UNESCO supports coalition building between Organisations of Persons with Disabilities and the Women’s Movement in Zimbabwe

The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (UNESCO ROSA) will be hosting a Workshop on Coalition building between Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) and the Women’s Movement in addressing intersectional discrimination on 10 March 2022 at Meikles Hotel in Harare.

Within the framework of the EU funded Spotlight Initiative Outcome 6 on Supporting the Women’s Movement, UNESCO is striving to link up OPDs and the women’s movement to ensure joint advocacy for disability rights. The women’s movement in Zimbabwe plays a crucial role in advocating for gender equality and women’s rights. Historically the women’s movement in collaboration with other CSOs has been working with marginalised groups and has successfully advocated for law and policy reforms in order to ensure that all forms of violence against women are addressed. OPDs in Zimbabwe have been at the forefront of advocating for disability rights and inclusion with a specific focus on the intersecting forms of stigma and discrimination that women and girls with disabilities face. Given the milestones of these two movements, there is need to build a coalition to address the intersectional discrimination.

This workshop seeks to build coalition for social change between OPDs and the women’s movement. This should facilitate learning opportunities and exchange of experience in lobbying, advocacy and policy dialogue for social inclusion, justice and equality which the two movements have accumulated over the years. The main objectives of the workshop will include:

Building coalitions between OPDs and the women’s movement to ensure joint advocacy for disability rights and the fight against intersectional discrimination.
Building capacities of women’s movements on disability inclusion.
Fostering learning process for OPDs from the longstanding experiences of women’s movements on advocacy and policy dialogue.
The workshop will also give OPDs and Women’s Rights Organisations an opportunity to contribute towards the drafting of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between OPDs and the Women’s Coalition. The MOU is set to provide a roadmap of the joint interventions that will be carried out by the two sectors.

The intervention builds on the realisation that Women and girls with disabilities are usually “Left Behind” in gender-based violence interventions and yet they face intersecting forms of discrimination at a higher level in comparison with women without disabilities. Inclusion of women with disabilities in initiatives that seek to end all forms of violence against women and girls in Zimbabwe is essential. However, there has been little interaction between the women’s movement and OPDs in the fight against intersectional discrimination. To ensure that the interaction between these two is enhanced, UNESCO will continue to foster the Coalition building between the Organisations of Persons with Disabilities and the women’s movement in Zimbabwe to ensure joint advocacy for disability rights and gender equality during the implementation of the Spotlight Initiative Phase 2. The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ), along with the Federation of Organisations of Disabled People in Zimbabwe (FODPZ) and National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH) will drive this Coalition building by facilitating a learning opportunity and exchange of experience in lobbying, advocacy and policy dialogue.

 

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