Multi sector approach
Several NGOs from Zimbabwe showed their Malawian colleagues how they aim to always involve multiple stakeholders. In cooperation with government departments representing the police, social welfare and the judicial system, the NGOs have been able to form a clear referral system that ensures that survivors of violence are properly supported so they can fully participate in society again. Clearly the Malawi SRHR alliance learned that lesson early on, which is why the delegation included a representative from the Malawi Ministry of Gender - one of the main partners of the Alliance working on ending sexual and gender based violence.
Two of the NGOs focus on the provision of medical services to survivors of sexual violence. These services are for example STI screening, counselling and care, but they also include providing medication such as post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to reduce the risk of HIV infection. One of the NGOs not only provides counselling but also actively offers shelter to survivors of sexual violence who cannot go home due to the unsafe situation.
The Malawi Alliance representatives also learned how communities in Zimbabwe are becoming more sensitive about gender based violence. Trained community volunteers coordinate sensitization meetings, and are empowered to report cases of sexual violence to Victim Friendly Police Units. “We encourage the communities to report gender based violence,” one volunteer explained: “But we also speak with Government officials to increase security in their areas in order to prevent such violence and to provide adequate support to survivors of violence.”