"We do not want violence in our homes." A woman holds up a sign during the International Day of Peace Commemorations. VIolence against women and girls increased during COVID-19 related lockdown restrictions.

The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has called for deliberate efforts towards peace and cohesion to aid the recovery from the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

The NPRC, together with various organisations working to promote peace, gathered virtually to join the world to commemorate the International Day of Peace. The global theme for this year, “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable World”, inspired creative and collective thinking about how to help everyone recover better, how to build resilience, and how to transform our world into one that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier.

Drawing from this, the peace and reconciliation commission tailored the theme for the Zimbabwean context and sought to bring a focus on the post-recovery initiatives: “Building Back Better in the Aftermath of Covid 19: Pathways for Peace”. This was inspired by the work and experiences during and post the numerous waves of the pandemic in the country.

Speaking during the symposium, Ms. Tafadzwa Muvingi delivering the keynote address on behalf of the UNDP Resident Representative (a.i), noted that the impact of COVID-19 had mostly been profiled as a public health crisis but is also a governance crisis as much as it is humanitarian.

“The pandemic has tested the resilience of governance systems and public sector institutions to adapt, function, and innovate in the delivery of their public services,” she added.

Ms. Monoja reminded the need for a “multi-dimensional view to address all dimensions of governance, social and economic fragility in order to build resilient systems that can withstand shocks.”

Adding to this, the Director of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO), Mr. Leonard Mandishara noted that during the pandemic, women, youth, and children had been further exposed to abuses and that the fractured society needed healing more than ever before.

“Our dream is to bequeath a peaceful Zimbabwe to the next generation and be accounted for as the generation that left an indelible mark of peace that will not be erased,” Mr. Mandishora concluded.

Other presentations during the symposium addressed key areas of concern such as vaccine inequity; regression in the attainment of SDGs; exclusion of young people in many initiatives; and higher debt vulnerabilities and insufficient debt-relief measures for low to middle income countries.

The Peace Day commemorations were headlined by a peace concert by some of the country’s artists that drew in Zimbabwean’s from across the world.

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