By Cosmas Sunguro
Dated 23 /05 / 2020.
The government through the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting services has embarked on a full swing awareness campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic. As the figures of those testing positive continue to surge higher, it has been seen as the best foot forward to educate the people.
According to Mr Marufu of the Ministry of Information, the Ministry is undertaking different programmes to sensitize people especially women about Covid-19. Through its awareness campaigns it is undertaking in partnership with various stakeholders there is marked change in terms of attitude towards the pandemic. They are involved in this campaign as a way of informing and educating the communities . Speaking at a virtual Dialogue on 20 May 2020, he reiterated the need to work together on Covid 19 given that it is not selective of one’s status. This Dialogue attracted 115 participants from different organizations and communities in Manicaland and beyond. The dialogue which was organized by ZIDAWU also had Ms Nobuhle Mabhikwa of Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) as a panelist. The topic of discussion was: Gender injustice in mining communities in times of Covid 19 Pandemic.
On the issue of participation, he said that the ministry was not just sending people but the district information officers were part and parcel of the awareness team. To add flavor to the fruitful discussion was Mr Rubaya the Provincial Development Officer in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises who emphasized the need for women to be informed and be active participants in the dissemination of information. Mr Rubaya explained that it is everyone’s responsibility to educate and inform one another on COVID 19. The Government through the Ministry of Health has also embarked on a multi pronged approach to educate communities. So far they have had radio and TV programmes and also flight daily updates on mainstream media. Information posters were printed out and are everywhere for the communities and general populace to learn. Live radio programmes on Manica Diamond are an ongoing activity. We have community roadshows and the Ministry is working with community care workers in the communities. Books that have been printed in all languages are available at clinic level to make sure it is accessible to all people.
To date they have done two road shows in mining communities of Tsvingwe and Penhalonga and resources permitting they intend to cover the other mining communities. Mr Banda of Penhalonga queried why they have been seeing people queuing in numbers at boreholes and diptanks yet they there is claim of funds donated to drill more boreholes. Mr Rubaya concurred to the question and acceded that they have high volume population user facilities in the communities and boreholes and dip tanks are just an example in the rural setting.
Ms Farirai Mudiwa of Women Coalition of Zimbabwe ( WCoZ) was appreciative of the initiatives of increasing awareness in communities. The Ministry reiterated that they remain open to synergies with development partners. So far they have been supported by IIDF, PLAN, FACT, CARE, DOMCAP, FST, MIN OF HEALTH, VFU and many others.
Provision of Empowerment Funds During & After Covid 19.
Funds were provided at National level, however they are still to receive the terms and conditions as well as the modalities of disbursement. Besides the funds set aside for Covid 19 pandemic, the Ministry still have the usual empowerment funds available. According to Mr Rubaya, the Empowerment initiatives are available through various institutions as listed below :
- SMEDCO this is a women and youth fund.
- Women micro finance bank.
- The ministry of women affairs have women development fund, community development fund and OFID funds.
- Ministry of Mines have mining development funds.
- They also have funds through the ministry of youth.
- Of late all banks now have SMEs windows and desks.
With the figures continuing to rise higher, it is of importance to make sure that the right information has been disseminated to the right people at the right time lest we perish because of not taking the pandemic seriously. Monitoring mechanisms have to implemented especially to the funds that are likely to be distributed for the Covid 19 pandemic.