Women Empowered for Participation in Development (WEPD) project launched

Setting up of social accountability teams in Mutasa

i) Project inception and setting up of Social Accountability Teams.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis that has also affected Zimbabweans, mainly women in all spheres of life and the Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) and its partners are working round the clock to raise awareness among  aspiring women leaders and PWDs on how to mitigate the virus.

On the 1st and 2nd of June 2020, WALPE in collaboration with Mutasa Youth Forum (MYF) and Deaf Zimbabwe Trust (DZT) implemented its inaugural outreach activities in Mutasa under its new project Women Empowered for Participation in Development (WEPD) funded by Christian Aid. The goal of the project is to increase women and Persons with Disabilities’ (PWDs) effective and full participation in leadership and decision-making processes by amplifying their voices in demanding accountability and inclusion in Mutasa.

The consortium first held a virtual project inception and stakeholder meeting with Members of Parliament (MPs), councillors, traditional leaders, business people, school heads, local authorities and other community-based organisations in the area. During the meeting, the local leaders were introduced to the project and encouraged to support the ascendancy of women and PWDs to leadership positions.

A total of eight (8) women and PWD led social accountability teams (SATs) were created with a total composition of 200 members. The SATs shall demand social accountability from community leaders and local authorities and monitor development and social service delivery and ensure women have access to better service provision. The teams shall also mobilise communities to vote for women and PWDs at all leadership levels including School Development Committees (SDC), Health Centre Committees (HCC), Village and Ward Development Committees, Councillors, MPs and even Presidents.

ii) Transformative Feminist Leadership capacity building training programme.

WALPE in partnership with Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) under its Women Empowered for Participation in Electoral Processes  (WEPEP) project trained 206 women from Hwedza in transformative feminist leadership between 02-06 June 2020. The women leaders were trained in groups of 40 each to abide by the COVID-19  Government regulations.

The capacity building process focused on the following skills: 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). WALPE and WLSA intends to increase women’s effective and full participation in electoral processes by advancing their knowledge and deepening their capacity to successfully run for public elected positions.

WALPE also donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of washable face masks and hand sanitisers to aspiring women leaders in Mutasa and Hwedza most of whom are at the frontline of fighting the virus both at family and community level. The women were also taken through an intensive awareness and sensitisation process on how to curb the spread of COVID-19. They were also given IEC materials from the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines to engage other women and raise awareness on the virus.