01
Oct

WALPE embarks on women leadership action research

WALPE embarks on women leadership action research.

Participants in Chiweshe filling questionnaires during a needs assessment research exercise.

Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE), on 19 December 2018, conducted a women leadership action research in the rural province of Mashonaland Central’s areas of Mazowe, Chiweshe, Chaona and Muzarabani. This is part of the organisation’s countrywide needs assessment and reflection consultative researches with women who want to run for political office during the 2023 elections and beyond.

The action research was conducted by way of focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with women leaders in the aforementioned areas. This research was a build up from the historic Masvingo consultative summit which sought to empirically establish the capacity needs for women in the province to effectively and successfully run for public office.

Women in these rural areas, identified a number of challenges which inhibit them from successfully seeking public office. These include lack of financial resources, inadequate knowledge on how to run a successful campaign and how to be an effective leader, intra and inter party violence and intimidation, cultural and religious stereotyping and labelling, uneven playing field within political parties and in the broader electoral environment among others.

A number of capacity needs were also recognized. Key among the needs were access to information, trainings and mentorship programmes as well as Civic and human rights education. The women leaders also joined in on the clarion call to amend the Constitution and extend the proportional representation seats beyond 2023. The women also demanded that if the Quota system is to be extended it should only benefit first time female Parliamentarians.

WALPE will utilize the rich empirical data to develop the content of its curriculum for the political school which will commence classes in the first quarter of 2019. The trainings shall be held at provincial level and each class shall accommodate only 25 participants to increase levels of concentration. Some of the areas to be covered during the training process include: Political career development, Public speaking and speech writing, Etiquette and confidence building, Campaign strategy, Introduction to public service, Campaign fundraising fundamentals, Negotiation and consensus building skills, Non- violent campaign strategies, Constituency outreach and mobilization strategies, Social Accountability, Monitoring and Evaluation, Post-training coaching and mentoring and Internship opportunities in public institutions.

Proceedings during the Focus groups discussions and interviews held in Mazowe, Chiweshe, Chaona and Muzarabani in Mashonaland Central Province