Covid-19 Derails Fight for Women’s Rights – JASS

Singini- We need to intensify digital means to safeguard women's rights Singini- We need to intensify digital means to safeguard women's rights - pic by Steve Kalungwe

An international women's rights body, JUST ASSOCIATES (JASS) has expressed concern over the limited delivery of messages meant to counter gender-based violence due to Covid-19 public gathering restrictions.

JASS Country Coordinator, Sibongile Chibwe Singini, says with social distancing measures taken to limit the spread of Covid- 19 pandemic, a lot of messages meant for women rights uplifting are being shelved.

"We have lost the ability to meet our members face to face as planned. There are some meetings or trainings that require physical meeting but we cannot meet more than 30 people and yet our membership is over one million," says Singini.

She further says that in districts where cases of Covid-19 are high, women rights are being limited since activists are unable to travel with advocacy messages and this is resulting in a surge of gender-based violence.

JASS is, however, optimistic that its national coordinators spread across the country will still influence change as new models of communication have been developed.

The organization has also provided smart phones with monthly airtime allocation to ease communication challenges.

"We have created virtual means of communication such as Zoom and WhatsApp groups for the National Coordinating Committee to create safe space for our members to share issues affecting them," she said.

During this period of Covid-19, the association is sending messages of hope to commercial sex workers and other women since most women have a lot of anxieties and on the importance of going to hospitals when they notice signs and symptoms of any illness.

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