Since this program’s inception in 2018, WAP has trained five intelligent, tough-minded girls to serve as “Ambassadors Against Child Marriage.” The girls received rigorous training in child marriage, child rights, reproductive health, and mentoring. They haven then worked to take their message to their communities, where they counsel vulnerable girls and alert WAP to cases of abuse or imminent marriage.
Once the model has been tested, we will double the number of ambassadors every year. Parallel to this, we will promote its approach with the Zimbabwe authorities, through international partners like Girls Not Brides (of which WAP is a member), and even in American schools. Our hope is that peer support can become accepted strategy within 5 years.
Meet our Ambassadors below:
Ashley Mavengere, WAP Ambassador from Waterfalls
Ashley lives in Waterfalls, a neighborhood of Harare where the Women Advocacy Project (WAP) works. “When we had a seminar with WAP, I learned about child marriage and what it does to girls’ futures. No matter how bad the situation is – now I wouldn’t think about getting married” she says. “I couldn’t stand up for myself as a girl. I didn’t know my rights as a girl. I couldn’t open up and tell someone about my situation. Now I have the confidence to speak out.”
Yeukai Chingindi, WAP Ambassador from Waterfalls
Yeukai is in Form 6 and has been participating in the Women Advocacy Project (WAP) programs for over a year. “When I grow up, I want to be a human rights lawyer,” she told WAP. “I want to stand for women and for people with disabilities and albinism. Sometimes when I talk about injustice, people say ‘well that’s the way the world is,’ but I think no. Maybe I’m crazy, but I want to stand for justice.”
Trish Makanhiwa, WAP Ambassador from Epworth
Eighteen-year-old Trish lives in Epworth, a neighborhood in Harare where the Women Advocacy Project (WAP) works. She’s currently in Form 6 and hopes to one day become an accountant. In school, she is studying the relevant subjects: accounts, business studies, and economics. When Trish was younger, she lived in a rural village and had a boyfriend. “When I moved here, my Auntie grabbed me by the ears and warned me of boys saying, ‘This is Harare.’ Now, I have no boyfriend.”
Eveylene Said Sachiti, WAP Ambassador from Chitungwiza
Nineteen-year-old Eveylene lives in Chitungwiza, a suburb of Harare where the Women Advocacy Project (WAP) works. She completed her Ordinary Level Exam last year but did not collect the results because she could not afford the $295 fee. Eveylene was studying Shona, Literature, and History and hopes to one day study Sociology at University. “I am interested in studying society and how we can help people in the community,” she told WAP. Eveylene has attended WAP’s “Stand Up, Speak Out” anti-child marriage trainings and has also participated in WAP’s recent “Give Us Books, Not Husbands” march. “WAP’s programs are important because of the knowledge you have gained. When I talk to 15-year-olds who are pregnant, I feel bad, because I know they will face challenges,” Eveylene says. She has taken WAP’s call for girls to be ambassadors for change in their own communities to heart and says that she now talks to her friends about the dangers associated with early marriage. “We need to be educated as girls. We need to know that early child marriage causes poverty because of a lack of education.” Eveylene also has a strong vision for her own future, “I’ll only get married when I have completed university and I have worked. I want to be independent first.”