Aspiring women leaders in Mutasa prepare for 2023 elections!
i) Transformative Feminist Leadership Capacity building programme
WALPE in partnership with Deaf Zimbabwe Trust (DZT) and Mutasa Youth Forum (MYF) were on the 15th to the 19th of June 2020 in Mutasa District for capacity building and transformative feminist leadership development for aspiring women leaders under their new Women Empowered for Participation in Development (WEPD) project.
The capacity building process provides aspiring women leaders with technical, practical and necessary skills, tools, means and confidence to successfully compete for elected positions; assume leadership roles; and promote a culture of participatory, transparent, inclusive, results oriented and accountable democratic governance ideals. The trainings focused on the following: Political career development, Etiquette and confidence building, disability mainstreaming, Campaign strategy, Introduction to public service, Social Accountability and Constitutionalism, Climate change, and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR).
A total of 208 women were trained in groups of 40 each to abide by the Government’s COVID-19 regulations. The participants also included 10 women with disabilities who aspire to run for public office as councillors and MPs in the 2023 elections. The trainings were conducted in a training of trainers’ snowballing model and the trained women were urged to go and train others. The aspiring women leaders also underwent COVID-19 awareness campaigns in which they were taught about the World Health Organisation approved measures of mitigating the spread of the virus.
The trained women shall be exposed to the duties and responsibilities of public officials including sessions on attending Parliament, Council and public events addressed by key women leaders as part of the mentorship process.
ii) Social Entrepreneurship Capacity building programme.
This week (22-26 June), WALPE, Deaf Zimbabwe Trust and Mutasa Youth Forum trained 208 aspiring women leaders in Social Entrepreneurship. The women drawn from Mutasa district are the same who received trainings in transformative feminist leadership last week. Lack of access to economic opportunities is one of the challenges inhibiting women from effectively contesting leadership positions. During campaigns, most women have no access to funds to produce campaign materials such as posters, fliers, t-shirts or transport fee to move from point A to point B leading to many of them failing to run successful campaigns. Most women have serious challenges balancing fending for their families and fully participating in leadership and decision-making processes. The burden of unpaid care and domestic work forces many women to shun politics and other leadership processes.
The consortium intends to assist aspiring women leaders create sources of income through training them in: Introduction to Business Management, Production, Processing, Value Addition, Branding, Packaging and Market Linkages. The trained women shall also be assisted with seed funding to start small projects or boost current projects they are running. WALPE, MYF and DZT partnered with Imba Mukadzi Umuzi Ngumama Trust (IMUNT), a women’s economic empowerment organisation to facilitate the training process. IMUNT trained the women on how to produce sanitisers and washable facial masks. Women being the primary front- line responders to the effects of COVID19 at community and family level need to be equipped with skills to produce low cost personal protective equipment (PPEs). The trained women were informed on the need to engage health experts first in the event that they want to produce bulk sanitisers for commercial purposes so that they are tested for quality control. The women leaders were so grateful for the skills transfer as the trainings came timely as the world is grappling with the current pandemic. They were also trained on how to prepare and package jam, honey and dried vegetables.
DZT also provided virtual sign language interpretation to participants with hearing impairments. The inclusion of PWDs in the programme will go a long way in increasing the number of PWDs who take up leadership and decision-making positions. The consortium shall continue grooming, nurturing and mentoring the women till the 2023 elections.
iii) Public hearings on Constitutional amendment Bill No. 2
The Parliament of Zimbabwe held public consultative hearings on the constitutional amendment bill no. 2 between 15- 19 June 2020 in ten provinces of Zimbabwe. WALPE and WLSA monitored the process and mobilised their members to attend the hearings. About 80% of the participants rejected the proposed bill and most of them indicated that it is too premature to amend a constitution that has not been fully implemented.