to be side-lined on issues such as inheritance for the mere reason that they are women. They said such challenges have impoverished women and further exposed them to other challenges such as HIV/AIDS and sexual abuse and exploitation.   

To alleviate the daily challenges facing women and girls, the Creative Centre for Communication and Development convened the one-day workshop to empower women and girls with knowledge and information about their rights, particularly on issues such as HIV, inheritance and reproductive health rights. The workshop ran under the theme: Becoming a woman of influence.

The workshop, which was attended by 115 grassroots women and adolescent girls sought to build women’s capacity to create, access, utilise and share information and knowledge that enables them to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life premised on the purposes and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The workshop was also attended by several other civil society organisations that included Self Help Development Foundation, Hope for a child in Christ, Susceptible Iyanai Chinoda OVC Care, Heal Makokoba Trust and Emthonjeni Women’s Forum.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Press Release: Women's Workshop

Conference seeks to assert women’s position

Women and girls from Reigate district and other areas of Bulawayo metropolitan province are set to converge at Montgomery Hall, in Kingsdale this Saturday for a conference that seeks to promote their sustainable development and improve their quality of life premised on the purposes and principles of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The workshop will run under the theme: Becoming a Woman of Influence and is expected to attract more than 100 women and girls and other developmental organisations in Bulawayo. Participants will scrutinise the underlying root causes fuelling the crises that women and girls are dealing with today such as HIV/AIDS, rape, sexual abuse, and violence.

Recent statistics published in the Quarterly Digest of Statistics produced by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency in January 2013 reveals the plethora of challenges facing women and girls. For instance, the third quarter of 2012 recorded 25 808 cases of newly HIV infected men against 42 296 cases for women. The report also reveals that there were 5017 cases of rape reported, including attempts between January 2012 and November 2012.

Gertrude Pswarayi, the Director of the Creative Centre for Communication and Development says the event will expose women and girls to a variety of services and information on challenges they face on a daily basis.

“This workshop will allow us as women to engage in dialogue that will help us to challenge the myths, beliefs and misconceptions that perpetuate inequalities between men and women. We will demystify a woman’s nature, potential, role and unique contribution to the world. Failure to understand this means that women are misunderstood, held back from fulfilling their potential, and abused,” says Ms Pswarayi.

Ms Pswarayi added that the challenges that women face is exacerbated women’s inability to use their Influence Power for self-realisation. She said the workshop is critical for women as they would have an opportunity to get information and services from a wide range of organisations that are taking part in the workshop.