Students And Youth Working on reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) joins the globe in commemorating Zero Discrimination Day, a day that is celebrated world over with the aim of promoting equality before the law and in practice throughout all member countries of the United Nations.
The day, which was first celebrated on March 1, 2014 was particularly noted by UNAIDS where it accentuated on combating discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS as well as the prevention of discrimination from standing in the way of achieving ambitions, goals and dreams.
For SAYWHAT, Zero Discrimination Day highlights the urgent need to continuously take action in ending any form of inequalities that might persist within tertiary institutions as well as other spaces in our communities. This also comes as an opportunity to emphasize the urgent need for society to stop stigmatising those infected by COVID-19 as such treatment can negatively affect them as well as their caregivers, family, friends and communities. Stigma and discrimination are stumbling blocks to ensuring access to essential services. Thus openness and acceptance becomes key to achieving fairness.
SAYWHAT also sees Zero Discrimination Day as an opportunity to demonstrate how everyone can be a part of an equitable and just society which brings about a bright and inclusive future. As we conduct our work with students and young people, we are ever aiming at achieving inclusive education for all on health matters as well as child protection issues.
As we commemorate the day under the theme, “Zero Discrimination against Women and Girls,” we take pride in the efforts we have made through our female students movement – Web for Life Network – in rolling out programs that foster care, acceptability and a sense of belonging to all young women across the Southern African region. The Web for Life Network believes an empowered woman starts from within, going outward to change societal hinges on discrimination hence leading to achieving discrimination free societies.
While we applaud Government for having ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1991, review of the country’s legal systems as well as establishing institutions that protect women still needs to be done in order to end discrimination against women. We also acknowledge that Government cannot do it alone, hence the need to have collective efforts from various stakeholders including international agencies, civil society organizations, unions and student movements.
A Zero Discrimination society is possible, it begins with you and me!