Jun 27, 2020
The name EKENIA T.CHIFAMBA is a name that somewhat rattles the bone and marrow of unrepentant , evil and dare-daring barbarians perpetuating sexual violence and emotional abuse onto the lives of innocent and vulnerable young women and girls in both rural and urban settings. In realizing the plight of the GIRLCHILD in all sectors of life , political , social , moral and economical. The resilient Ekenia Chifamba established SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA organization .True to it ,the girlchild rights Maestro Chifamba is blessing and heartily friend of the GIRLCHILD in Zimbabwe , Africa and Abroad . For the past tiring six years , she has relentlessly exposed rape cases across the country, weeded out evil off our vulnerable communities .Chifamba embraced vulnerable/abused young girls and rehabilitated their emotions and consciences into lives worth living . A lot of community interventions are being done in Zimbabwes various settings of the country to heal girls from emotional hate and moral decadence perpetuated by crude cruel killers of innocence . Since the resumption of her organization , Chifamba has been received with mixed feelings and contempt by a society use political and pseudo cultural vintage in covering up sin and vile for so many years . That did deter her to stop effecting her CALLING positively in touching the souls of weak and the traumatized . Young women and girls’ deplorable plight was savagely neglected .Ekenia Chifamba became the answer to a lot of unanswered questions and has ridden on the impossible, defying all odds and human obstacles to relieve the girlchild from the bondage of retrogression and unchain them from the yoke of sexual oppression , stigma, discrimination and emotional shattering . SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA promotes dialogue among victims , they promote education on girlchild rights in rural villages and down trodden settings, entrepreurship projects , arts and other sustainable projects. Despite a myriad of negative challenges , SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA has its own great success stories .Currently ,they are constructing a Girl Child Rehabilitation and Empowerment One Stop Centre . Alas ,the negating winds of the virulent , savaging , cantankerous COVID – 19 affected the completion of this great habitat , sooner or later the Centre will be launched. To honor her resilience , the immense contribution to vulnerable girls , victims of abuse and their communities , I have decided to feature the profiles and activities of SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA Organization and its Founder /Executive Director Madame Ekenia T.Chifamba. Chifamba is an Award winning girlchild rights activist ,Philanthropist, Outstanding global girlchild Projects leader with a long , practical , active and reputable resume in field of girlchild rights and other areas of human development. This Feature Profile and Interview will be featured in AFRICA WRITERS CARAVAN , WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS , TIME OF THE POET REPUBLIC ,WORLDPULSE as a Special Journal .In my closing of this long but deserving blurb, I want to heartily say to Madame Ekenia T.Chifamba thank you profoundly for lighting the lanterns of peace ,for raising the flag of freedom and for speaking on behalf of the VULNERABLE and the VOICELESS.
CHIRASHA -You are a longstanding advocate of the Girlchild, how has been the journey?
SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA .I should say that my journey as an advocate of the girl child has had its fair share of joys as well as sorrows due to the nature of such work. When I formally registered the organization I 2014, I never thought that it would grow into such a big brand over its short period of existence so far. I started off stating that my vision was to be the voice of the voiceless girl child in Zimbabwe and this was something that I had to evolve over the years and now six years later I am now amplifying the girls voices so that they speak for themselves, facilitate for their active engagement across all platforms so as to build their agency. At my organisation we established clubs for more than 350,000 girls in Zimbabwe named Dandaro Revasikana (a safe space for the overall girls’ empowerment). In these clubs, the girls get leadership skills, go through the Girls Economic Empowerment and Financial Education (GEEFE) Model, career guidance, and confidence building. As the Focal Point for Zimbabwe since 2015, I have led the implementation of the World Children’s Prize Programme in over 300 Zimbabwe schools with focus on girls’ equal rights and has planted Child Rights Clubs that also include Children with Disabilities thus being inclusive in my work. Since our approach to girl’s economic empowerment as a catalyst or a means to end feminization of poverty, Gender Based Violence as well as child marriages. These empowered girls then take part in income-generating projects such as reusable sanitary pads production, poultry, market gardening, basket weaving, and soap making among others. This is very effective in holistically building girls to take charge of their lives and positively contribute to their communities. Clearly, my organization’s programs also offer survivors of rape and abuse the help they need–psychological and legal support, referrals to shelters, and transportation to police stations, courts, and hospitals. This is also in line with Multi-Sectoral Protocol in dealing with Sexual Violence in Zimbabwe.
