EU launches Team Europe Initiative; vows to help fight gender inequality, gender based violence

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Timmo Olkkonen

By Donald Nyandoro
The European Union delegation to Zimbabwe (EU) in Zimbabwe on Tuesday launched Team Europe Initiative on gender, a move aimed at fighting gender inequality and gender based violence in the country.

The launch falls under the recognition of the Women’s month and the International Women’s Day commemorations.

Speaking at launch in Harare, head of the EU delegation to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen said the EU and its European partners identified gender equality through women’s empowerment as an area where they would not only add value but also having a transformative impact.

“International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March each year to highlight the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, as well as to accelerate action towards gender parity. Today, I would like to commend all Zimbabwean women for their unwavering contribution to the sustainable development of the country. The EU is there to support you in these efforts,” he said.

Olkkonen commended the Zimbabwe Constitution for providing a strong legal framework for the promotion and attainment of gender equality and women empowerment.

“Building on the national consensus on gender equality, Team Europe initiative supports Zimbabwean women and men in their efforts to build a gender responsive society that ensures women’s equal and equitable participation, access to and control of resources in the social, economic and political spheres.

Olkkonen also highlighted that the Covid-19 epidemic has fuelled domestic and gender based violence, mostly perpetrated by men.

According to UNFPA, 1 in 3 women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence and 1 in 4 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.

Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe National coordinator, Virginia Muwanigwa applauded the initiative by EU saying it is time to collectively strengthen efforts for an enabling environment for women and girls to assert and enjoy their rights.

“We are called to duty to accelerate actions and investments in building communities’ capacities towards Zimbabwean society where women and girls fully enjoy their rights,” she said.

Team Europe Initiatives are joint activities by the EU, its member states and the European development finance institutions that focus on a specific sector.