With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, significant evidence demonstrates that there has been a surge in domestic violence and abuse towards women and girls around the world – resulting from economic challenges, and increased stress and anxieties in households. This reality only exacerbates an already worrying social issue.
In Mozambique, one in three women suffered from violence in their lives in the pre-COVID-19 era.
Different forms of abuse towards women and girls in many provinces of Mozambique have previously been recorded, especially in Chimoio, Mossourize, Gondola and Tambara districts of Manica province, where domestic violence and abuse cases against women are prevalent, with some resulting in death or loss of body parts.
The Government of Mozambique and the United Nations have been working together to address this serious challenge through the European Union (EU)-funded Spotlight Initiative. As part of this initiative, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Mozambique implements several activities in different communities, focusing on the priority areas of ending sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) and eliminating child marriages.
The activities and achievement of the Spotlight Initiative in Mozambique are synonymous with the contribution of UN Volunteers in the Initiative.
Farisai Gamariel, a UN Volunteer Project Officer, is serving at UNFPA Mozambique through the Spotlight Initiative to help reduce Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in communities, educate people, as well as empower women and girls who are the victims of GBV cases.
Farisai has been working closely with implementing partners and UNFPA towards implementing sustainable development goals that address GBV in communities, particularly in remote areas. During her assignment, Farisai worked as the bridge that connects UNFPA with the implementing partners of the Spotlight Initiative, ensuring that there is a smooth flow of information between them, conducting field visits and GBV awareness programmes, as well as monitoring results and achievements of planned activities.
Through volunteering for GBV, Farisai believes she has been able to create community engagement to make people aware of GBV and the impact it has on the lives of women and girls around the world. For instance, through posting about her activities on the field on various social media and web platforms, she has inspired other volunteers to speak up against violence and abuse towards women.
More women and girls she has worked with are now bolder and confident in voicing their disapproval with prevalent GBV in the local communities. Fortunately, more men are also joining the fight against GBV.
I consider UNV as a family that provided me an opportunity to work with communities. I believe that change will only come if every one of us makes a deliberate choice to volunteer whenever we can, however small our contributions may seem.” -- Farisai Gamariel, UN Volunteer Project Officer at UNFPA Mozambique