On the flip side, within my line of work, I have encountered health risks, threats and have been under surveillance as result of my work to emancipate the girl child. I then ended up developing a back problem a couple of years back and this has resulted in my inability to drive as some of my spinal-cord disks are loose and need specialists’ attention. In line with that within the long journey of my career, I had to travel on the most dangerous roads in efforts to rescue girls who would have fallen victim to child marriages in rural Mutoko close to the Mozambican border and this put further strain to my spinal cord.Sadly, I had a miscarriage as result of my unwavering passion as I had just returned from the field in the Gonarezhou area where young girls are engaging in sexual exploitation – but little did I know that I would lose my unborn child. Despite this, I have soldiered on as I cannot do without protecting the rights of vulnerable girls. At one point within the past 9 months, I was under surveillance after exposing how corrupt the justice delivery system in Zimbabwe is. I however reported the matter to the police and this has since ceased. Also, I faced threats from traditional and religious leaders who view my work as a direct violation of their deeply entrenched social norms that continue to perpetuate girl child abuse. Often, girls are reprimanded for attending meetings/Child Rights Clubs activities that myself or my organisation carries out within the grass-roots communities.
CHIRASHA When was ShamwariYeMwanasikana founded and What projects are you partaking currently?
SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA .Shamwari Yemwanasikana (SYS) is a Private Voluntary Organization (PVO32/18) that was founded in 2014 that seeks to promote the rights and empowerment of the girl child in the home, school and community. SYS’s work is centered on advocacy and awareness raising on all forms of abuse that affect the girl child while providing psycho-social support and holistic empowerment through the provision of sexual reproductive health education, HIV and AIDS information, male engagement, sustainable livelihoods building and educational support. SYS has experience in implementing child rights and child safeguarding projects across various geographical locations in Zimbabwe some of the projects include the World Children’s Prize program (from 2015 to date SYS has managed to train over 3000 Child Rights Ambassadors, over 250 Global Child Friendly schools and over 300 Global Friend Teachers). We are also running projects (Peace and Changemaker project, Amplify Change, Canada Grand Challenges, Forum Syd) which have gender-based violence, child marriage and sexual exploitation as cross cutting themes. We also run child participation programs which facilitate for the creation of safe spaces through child rights clubs where students have access to own their voice and discuss rights violations and possible solutions around issues affecting them. In efforts to provide children with leadership platforms, SYS also runs the Girls Rights Movement – a platform where girls are mentored for leadership in various spheres of their lives. One of our flagship programs with relation to climate change and gender is the Borehole Diaries – a platform for discussing Climate Change and Unearthing the Hidden and Complex violation of girls and young women’s Rights in 5 provinces in Zimbabwe namely: Harare Metropolitan Province, Mashonaland East, Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland West. Our current projects are:
NAME OF FUNDER
Grand Challenges Canada
Menstrual health management
Worlds Children’s Prize Foundation
Children’s rights with a special focus on girls’ rights, Gender equality and SDGs
Peace and Change Makers
Children’s and wildlife rights as well as climate issues and SDGs
SRH and youth friendly service provision
Child protection (Girls empowerment center)
HIV and AIDS
COVID-19 Response Activities (Comprehensive Covid 19 Package on wheels (GBV, SRHR &PSS), Covid 19 Cartoons for Children, Covid 19 powerhouse Radio and TV sessions, Reusable Sanitary pads, Face Masks & Sanitizer Production, Posters, stickers and billboards productions)
Males Voices Against Gender Based Violence
CHIRASHA. How do you reach out to Girlchild Communities and What are your success stories?
SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA .We have community clubs dotted around the communities that we operate in. These Dandaro Revasikana clubs are run and led by the girls themselves within their localities. We also have Community Development Committees (CDCs) that we set up to act as watchdogs for all types of abuse that girls go through. These committees work together with other stakeholders in the National Referral Pathway when dealing with such cases. Apart from that, these CDCs also engage in sustainable development projects and these go a long way in supporting girls’ access to education as well as meet other basic needs such as their sanitary wear or nutrition needs. Since its inception, SYS has registered significant achievements including: winning the inaugural Zimbabwe Teen Awards for “Outstanding Teen Organization”; appointment of Founding Director to the 12-member Zimbabwe Anti-domestic Violence Council (ADVC); publication of a book, Silent Cries which is a collection of true stories of abuse; Launch of Men as Role Models, establishment of Dandaro revasikana model, National Girls Jury (Kimberly Fusire is currently the President of the Shamwari Yemwanasikana National Girls Jury as well as WCP’s International Children’s Jury who always acts as the MC for the WCP’s Child Hero awards ceremony , Economic Empowerment Expo launch, Women As Role Models (WARM) launch, we have dealt with over 5000 cases so far and we have implemented he World’s Children’s Prize Programme in over 300 schools in Zimbabwe.
CHIRASHA. How to deal domestic violence, rape and emotional abuse of young women and girls and these are serious challenges within most of our villages, suburbs and farms?
SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA .We have a Girls Protection and Support Services department with dedicated team members that offer psycho-social support to victims of abuse round the clock. They are available to provide a safe haven for girls who would have been abused in whatever setting that they emanate from. They provide escort services when reporting of abuse cases to police, during hospital examinations and court proceedings. They also conduct awareness campaigns in schools and communities (villages, suburbs and farms also included) on prevention and protection of girls and young women from all forms of abuse. This pillar is also centred on establishing and supporting psychosocial support systems and groups for girls and young women. The department even promotes reunification and reintegration with their families.
and society when cases have been resolved.
CHIRASHA. How do you engage and maybe assist girlchild headed families?
SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA .Our Girls Protection and Support Services department primarily engages girl child headed families in ensuring that they get educational support, food, clothing, access to hygiene as well as dignity kits. We make sure that the girls do not engage in nefarious practices that endanger their health or other rights. Our CDCs also make this task easier as they constantly check on the girls’ welfare so as to ensure that we meet their needs.
CHIRASHA. Arts is the greatest medium of communication, education, healing and awareness and are the Arts, Poetry, Short stories, drama and trauma dance convincingly included in your yearly programming?
SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA .Indeed, we have the use of Arts as an advocacy tool initiative where we place much emphasis on the use of arts across all our programs. We have poets, musicians, artists, writers, dancers, actors as well as models among the girls and they have performed before ambassadors as well as UN officials. We also use arts as therapy in our support groups with survivors of abuse. We understand the value of art as a therapeutic tool as well.
CHIRASHA Do you have safe harbors for physically abused persons, Counselling stations for the those sexually abused?
SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA .At the moment we are completing the construction of our One Stop Empowerment Centre (OSEC) for vulnerable girls that will cater for those who face all forms of abuse including those with disabilities. This safe harbor was supposed to have started operation but due to the Covid-19 scourge we had to cease the construction but we have since resumed. This project is supported by the Embassy of Japan in Zimbabwe.
CHIRASHA Are you by any chance in partnership with Zimbabwean Social Welfare Ministry, how do they intervene in your programming?
SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA .Definitely, we partner with the Ministry through the National Referral Pathway system whereby when we handle cases of child abuse, we make referrals to them for other services that they provide. They are crucial especially when we seek birth registry services, carry out awareness campaigns or when we are in need of safe shelters for our girls. Also, since they are our governing ministry through the PVO Act which we are registered under, we provide them with reports every month as well as annually.
