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From 16 to 365

The time has come again when we embark on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence and MUSASA as an organisation will be hosting a GBV Conference in Harare, Zimbabwe on the 13th and the 14th of December. We will get to meet with the partners we have been working with in the GBV area, providers of medical, legal and psychosocial services for survivors of rape, domestic violence and other forms of gender based violence. The conference will give us an opportunity to reflect on lessons learnt, challenges faced and experiences in GBV programming in various thematic areas such as health, legal services, economic empowerment, prisons and rehabilitation to name a few so as to to discuss and commit ourselves to better programming strategies as well as highlight priorities for the coming year.

In addition to thematic group work there will be presentations from key guests such as the Minister of Women's Affairs, the Organ for National Healing, The Joint Monitorinng and Implementation Committee of the Government of National Unity, Regional experts in GBV programming as well as feedback from thematic groups to address the gaps that are challenging service providers.In light of the international theme Musasa which primarily works with survivors of Domestic Violence in the past years has opened its doors to female survivors of Politically Motivated Rape and Violence. Some have come seeking shelter and some seek psychosocial support with harrowing stories that leave you cold and clammy. With that in mind the main concern is how do we help the women whose stories have not been told, how do we aid the healing process and with the iminence of elections next year how do we create safe spaces for women in the event that violence flares up as it did in the 2008 election period? Will those affected be able to report the cases to the police and have action taken against the perpetrators of such violence in a context where political violence is still shrouded in silence and fear. We hope that such issues will be addressed and that we will have everyone's commitment to ensure that 2012 is a safer year for women in Zimbabwe.

So the 16 days have been launched and at their end we will be relaunching 365 Days of Activism because every day that we are aware of the cause is a day closer to realising MDG 3.

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