On Monday, women across the globe celebrated the International Women’s Day (IWD).
The 2021 theme is ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.’
This year’s commemorations come at a time women and girls face numerous challenges as a result of the novel Covid-19 pandemic, which has halted lives across the globe. As we celebrate women’s month, The Herald spoke to Shamwari YeMwanasikana Founding Director Ekenia Chifamba.
A girls’ rights activist, her organisation addresses the concerns of girls and protects them from all issues that have the potential to destroy dreams, hopes and full development.
Chifamba said this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations come at an unusual time when countries are starting to recover from the global pandemic.
“For women and girls globally, 2020 has been a difficult year that reminded us on the long-standing injustices that have continued to work against women’s total emancipation and empowerment,” she said.
“For centuries, women and girls have continued to struggle against deep-rooted economic, social, religious and cultural barriers that prevent them from assuming position of leadership and decision-making.”
Chifamba added that recovering from the pandemic, there is need to break deep-rooted injustices against women.
These injustices, she said, continue to prevent women from assuming positions of leadership and decision-making.
“Our call to every Zimbabwean woman during this period is to embrace the theme and move to action as ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 World.
“We also call upon the creation of encouraging environments that promote and support equitable distribution of power and resources as a nation moving towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal number 5 on Gender Equality,” she said.
She added that the time to bridge the widening gap between women and men who live in poverty as never been better than now.
“As women, we continue to call for inclusive leadership that leads to peaceful societies, good governance and stronger democracies. For 2021 we #ChoosetoChallenge barriers to leaderships positions,” she said.
Chifamba is a member of the Anti-Domestic Violence Council, Spotlight Initiative Civil Society Reference Group member and former CIVICUS Alliance Membership Advisory Group member.
She is a board member for KFM Zimbabwe, Perfection Media and a Trustee for SAAPA Zimbabwe.
She is also a member of the Executive Women’s Association and Secretary for NANGO Northern Region where she also leads the Child Rights Sector.
A motivational speaker, Chifamba is also a mentor to several young upcoming leaders.
She is a World’s Children’s Prize Foundation Focal Point in Zimbabwe, Fredrica Nauman Fellow, IVLP Fellow (USA).
Chifamba’s, civil development work background is premised on experience that she gained having worked for several years as a girl child advocate steering girl child empowerment programmes at a well renowned girls’ rights organisation.
Apart from being a champion of girls and women’s rights, she is a qualified and experienced administrator and banker who worked for several years at ZB Bank.
Some of her accolades and recognition consist of nomination amongst the 40 Great Zimbabweans and Zimbabwe’s Outstanding Women. She was also awarded the Outstanding Women’s Rights Defender by ZC News Community Awards.
Chifamba was also honoured by TOYP for being part of the “Ten Outstanding Young Persons in Zimbabwe” for contributing to children, world peace and human rights.
She was also awarded by Proweb for the Women Achievers Awards in the following categories: Outstanding Woman, Community Champion and Role Model.
Named a second out of 10 Health Champions in Zimbabwe for championing sexual and reproductive and health rights (SRHR) with girls by Health Times, she also received recognition for Social Entrepreneurship Award from the National Chamber Commerce-Women’s Desk.
Chifamba was also nominated and featured by PAW Foundation in September 2017 as one of the 10 Phenomenal African Women touching lives in communities.
She was nominated as one of the 100 Great Zimbabweans and awarded for her efforts in civil activism. She was also awarded by the Zimbabwe Teen Awards for Teen Development in March 2017.
Prior to that, she was a Giraffe Hero in October 2016.
She also received recognition at the “Award Ceremony for Outstanding Men and Women Fighting for Children’s Rights” in Sweden, and was awarded for placing the child at the centre at the World’s Children’s Prize Foundation in 2014.