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Statement on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

“One of the keys to ending child poverty is addressing poverty in the household, from which it often stems. Access to quality social services must be a priority.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Women`s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) joins the United Nations, vulnerable communities and most particularly, women around the world in commemorating the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This year’s celebration is themed: Acting together to empower Children, their families and Communities to End Poverty.

In  Zimbabwe, the deterioration of the economic situation has impacted negatively on the quality of life.  According to the Borgen Report, 72% of the country’s population now lives in chronic poverty, and 84 percent of Zimbabwe’s poor live in rural areas. The adverse effects of poverty are heavily impacting on rural women and natural disasters such as drought have affected yields, this has highly contributed to the rise in a number of households living in acute poverty.

Poverty is not only an economic issue, but rather a multidimensional phenomenon that encompasses a lack of both income and the basic capabilities to live in dignity. Malnutrition and limited access to healthcare have also increased the mortality rate countrywide. The ongoing doctors strike has also made it more difficult for the population to access medical treatment. Unsafe housing in urban areas as noted in cases of Burombo flats in Bulawayo and Epworth in Harare whose residents are mainly women and children are glaring signs of increased poverty in the country.

There is also an increase in the number of vendors as a result of the economic crunch with children who accompany their mothers to vend being exposed to health hazards in light of the heavily littered streets. Women who have the sole responsibility as child minders and care givers continue to bear the brunt of such a scenario.

Poverty Reduction Forum Trust (PRFT), a consumer rights watchdog, says during the month of July, an average family of six needed at least Z$1 684,45 to sufficiently source food and non-food items. With month-on-month (MOM) inflation averaging 17% since February 2019, the family basket could now be over Z$2 300 per month.

The constitution of Zimbabwe Section 77 clearly states that every person has a right to safe, clean, potable water, sufficient food, Section 28 alludes to access to shelter and the state MUST take reasonable legislative and other measures to achieve progressive realisation of this right. Section 30 further states that the state must take all practical measures to provide social security and social care for those who are in need. All these allude to ensuring the people of Zimbabwe lead dignified lives if ever eradication of poverty is to be achieved hence Government of Zimbabwe must fulfill their constitutional obligations by ensuring that all citizens have adequate access to food, shelter and water.

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