Chiedza Community Welfare Trust (CHIEDZA) is a community- based organisation stationed at Bonda, Mutasa District. The organisation’s activities and services in Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) fall under the following thematic areas – Adolescent SRHR, sexual gender-based violence, menstrual health management, contraception, unsafe abortion, teenage pregnancies and ending child marriages.
The organisation believes that if young people are able to manage their sexual reproductive health, they will have a bright future and also become productive responsible citizens.
It is against this background that CHIEDZA would like to give light through awareness to the Penhalonga community. CHIEDZA in collaboration with National Aids Council and Ministry of Health and Child Care has offered this community cervical cancer screening, schools’ health screening and treatment, the Youth Hub Clinic and Covid-19 food parcels.
Nature of the Penhalonga event
Mining communities are always faced with a myriad of social challenges. The advent of coronavirus added to the challenges faced by youths in the mining setting, especially the girl child.
The Covid-19 restrictions reduced opportunities for communities which usually depended on informal businesses like vending, selling of second hand clothes and selling of agricultural produce.
With the closing of schools, workplaces and open spaces, gender-based violence became the order of the day at household level. The young people were affected most because of the increased unmet needs gap.
Penhalonga is one of the oldest mining settlements that have acquired dormitory status because of its proximity to Mutare. The place was flocked by artisanal miners who travelled from all over the country in search of gold.
Such people are usually followed by vendors who are selling various goods and services.
They also attract women commercial sex workers.
The influx of people created a health challenge for the community. Health programmes’ data identified the area as a hotspot for HIV transmissions, Sexually Transmitted Infections and sexual gender based violence.
Exposure to the social ills and the unmet need gap influences young people to indulge in sexual activities which eventually leads to teenage pregnancy, commercial sex work, early sexual debut, child marriages and complete disruption of school attendance.
The area demanded interventions from partners who were into the prevention of HIV transmissions and sexual gender-based violence.
Stakeholders who worked with the National Aids Council and the Ministry of Health and Child Care were invited to direct their complimentary efforts in the area to improve health outcomes.
The Chiedza Community Welfare Trust’s strategy is to increase awareness through arts and radio programs to reach out to the youths as they are supposed to be informed on the consequences of early sexual debut and sex work.
To further mitigate the effects, young women are supposed to be informed of the various services that are available at various health facilities.
This will assist them to reduce the risk associated with their actions.
On March 11, we gathered in a small group in compliance with the coronavirus restrictions to disseminate information to the Mutasa community and all other places around through Diamond FM.
The host speakers were CHIEDZA Director and Mutasa Child MP.
We had 22 young participants from Penhalonga.