Sporting a lime green t shirt and a khaki SIRP hat, a man walks briskly on a footpath in Ntanye Village. Behind him, wearing a blue dress is a woman carrying a black SIRP bag. The two are gender champions, Zekias Sibindi and Sihle Sibanda of Ntanye and other surrounding villages in Gwanda.
The two received training on the Gender Action Learning Systems from the Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme in 2021. The gender champions said they had engaged over 100 couples in Ntanye and other surrounding villages under Chief Nhlamba of Gwanda.
When carrying out their counselling sessions, Mr Sibindi indicated that they first approach the homestead owner, who is often a man, to seek his permission before engaging the couple. This was followed by engagement of the couple by the gender champions in pairs. After engaging the couple, a number of times and after observing some positive changes in the relations of the couple, the pair of champions would move to the next couple.
However, in engaging the next couple, the champions would invite the reformed couple to accompany them on their next mission where they would give their testimony. The gender champions said they often sensitized communities about their work during village meetings. After such engagements community members often approached the champions for assistance.