My Health, My Dignity Campaign is an initiative which seeks to advocate for the provision of free or subsidized sanitary pads for school going girls. The Campaign is informed by various researches conducted by different stakeholders who found out among other things that 72% of rural primary school girls do not use sanitary pads in Zimbabwe and also that 20% of them do not attend school during their menstrual periods. According to UNESCO, 1 in 10 girls in Africa will miss school during their period and eventually drop out of school.
Launched during 2016 edition of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence the campaign is an on-going initiative until the broad goals of the campaign are met.
Menstruation: The lived realities of young rural girls
As part of the campaign, two online discussions trending with the Hashtags #FreeSanitaryPads and #MyDignity were held. A documentary featuring the lived experiences of girls and women on the extent and effects of lack of access to sanitary wear was also produced.
Discussions with stakeholders, affected and interested parties are currently underway towards the consolidation of a clear position paper that describes our goals and expectations we have in addressing the menstrual health challenges facing school going girls. Targeted government departments that include the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committees come into play.
Information access and dissemination on key issues affecting community’s particularly rural communities is never readily available and the campaign’s major thrust to amplify the massage and raise awareness to all the vulnerable and affected communities on the importance of providing free sanitary pads to school girls. Awareness raising is one of the determinant factors towards the success of the campaign and as such, the organisation will engage various opinion setters and a Campaign Ambassador comprised of celebrities, politicians, think-tanks and business people to hammer on the matter and educate the communities.
Gender equality and equity is achievable only if young men and women, girls and boys are given the opportunity to grow in a healthy environment so that they can be able to reach out to their maximum potential. The sanitary pads Campaign is one such campaign that seeks to address inequality between men and women from a primary and personal level and its only achievable through collaborative brilliance.
The development of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms is a Pan-African initiative to promote human rights standards and principles of openness in internet policy formulation and implementation on the continent. The Declaration is intended to elaborate on the principles which are necessary to uphold human and people’s rights on the internet, and to cultivate an internet environment that can best meet Africa’s social and economic development needs and goals.
The Declaration builds on well-established African human rights documents including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 1981, the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press of 1991, the African Charter on Broadcasting of 2001, the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa of 2002, and the African Platform on Access to Information Declaration of 2011.
The African Declaration recognizes continent specific elements such as Africa’s linguistic and cultural diversity with a call for the protection, respect and promotion of African languages on the internet.
ORGANIZING 4 ZIMBABWE calls for broad multi stakeholder endorsement of the Declaration noting that the internet is not the preserve of the technology sector. It also calls upon African governments to initiate public consultations towards mutli-stakeholder driven policies and practices related to internet governance in their countries.
To this end, Organizing 4 Zimbabwe is working with other like-minded institutions on the continent and beyond in encouraging fellow Africans to endorse the Declaration, as we believe this is key to the wholesome development of African nations and its peoples.
Social media has greatly changed the media environment by allowing spontaneous and timeous dissemination of information, granting people voices to express themselves, share views, opinions, pictures and connect regardless of geographical areas. Social Media also allows for a two way communication, where readers can easily give feedback to the content originators, unlike the traditional media, where communication is a one-way process.
This sudden change of the media terrain is key, especially for the civil society and social movements, as, unlike before, activists and the ordinary citizens now have the ability to act and enact change within their own communities through use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ amongst many others.
Through these platforms, citizens and community activists can have their voice on issues that are important to them heard, defend and safeguard their rights, have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their lives, thereby amplifying advocacy efforts by potentially reaching more people, in more places, faster than ever before.
In Zimbabwe, however, the use of social media has been mainly limited to connecting with friends and family, with limited use for of the platforms for social change. As the governemnet has not yet banned the use of social media in the country, there lies a big opportunity for activists and the general citizenry to use these platforms to effect change as they demand.
Where activists have tried to use social media for social change, there has been very little success due to lack of the necessary skills to effectively use these brilliant platforms, since effective social media for social change is different from everyday updating of social media statuses.
The Digital Media and ICTs present an alternative space for citizens to share inform, communicate while also providing virtual spaces for educational development. However, a significant number of our citizens do not have the knowledge and capacity to effectively take advantage of the growth in significance of the cyberspace in national and global development.
O4Z is currently running a number of initiatives to help develop the capacities of citizens so that they are better able to make effective use of digital media and ICTs in developing themselves and their communities. Lots of opportunities are abound in advancing business, health, education, environmental protection and the advancement of basic rights and fundamental freedoms using the digital media and ICTs.
Internet for Every Home Documentary
You can also go through the Working Document on Youth Manifesto