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Human Rights Defender scoops award


INSTITUTE of Young Women Development (IYWD) volunteer Onai Nyahunzvi has been recognised for her efforts to end gender-based violence (GBV) and fight against women and child sexual abuse.


She was on Thursday awarded the Female Youth Human Rights Defender of the Year 2014 award by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) at a ceremony held in Bulawayo.

In an interview with NewsDay Nyahunzvi said the award came as a surprise.

She was grateful to IYWD founder Glanis Changachirere for nurturing her into what she is today and becoming a beacon in her own community of Trojan Mine under Chief Masembura in Bindura.

“When I first joined IYWD, I never thought I will get recognition for my works. Now that I have been rewarded I am so grateful to Changachirere for motivating me into becoming an advocate in my own community. This is the best thing to ever happen to me and I believe it has just opened up doors for more opportunities,” Nyahunzvi said.

She added: “I emerged the winner out of three nominees and this on its own encourages me to keep on fighting for the rights of the girl child and help bring to an end women and child sexual abuse.”

The mother of two boys also chronicled how she first joined IYWD while it was still in its infancy.

“IYWD held a meeting in 2009 and I took part in that meeting. After the meeting I signed membership forms and became an active participant in its programmes.
After seeing the potential in me I was elevated from an ordinary member to a community focal person,” she said.

Throughout the years Nyahunzvi has been fighting a number of success stories ranging from gender-based violence and child sexual abuse.

She narrates one of her success story which she believes earned her the prestigious award.

“This year I dealt on a case of a 6-year-old minor who was raped by her 14-year–old neighbour. Both parents wanted to negotiate for an out of court settlement, I convinced the girl’s parents to report the matter to the police and they agreed,” Nyahunzvi said.

“The case was tried and the boy was sentenced to five strokes by the prison guards, but he deferred the punishment. I took the case to Chief Masembura who retried the case and the boy’s parents were ordered to pay five beasts to the girls parents as compensation for damages.”

IYWD is a partner of ZimRights where it refers all cases. The organisation sometimes assists in dealing with human rights violation cases.

The ZimRights awards are given to individuals who display courage and strength in standing up in defending citizens’ rights.

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