Workplace training manual on violence and sexual harassment is launched in Zimbabwe

A training manual was developed under the Spotlight Initiative which gives guidance on workplace policy, programme development and implementation to end workplace violence and harassment. It seeks to address its drivers, strengthen preventative responses, and support reporting mechanisms as well as outline the role of gender champions.

News | 28 September 2023
ILO News (Harare) The launch of the ”Training manual for policy development and programme implementation addressing gender-based violence and sexual harassment in the Workplace,” marked a key milestone in Zimbabwe’s journey towards ending of violence and harassment in the workplace.

Sexual harassment is one of the most common yet unacknowledged and serious human rights violations in the world of work. A survey report by Industrial Psychology Consultants (2018) titled, “Sexual Harassment in Zimbabwean Workplaces,” revealed that sexual harassment was rife in Zimbabwe’s workplaces with 14% of persons surveyed giving an account of having been sexually harassed in their workplaces

The Manual was developed to provide guidance to the world of work stakeholders to develop standardized policies, education and awareness programmes to eliminate violence and harassment. It also guides on in-house support systems such as the training of workplace gender champions, general scaling-up of responses and preventive measures by the tripartite and other stakeholders, as well as maintain standards at national, sectoral and enterprise levels.

“Violence and harassment in the world of work is a violation of human rights. Everyone is entitled to work in a place where they are and feel safe. Workers’ and human rights lie at the core of the Agenda 2030 and if we are going to realize the SDGs in a way that leaves no-one behind, such rights and obligations must be met. ‘’Violence and harassment undermine the attainment of decent work and affects not only social relationships in the workplace, but also negatively impacts productivity and the career trajectory of the victim,” remarked Annamarie Kiaga, ILO Officer-in-Charge, at the launch.

Speaking at the launch, Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe, Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission said that the training manual followed the development of the Strategy on violence and sexual harassment at the workplace in 2021 and was a consultative process involving labour, employers and government.

“The Strategy was formulated in line with the ILO Convention on Ending Violence and Harassment at the Workplace, (No.190) and Recommendation (No. 206), 2019. These instruments recognize that violence and sexual harassment in the world of work constitute a human rights violation or abuse which pose a threat to equal opportunities, hence is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work aspirations,” said the Chairperson.

The launch was concluded with representatives from labour, employers and government pledging their commitment to roll-out training and sensitization programmes on workplace sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and to support the process towards ratification of Convention No. 190.

The training manual is an output of the EU funded Spotlight Initiative in Zimbabwe implemented by UNDP, UN Women, UNFPA, UNESCO, UNICEF, and the ILO. The main vision of the Spotlight Initiative is that women and girls realize their full potential in a violence-free, gender-responsive and inclusive Zimbabwe. This Country Programme for Zimbabwe uses a multi-sectoral, multi-layered, interlinked, community-centred approach to implement the interventions.

The Initiative directly contributes to Zimbabwe’s achievement of two of the country’s prioritized Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 3 and SDG 5. The ILO’s contribution spreads across United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) Pillars 3, 4, and 6 and is multi-pronged.

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