In order to achieve the desired results, WAG has adopted emergency responses as a strategy to respond to the SRHR needs of women and girls in emergencies. The expected outcome is to reduce vulnerability of women and girls to GBV and SRH challenges in humanitarian settings. Understanding women’s immediate and long-term needs and challenges is vital in any emergency response. Beyond basic needs, crisis often have long lasting devastating effects on the community based on pre-existing gendered differences. The gendered division of labour, and gender based violence could be worsened or changed by a humanitarian crisis. Hence WAG’s emergency responses will address the needs of women and girls in terms of increasing access to SRHR, RMNCH and GBV services and information through advocacy and service provision during any humanitarian crisis or emergency.
To increase women’s participation in governance and decision making, WAG will build the capacity of women in transformative leadership and accountability. This is a new strategic pillar for the 2019-2023 Strategy. There are already a number of internationally agreed norms and standards that reinforce the need for women’s leadership and political participation, such as the 1990 Beijing Platform for Action, the 2003 and 2011 UN General Assembly resolutions on women’s political participation, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. WAG realises the need to increase the participation of women in governance as it remains a priority. This is also evident in the Sustainable Development Goals, in which goal 5.5 is to “Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.”
Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR)
There are a number of economic, social, cultural factors and gender dynamics that hinder women’s control of their sexuality and enjoyment of sexual and reproductive health rights. Due to the current economic situation and lack of access to quality health care, there is an increase in maternal and infant mortality. WAG is focusing on SRHR to promote gender equality as defined by the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) 1994.The focus on SRHR is both at national level and community levels. At community level, WAG engages in awareness campaigns and training. It also creates platforms for men and women to discuss initiatives and solutions that promote and ensure the enjoyment of sexual and reproductive health rights and access to quality health care. WAG unpacks issues of cultural practices that hinder women from asserting their SRHR. At national level, the focus is on lobbying and advocacy for access to quality and affordable health services.
Prevention of HIV and AIDS
Women still constitute the majority of the people living with HIV. As a result of this high prevalence among women, WAG has identified HIV and AIDS as one of its primary focus areas. The goal for this thematic area is to achieve zero new infections, zero HIV and AIDS deaths and zero discrimination. Women’s Action Group’s work on HIV and AIDS aims at addressing gender dynamics and cultural practices that fuel the spread of HIV. Engagement with traditional leaders is also done to challenge patriarchal values that foster male control over female sexuality. The WAG HIV and AIDS programme also responds in line with national policies and priorities such as those stated in the Zimbabwe National Strategic Plan (ZNASP), the National behaviour change strategy, SADC protocol on Gender and Development among others. The focus on HIV and AIDS is also linked with other WAG thematic areas which are Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and prevention of Gender Based Violence, as these are fundamental issues that need to be addressed in order to reduce the vulnerability of women to HIV and AIDS.
Prevention of Gender Based Violence
From its inception WAG has always been advocating and defending women’s rights in line with the provisions of the CEDAW, SADC protocol on gender and Development among other policies and guidelines. The battle to free women has been fought from many angles including legislative reform, legal advice, counseling and awareness raising campaigns. In Zimbabwe and other countries, gender based violence continues to be a problem that haunts communities especially women and girls. WAG took the strategic decision to address gender based violence following the realization that violence is a daily occurrence.