July 22, 2020

Spare a thought for vulnerable groups: Zim’s First Lady

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Kimberleigh Jiro

Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Auxilia Mnangagwa who is also the Vice President of the organization of African First Ladies for development (OAFLAD) has carried out humanitarian projects to assist the less privileged during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Speaking in an OAFLAD zoom meeting on the health and socio-economic impact of Covid-19 on achieving universal health coverage, she voiced her concerns on the negative impact brought about by the pandemic such as loss of jobs, affected response to malaria, HIV and TB among other diseases and gender based violence. 

She also spoke about the humanitarian projects she has carried out saying, “I have been moving to the rural and hard-to-reach areas in the country donating food baskets to alleviate hunger. I am helping communities set up ‘grandma’s or ambuya’s garden’, where they can grow fresh vegetables that can be used to improve their nutritional status.”

She added that she has been advocating against sexual and gender based violence (GBV) to protect mothers, children and young girls who are mostly at risk. “In my interactions with the vulnerable community and the elderly I have been advocating against gender based violence which has increased during the period of Covid-19 lockdown.  

“I have also roped in traditional chiefs and religious leaders to be strong advocates against gender based violence,” she said. 

The First Lady also said she has enhanced education in the rural communities and is preparing them for this pandemic through awareness programmes, educating them on practicing hand hygiene, social distancing, cough etiquette and use of face masks.

“I have capacitated the elderly in the communities who will be health ambassadors who will raise awareness about Covid-19 symptoms and what to do when someone is ill or has died,” she said. 

Through her Angel of Hope Foundation, the first lady has made a number of donations to vulnerable groups in the country since the beginning of the pandemic when she donated portable bathrooms, toilets and sanitisers.

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