WALPE Activity update-02

i)Electoral talk steals limelight during capacity building trainings.

With support from FreeFund, the Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) conducted capacity building trainings in Social Entrepreneurship, Value Addition, Branding and Access to Markets for 200 aspiring women leaders from Zhombe-Kwekwe rural in Midlands province.

Some of the topics covered during the trainings include Financial Literacy and Savings Management, Budgeting in Financial Planning and Digital Marketing. This will ensure that the aspiring women leaders explore alternative options to managing finances in the COVID19 period and enhance their participation in leadership processes.

The WALPE team also took time to sensitize aspiring women leaders about voter registration blitz which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is carrying out from 01-28 February and 11 – 30 April 2022.

To boost the aspiring women leaders’ financial capacity to participate in the 2023 elections, WALPE also distributed Income Generating Projects start-up funds to 40 participants in groups of fours.

ii)Social Entrepreneurship Trainings – a ray of hope for aspiring women leaders.

Before the #LetsGo5050 Gender Equality Project had besieged Muchakata in Masvingo Rural, Valentine Nyoni, aged 26, had no clear plan of how she would improve her livelihood.

With two dependent minor children, Nyoni had tried different avenues to fend for her family but the businesses all seemed to flop until she attended WALPE’s Social Entrepreneurship trainings which were supported by Diakonia.

A ray of hope shone over Nyoni’s life and for the first time her business ideas began to flourish.

“Before I met the WALPE team, I was never bothered about leadership but after the #LetsGo5050 Gender Equality Project I have become more confident and enthusiastic about getting into leadership positions.

“I had previously tried several times to venture into businesses but to no avail. I am grateful for the lessons I learnt because now I can manage my business effectively and have made a lot of profits with my cakes after getting a boost through the income generating projects seed funding. I am now a secretary at our internal savings and lending scheme which we began after the training,” Nyoni said.

Another group of five aspiring women leaders that also benefited from the project are running a thriving peanut butter production business. They have managed to raise enough profits for each one of them to start a separate project adding to the peanut butter project that they have already established.

“We never knew that branding would increase our products’ competitiveness on the market until we had trainings on Social Entrepreneurship, Branding and Access to Markets through WALPE. We now produce quality branded peanut butter and our sales have increased  We have also created leadership positions within our group to boost confidence and inspire each other to aim for bigger positions,” said the group’s vice chairperson Patricia Chisaki.

iii)2.2 million votes for women from women 2023 elections campaign gathers momentum.

The last few days have seen women from different areas across the country coming out to register to vote under WALPE’s 2.2 million votes for women from women 2023 election campaign.

WALPE has been mobilising women first voters in provinces as part of efforts to increase women’s participation in electoral processes. The organisation is on the ground encouraging women to take advantage of the current voter registration blitz and register enmasse and vote for female candidates during the 2023 elections and beyond.

The organisation has escalated its social media campaign aimed at increasing awareness on the electoral process and outstanding electoral reforms that continue to inhibit women’s full participation in democratic processes.  are currently ongoing on the organisation’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. The social media campaigns are being supported by the Netherlands Embassy and FreeFund, respectively.

The campaign was set up to increase women’s active and free participation in electoral processes after realising that they constituted the majority of the population and registered voters but were still underrepresented in leadership and decision making positions at all levels. WALPE is also in the process of breaking down registration centres released by ZEC for the blitz into districts and sharing with Zimbabweans so that they are able to easily note dates, times and areas where the blitz will be taking place.

iv)Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Bill: An enemy of progress!

The WALPE strongly condemns the coming in of the Private Voluntary Organisations Bill which is a major blow to the progress that had been made towards improving socio-economic and political status of women and the nation at large.

As an organisation working to improve the status and representation of women in the political, economic and social spheres, we are deeply concerned with the repercussions that this will have on the women constituency that we represent and serve.

The WALPE has made strides in enhancing the knowledge and skills of women aspiring to take up leadership positions through various capacity building trainings and sensitised women of their constitutionally enshrined rights. All this will be put to waste with the coming in of the PVO Bill.

Here are some of the reasons why the bill should not be passed:

  • It exposes the vulnerability of women and marginalized groups and impact on their participation in the political, economic and development of their communities.
  • Limits the freedom of association which pushes women away from participating in politics and development.
  • Impacts negatively on the mobilization efforts of women-led CBOs and CSOs that advocate for women rights.
  • Instils a culture of fear that also limits women participation in leadership and decision-making processes.