Women’s History Month: Dr Hellen Venganai celebrates gender and human’s rights activist Nyari Mashayamombe

Dr Hellen Venganai

The month of March is International Women’s Month and women across the globe are celebrating the month as well as each other in various forms. 

Child rights and gender equality activist, Dr Hellen Venganai took time to celebrate Nyari Mashayamombe among a few other women who are making remarkable strides in leadership in Zimbabwe and beyond. The Facebook posts celebrate the women’s great work, what they have achieved in their line of work as well as appreciate them on a personal level. 

Nyaradzo Mashayamombe is the Founder and Executive director of Tag a Life International (TaLI), a non-governmental organization that aims to advance the rights of the girl child and women in vulnerable situations. She is also  the CEO of Identities Media Holdings as well as the host and executive producer of Identities Umhlobo, Identities Conversations and many other talk shows. 

In a heartfelt Facebook message ,Dr Venganai outlined a few of the achievements TaLI has accomplished over the years,her mark in the media industry and her amazing personality. 

See below the Facebook post dedication for Nyari Mashayamombe :

“The # 13th woman I am celebrating is Nyari Teurai Mashayamombe. She is someone I have known for years and have watched her in action firstly as a musician and later a bold, fierce and passionate human rights, women and child activist. Nyari is the Founder and Executive Director for Tag-a-life International (TaLi) which has been advancing the rights of girls, women and children. She has accomplished many achievements through TaLi but will just mention a few. In 2017, through TaLi, she initiated the #EveryChildInSchool #ECIS campaign to push for accessible and affordable education for learners from poor households. I remember being in the first meeting representing my own organisation, Mambure. The first advocacy issue was to push for the ministry of primary and secondary education to release a circular which would bar schools from chasing away children for non-payment of fees since this violates their right to education. This circular was eventually released. The #ECIS movement grew as it saw more than 200 partner organisations joining in the campaign. The movement then successfully campaigned for state funded basic education, which led to the amendment of the Education Act in 2020. The campaign received commendable support from the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee responsible for primary and secondary education. I remember attending some of the meetings with this committee. 

When ZIMSEC announced exorbitant exam fees, TaLi through ECIS successfully petitioned the government to reduce the fees and to meet the other cost thereby reducing the financial burden on parents. This lady is no push-over. I recall one time when we went to meet the Minister of Primary and Secondary education to speak about the #ECIS campaign and he dismissed us as if we had not set an appointment. Nyari would not take it and later reached out to the minister to complain about how he had treated us, and he was forced to apologise 😃. Because of Nyari’s persistence, they later found common ground with the minister and he warmed up to the goals of #ECIS 👏👏👏.

Again through TaLi, in 2018 she launched the Leadership, Economic and Mentorship Hubs (LEMHs) for young women at University of Zimbabwe with support from HigherLife Foundation. She invited me to this important event. Every year the LEMHs programme benefits at least 20 young women who are trained in leadership and economic issues. In December 2020, TaLi hosted a 10 day leadership training boot camp in Marondera which trained young women on SRHR, climate change, leadership, human rights and women’s rights, peacebuilding, ICT and finacial literacy. I was glad to meet and mingle with the LEMHsters in Marondera and saw for myself how this programme has impacted young women by boosting their confidence. 

Nyari is a woman of action and quickly implements her ideas. She spoke about hosting a talk show, Identities/Umhlobo which screened on ZTV. Without any financial support, the recordings were done (I attended and featured in one of the first recordings). Not so long ago, she established Identities Media TV to make a mark in the media field ❤. She (in partnership with SayWhat organisation) currently hosts another show #TheLens which discusses issues affecting young people. 

Nyari is known for her work even beyond Zimbabwe because she has been a speaker on international platforms. She has also sat on several boards including at CIVICUS and Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe. She is a former Girls-Not-Brides co-coordinator for the first cZimbabwe chapter. Currently, she is also a Programme Council member at Forum 2000, an international conference and organisation. Nyari is also a Champion for Girls Get Equal.

I could write about this woman for the whole day because I know her personally. Once she used to make these beautiful candles. She also enjoys subsistence farming. I celebrate you my friend for being an activist, musician, strategist, entrepreneur and businesswoman. You inspire me greatly”. 

Dr Venganai also celebrated Member of Parliament for Seke-Chikomba constituency, Honorable Tatenda Mavetera, Chief Executive Officer for the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) Virginia Muwanigwa and Yvette Ny who is the founder of  Save Generations Organization (SGO) all the way in Rwanda. 

Nyari Mashayamombe

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