The economic decline in Zimbabwe between 2008 and 2009 escalated the unemployment rates which resulted in people like Peter Kufahakutizwi from Mafararikwa Village to resort to cross border trading. It was his only way to escape from poverty and support his family as he felt it was safer for him to indulge in such business than his wife. Getting in contact with high risk sexual networks within the cross border business calls for men who are strong and well responsible, and Peter almost found himself trapped between pleasure and family responsibilities. The 2013 gender perspective to multiple sexual partners indicated relatively high-risk behaviour on the part of male respondents than females, with only nine percent of women having two or more sexual partners compared to 19 percent of men, hence Peter was at risk too.
He used to work hard for his family until he was swept with the usual currents engulfing most of the cross border traders. When a man is cheating, it is never difficult to tell as related with most women with their cheating husbands. Peter used to physically abuse his wife and left her with little or no money to support the family. ‘’My situation was getting worse as sometimes l used to bribe the village head and police so that I wouldn’t get arrested,’’ he narrated. He hated it as he further confessed that he almost tarnished his name in the community because his violence was spreading, it was no longer domestic but he was going to the extent of inflicting violence on some of his villagers too.
Community gender norms transformation programme
IRISH AID Community Gender Norms Transformation programme trains representatives within communities to address issues of gender-based violence (GBV), HIV and harmful and cultural practises that perpetuate the abuse of women and girls. Peter was on the verge of being lost forever when the SAfAIDS IRISH Aid programme was eventually introduced in his community. It was the village head and other community members who encouraged Peter to join because they were hoping for his positive transformation.
“Lessons imparted on HIV and GBV became an eye opener to me, I began to regret the bad things l used to do to my family. The IRISH AID programme taught me the importance of a family and how being a good husband is like. I no longer sneak out of the house without telling my wife and family about my whereabouts. A good and a happy family is built with trust and communication.’’
My work in the community
‘’My community is surprised with my sudden transformation such that each time I call for my weekly sessions people come in their numbers. I am happy that men in my community usually come for one-on-one sessions because they have so many questions especially on personal and domestic affairs. Because DOMCCP has taught us about ISALs and pass-on projects, I have managed to implement such an idea in my community and we are embarking on an irrigation project which we are still gathering our financial resources for.’’
The SAfAIDS Irish Aid programme has greatly transformed so many families on issues of gender-based violence and promoting economic sustainability through practise of livelihood programmes. Peter has finally abandoned the cross border life and decided to be economically empowered through the ISALS and pass-on projects.