MAESTRO EKENIA T CHIFAMBA is a multiple award-winning girls’ rights activist, Anti-Domestic Violence Council Member, Spot Light Initiative Civil Society Reference Group member, Civicus Alliance Membership Advisory Group Member, Motivational Speaker, World`s Children`s Prize Foundation Focal Point in Zimbabwe, Fredrica Nauman Fellow, IVLP Fellow, Philanthropist and also the Founding Director of Shamwari Yemwanasikana. Locally, she is the GBV cluster lead for the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, Chairperson of the Child Rights Sector at National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) Zimbabwe Northern Region, member of the Steering Committees of Girls Not Brides Zimbabwe and Men Engage Zimbabwe as well as Secretary of the Child Rights Coalition convened by Zimbabwe National Council on the Welfare of the Child (ZNCWC).On a global scale, she was invited to facilitate a workshop at the 2nd World Conference on Women`s Shelters, a platform meant to end violence against women and girls worldwide, held in the United States of America, Washington DC in February 2012. Three years later, she was also invited as speaker at the 3rd World Conference on Women’s Shelters held in Netherlands, The Hague in November 2015 and spoke on Sexual Violence. All these engagements have made an impact as lessons learnt are now in use across the globe. In light of this, her efforts have been recognized locally and internationally through the following awards to buttress her scope of work:
-Awarded Social Entrepreneur award by Women in Commerce (WECA Awards) 2018
-Awarded by TOYP for being amongst 10 outstanding young persons in Zimbabwe 2019
-Named 2nd out of 10 health champions in Zimbabwe for championing SRH with girls by health times
-Awarded by Pro-Web Women Achievers awards for:Community champion,Outstanding woman and role model
- Nominated amongst 100 Great Zimbabweans and awarded for Civil Activism 2017
- Nominated Phenomenal African Woman 2017
- Awarded by Zimbabwe Teen Awards for Teen Development in 2017
- Nominated for the Giraffe Hero Awards and featured in September 2016 article
- Focal point for the World’s Children’s Prize Programme on Children’s Rights in Zimbabwe done in 400 schools promoting children’s rights focusing on education, child marriages, trafficking and sexual abuse.
-Awarded for placing the child in the centre at the Focal Points Seminar at the World`s Children`s Prize Foundation in Sweden October 2014
-Awarded certificate of leadership by Girl Child Network in 2011.
MEET THE Chronicler , Author and eDitor
MBIZO CHIRASHA, Chronicler at Africa Writers Caravan. Founder and Author of the Time of the Poet. UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist. Featured Poetry Artist at WorldBeyondWar.Org. Freedom of Speech Fellow to PEN- Zentrum Deutschland,Germany..Literary Arts Activism Diplomatie 2020 Poet in Residence at the Fictional Café (International publishing and literary digital space). 2019 Sotambe Festival Live Literature Hub and Poetry Café Curator. 2019 African Fellow for the International Human Rights Art Festival( ihraf.org) , Essays Contributor to Monk Art and Soul Magazine in United Kingdom .Arts Features Writer at the International Cultural Weekly .His Profiles , Interview and Poems are featured on poesis.si ,in Slovenia. Founder and Chief Editor of WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS. Founder and Curator of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal. Co-Editor of Street Voices Poetry triluangal collection( English , African Languages and Germany) intiated by Andreas Weiland in Germany. Poetry Contributor to AtunisPoetry.com in Belgium. African Contributor to DemerPress International Poetry Book Series in Netherlands. African Contributor to the World Poetry Almanac Poetry Series in Mongolia. His latest 2019 collection of experimental poetry A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT was released by Mwanaka Media and Publishing and is both in print, on Amazon.com and at is featured at African Books Collective. Mbizo Chirasha is the Originator of the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign. Founder and Creative Director of Girl Child Talent Festival and GirlChildCreativity Project. 2003 Young Literary Arts Delegate to the Goteborg International Book Fair Sweden (SIDA AFRICAN PAVILION) .2009 Poet in Residence of the International Conference of African Culture and Development (ICACD) in Ghana.The Vice President of Poetsof the WORLD,poetasdelmundo.com ,African Region. Global Peace Chain Ambassador. 2009 Fellow to the inaugural UNESCO- Africa Photo- Novel Publishers and Writers Training in Tanzania. 2015 Artist in Residence of the Shunguna Mutitima International Film and Arts Festival in Livingstone, Zambia. A globally certified literary arts influencer, Writer in Residence and Recipient of the EU-Horn of Africa Defend Defenders Protection Fund Grant, Recipient of the Pen Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant. He is an Arts for Peace and Human Rights Catalyst, the Literary Arts Projects Curator, Poet, Writer, publicist is published in more 420 spaces in print and online.