THE UN End Violence Against Women (EVAN) programmes specialist Sarah Murera has hailed the local Daughters Destined for Purpose (DD4P) poetry competition as an effective tool to fight gender-based violence (GBV).
Murera made the remarks at the 8th edition of this year’s DD4P poetry competitions held on Saturday at the Harare City Library.
The poetry competitions are an extension of the efforts by the founder of DD4P, Hopolang Phororo in the fight against GBV.
The world is currently commemorating the 16 Days of Activism against GBV, a global campaign that kicked off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day.
“Reported cases of GBV continue to rise annually. The poetry competitions are an effective way of creating harmony among men, women, boys and girls. One in every three girls and 39,4% of the women aged 15 to 49 experience GBV, respectively,” she noted.
Murera has called for global action to increase awareness, galvanise advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to end violence against women.
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Trustee of the DD4P Zimbabwe chapter Simbarashe Manyureni said the poetry competitions aimed to break the silence on sexual abuse in a less frightening way.
“The purpose of the DD4P poetry competitions is to raise awareness on GBV and childhood sexual abuse. We launched the poetry competition as a pilot during the United Nations campaign for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence in 2016,” he told NewsDay Life & Style.
“The various themes for the poetry competition facilitate discussions in classrooms and other spaces, thus enabling adolescents to share their views and experiences.”
Poets from John Tallach High and Chisipite Senior schools from Matabeleland North province and Harare, respectively, dominated this year’s competitions run under two categories, GBV and the Human Rights Day.
In the 16 to19 years category, Vuyani Simpiwe Ndiweni of John Tallach High School (Matabeleland North) was the ultimate winners while Ruvarashe Mhakayakora from Chisipite Senior School (Harare) and Maita Victoria Nyashanu of St Georges College (Harare) were adjudged second and third runners-up, respectively.
The winners in the 13 to 15 years category were ultimate winner, Divine Kambadza of Kutama High School, Munotida Mhanda from Chisipite Senior School came second while Kutama High School’s Kelly Banket settled for third position.
Novelist and teacher Beverly Abrahams who was one of the competition adjudicators challenged teachers and students to embrace poetry in their day to day lives.
She said poems submitted as entries to the competition were adjudicated on their richness in areas such areas as rhyme and rhythm, diction, phraseology and their ability to communicate effectively on GBV, among other criteria.
“I understand the majority of girls and boys are using social media to communicate on various social issues. I urge you to communicate the need to put GBV to an end on platforms such as Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Vimeo and even on WhatsApp,” she said.
DD4P ambassador and former competition’s first prize winner, Memory Bvungo, hailed the competitions as a platform that helps young women and girls to grow in confidence and empower youth on the issue of GBV.
“It is nostalgic to be here because I know the journey that lies ahead of the winners. DD4P has really transformed my life and it is also interesting to notice the increasing number of people interested in poetry. Through poetry we have managed to venture into spaces that we have never been to before,” she noted.
The panel of adjudicators is composed of Sefunmi Oladumiye a writer and teacher, from Nigeria, author Nancy Lazaro (Tanzania), Bryony Rheam (Zimbabwe) and Chiedza Rwodzi, a local actress, creatives entrepreneur and storyteller.