Our Rights, Our Lives: Women's Call to Action Toward Cairo+20[i]

As the world reviews progress on implementation of the Program of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, women in all our diversity, are mobilizing.  We aim to build political commitment, to overcome financial and legal obstacles, and to transform the weak health systems, adverse social and economic conditions, violence and discrimination that impede us from accessing the necessary health services and information to make informed decisions about our sexual and reproductive lives.  All over the world, millions of women are demanding justice.  Young women are speaking out, calling for meaningful participation in all areas of public life, for education and jobs, and fulfillment of human rights, including sexual and reproductive rights. Continue reading

Rozaria Memorial Trust Support “Getting to Zero 2011-2015″ UNAIDS Strategy.

The launching of Getting to Zero 2011-2015 UNAIDS Strategy has come in time when the Global economic support for HIV responses is taking major decline because of a number of competing issues that include macro-economic challenges, increase in natural disasters, continued threat being posed by other communicable diseases among many other issues. Rozaria Memorial Trust believes "The Getting to Zero Strategy" can be achievable with the renewed positive commitment by all the stakeholders in the fight against HIV especially in the area of resource allocation in the most affected areas that include countries like Zimbabwe.

UNAIDS Getting to Zero Strategic Plan has clearly indicated that it is important that new HIV infections be stopped. It recognised the need to achieve a transition that will see fewer people newly infected than are newly placed on treatment. Doing so will require decisive action guided by a groundbreaking vision: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, zero AIDS-related deaths

Rozaria Memorial Trust will support and contribute towards this commitment through strengthening and supporting of community responses that sort to achieve the following:-

o        Elimination of vertical transmission of HIV and reduction of AIDS-related maternal mortality in the rural communities.

o        Improved access to antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV who are eligible for treatment especially for children and women. People Living with HIV and AIDS and affected households receive community support on care and support services.

o        Addressing of HIV-specific needs of women and girls in all national HIV responses. RMT calls for elimination of gender-based violence.

Rozaria Memorial Trust acknowledge that, beyond its health impact, the HIV responses should give an opportunity to strengthen the social framework, improve social justice and support systems that deliver critical services for the most vulnerable members of the communities especially women and children in the rural communities.

Getting to Zero Strategy for 2011-2015 has to promote for greater community involvement in health services to ensure effective contribution and sustainable programs that take into different social and cultural context that influence HIV responses. This will help in better understanding of community needs and constraints in the fight against HIV. Failure to involve the community may not only result in a failed intervention, but may also produce unforeseen and possibly adverse effects. In addition, community involvement can positively affect community norms and contextual factors to create an environment favourable to attainment of Getting to Zero by 2015 as stated in the UNAIDS Blueprint. Through its community work, RMT has discovered that non-community involvement will seize the opportunity to effect positive change in the fight against HIV.

Zimbabwe remains one of the hardest hit countries by the HIV and AIDS pandemic with estimated population of 1, 4 million living with the pandemic. The HIV prevalence currently stands at 13, 7 % in Murewa, Zimbabwe. Rozaria Memorial Trust is committed to elimination of new infections amongst children and enhanced access to treatment for people living with HIV.

Contact: Kudakwashe Dizha, Coordinator, Rozaria Memorial Trust

“Reduce Military Expenditure and Invest in Health, Education and Technology”, Gumbonzvanda Makes the Call at UN

Founder and Chairperson of Rozaria Memorial Trust, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda gave a strong and impassioned statement at a special event on Women and Children’s Health during the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. She called on governments and partners to invest in women and girls, reduce military expenditure and end all wars. She addressed the meeting as the General Secretary of the World YWCA, representing the voices of civil society. See Full speech  below:

“On behalf of women and men of the world, from civil society ~ of diverse ages and faiths, people living with and affected by HIV, community workers, professional groups and rights advocates, among others ~ we stand in solidarity with those who have died, and are dying at this moment due to preventable diseases.

Each day, our hearts bleed as we bury our mothers who die while giving birth; knowing this loss could have been prevented, understanding that this single death has multiple negative effects on our families, our communities, our economies and our social fabric. We find it unacceptable, that in today's world our children are unable to celebrate their first birthday in many parts of the world.

We stand here to reiterate our call for a world that protects the basic and inherent right to health and to a life with dignity. We rise together with all of you TODAY, – ourselves to taking all necessary measures towards this end, using the resources, skills, knowledge, expertise, inner quest for life and responsible leadership in each one of us.

On this first anniversary of the Global Strategy on Women and Children's Health, with regret for the lives we have failed to save and fortified by existing commitments to MDGs, CEDAW, CRC and other instruments, we continue to strive for:

  • A world where all women and all children enjoy all human rights, and especially the right to health.
  • Where governments prioritise resources for reproductive, maternal and newborn health as a development issue.
  • Where global citizens and partners ensures delivery on commitments and pledges to every woman and every child.

On behalf of the World YWCA; a global women's rights movement leading change in the heart of local communities, reaching some 25 million women and girls in 125 countries, we commit to:

  1. Mobilise political support, engage new constituencies and promote accountability to women and girls.
  2. Advocate for and monitor the implementation of key global, regional and national commitments on women and children’s health.
  3. Deliver effective programmes and services on women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, violence against women and HIV through provision of safe and empowering spaces for women and girls in 70 countries.
  4. Invest $2 million dollars over five years through the YWCA Power to Change Fund to secure women's health, in addition to individual programmes run and resourced by our member associations
  5. Contribute an estimated 1 billion hours of time over the next five years through volunteer work in over 22,000 communities, providing care, support, counselling, information and accompaniment.

Many organisations, including the World YWCA, World Vision, Women Deliver, Save the Children, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and others, are working collaboratively on their commitments through the PMNCH stand; translating them into impactful actions in communities as we develop the NGO Accountability framework for women and children's health.

As governments you have pledged not only funding, but policy and service oriented actions. One day, I will go to my village in Murewa, in my country Zimbabwe, and "give birth at our local clinic without paying maternity fees". It is these practical and far-reaching policy commitments that we seek to implement.

Today can only have real MEANING if we turn each commitment and each pledge into doable actions; with urgency, with passion, with efficiency and with accountability. This is possible and this is achievable ~ if we focus on some tangible goals such as: invest in health workers; immunise our children; register vital events, provide family planning and sexuality education, reproductive health services, empower women and girls, and invest in young people.

I encourage you, I urge you; I implore you today, individually and collectively, to at least:

  • Increase resource allocations to health, education, technology, infrastructure and agriculture and yes, reduce military expenditure; end conflict and wars.
  • Ensure stronger national accountability, including the role of parliament and civil society;
  • Embrace technology and innovation in health service delivery.
  • Focus on adolescent girls and young women, who are at a critical juncture in their lives, where we can make a real difference.
  • Go to scale and scale up. We know what works; we just need the resources and commitment to make it happen. We need to scale up for success, results, impact and sustainability.
  • Empower communities, by investing in women and girls, and supporting citizens' voices in turning the tide on maternal and infant mortality.

I am hopeful and I am encouraged that together we are shaping a new narrative on these MDGs. We all have to simply remain true to our world. Lets deliver together and with women”.

Contact: nyaradzai.gumbonzvanda@worldywca.org