Anything for us without us is not for us - Child Marriage is a human rights violation (Part 2)

    Africa Women Filmmakers Trust (AWFT) is registered in Zimbabwe as a Trust and as an Arts Organization with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe. AWFT is one of the organizations that pioneered the use of participatory video in development communication in Zimbabwe during the 1990’s. AWFT’s work is inspired by Don Snowden who was among the first to experiment with participatory video as a tool to facilitate dialogue and social change. This “people centred communication” approach enables individuals and communities to understand, reflect and confront their own situation and lived realities, needs, visions and builds a sense of collectiveness, openness up dialogue between the communities and the authorities. AWFT is promoting the use of videos produced using the participatory approach to engage with children in an interactive way meant to impact life skills to enable them to make informed safe choices, live healthy life styles and end child marriages. The project is supported by the Canadian Embassy-CFLI and is being implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (Zimbabwe).


    This project was inspired by the understanding that children in Zimbabwe are at risk of SGBV that results in Child Marriages. These children often lack understanding and knowledge that there rights are being violated when they are subjected to specific acts of SGBV, which sometimes results in pregnancy leading to early or forced marriage occur. Children with disabilities are at an even greater risk since they are often isolated and are usually dependent on others in their day to day activities. These children are therefore generally compromised. This inspired this project to translate the video series into Zimbabwe Sign Language for the benefit of children with hearing impairment. The Tonga and Ndebele versions are a recognition that, sometimes, messages are better understood in ones local language. This is meant to ensure that children speaking minority languages are not discriminated. It also complies with the Constitution of Zimbabwe which officially recognizes these indigenous languages and forbids discrimination based on language. AWFT will be translating the series into the remaining Zimbabwean official indigenous languages in the near future when funds permit.


    To achieve this ambitious goal of engaging students in a participatory/interactive way using video, a teacher’s guide with the title, Let them Bloom was produced for use with the video films was produced for use by teachers in both Primary and Secondary Schools in Zimbabwe. This is meant to help teachers provide children with skills that will help them to understand that Child Marriages is a form of Sexual Gender Based Violence that infringes on their rights as stipulated in the International, Regional protocols and declarations of which Zimbabwe is a signatory. The Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013) has a human rights approach and child marriage is seen as a violation of the rights of children. This guide will assist teachers to provide learners with life skills that will help children to identify GBV and SGBV acts that sometimes result in Child Marriages with the aim of ensuring that both girls and boys attain their full potential.

    Organization of the Manual

    The guide, is meant to inform the teacher regards the International, Regional, declarations and protocols on the rights of the Child. It goes further to explain the Zimbabwe National Laws that focus on children rights regards early and forced marriages. This will enable the teacher to conduct the facilitated discussions and respond to questions that may be raised by the leaner’s in the process. The teacher’s will therefore be empowered and motivated to engage learners on this subject because they will be well informed.

    The second part of the guide focuses on the core skills. It helps teachers to understand how they can use videos produced using the participatory approach to engage with the learners (children). Discussions, which follow after the screening of a video film will be broken down into lesson plans and activities. It is expected that when the children go through these exercises, activities and participatory dialogues, they will develop the necessary skills to empower them and ensure that they are not sexually violated and in the case of abuse, they are aware of steps to take to have the situation addressed. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the children are empowered hence remain in school and achieve their full potential.

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Our Mission

Africa Women Filmmakers Trust works to advance gender equality and justice through the use of information and communication technologies by facilitating
content production and dissemination that supports girls, women and disadvantaged communities to take informed choices.