Tadios Ndonga – Zimbabwe

Date: October 12, 2015
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“Now the councillor is considering gender issues at a higher level. We hope he will assist and come up with gender transformative policies in council” Eng. Nhika (City Engineer) on the official launch of WASH strategic plan in Ward 1.

I, Tadios Ndonga, as a councillor representing ward 14 Ngezi, want to tell a story about my most memorable experience in my work as a leader. I was elected to be the councillor of this ward in 2013. The ward is located on the southern part of Kadoma CBD. It has a total of about 10,500 housing units. The area also covers Kadoma Medium Security Prison and Kadoma Training Institute. My most memorable experience in my work as a leader began on the day I stated to work for the people I represent. In my ward, residents were experiencing severe water shortages. They travelled a long distance on a daily basis, searching for water to use at home. I was approached by the community leadership about this issue. As a leader, I engaged the Member of Parliament representing the constituency. When I explained the story to him, he responded to the matter and then donated funds to procure the necessary materials. This includes a mono pump engine and water tanks for the whole project. As I speak, the project has been commissioned and the people have water. The residents are benefiting from this project through this initiative. Gone are the days when women had to travel long distances to fetch water. This presented risks of gender based violence (GBV).

I am a war veteran, a retired member of the Zimbabwe National Army integrated into the force in 1980. I also held the post of secretary at Humwe Building Society. I worked as a class two driver at Chemukute Mine. I am the vice chairperson of the Finance committee, a member of the Works committee and also the district chairperson of the ruling political party in Tongogara, district Ngezi. I attended a workshop on gender budgeting at our council offices when Gender Links paid a courtesy visit to Kadoma City Council supporting gender budgeting.

I encouraged women and people living with disabilities to be involved in different projects and I promote a 50/50 gender balance in workplaces, as well as equal representation. Ngezi Primary School, which is in my ward, is now teaching students living with disabilities. The progamme is being sponsored by a charity organisation called Leonard Cheshire which is based in London.

My objectives are to engage women in leadership positions; to ensure equal pay for equal work and to achieve gender equality and equity through the implementation of programmes.

My personal mission statement is the following: “Our government must make a policy to ensure that perpetrators of any form of gender based violence must be brought to book.” As a man who interacts with many people in the community, I have made this my mission statement to acknowledge gender based violence which often occurs in the community. As a leader I need to provide the youth in my ward with recreation facilities and also source funds for income generating projects for men and women so that they can be kept busy and concentrate on doing business.

My key activities are the following:
– GESI champion group which monitors those who dump refuse on the road;
– Neighbourhood Watch committee to reduce the crime rate in the community;
– Ward Youth Officers to mobilise youth in doing voluntary work in the ward; and
– Support groups on AIDS Awareness campaigns.

Resource mobilisation
Amount local currency Amount in Rand Explanation
Gender specific allocation 3000 30000 Meant for general coordination of Gender Activities across departments
Gender in mainstream projects
Health Services

Health Admin 348000.00 3480000.00 Coordination of all public health Services
City Engineer (Water and Sanitation)
City Engineer Admin 238000.00 2380000.00 Coordination of Works function
Electrical Workshop 150000.00 1500000.00
Water Reticulation and Treatment 4300000.00 43000000.00 Water Delivery
Sewer Reticulation and Treatment 800000.00 8000000.00 Sewage Treatment
Housing and Community Services
Community Services 142000 1420000.00 All Community Services activities including Education
Housing admin 500000 500000.00
Amount contributed in cash or in kind by partner organisations
Gender Links 2000 20000.00
Total 6480000 64800000

The lack of participation by men and the failure of council to support the voluntary groups with tools and protective clothing to do their work (those who are doing community service) are our main challenges. The communities also lack knowledge on the roles of councillors.

I now have a better understanding of gender issues. I have worked with both men and women and realised that they are equal in terms of their capacity. Our president was the first to champion the issue of gender by appointing a woman as vice president. Also in our council, our Health Department includes women in refuse disposal as drivers of compactor trucks and tractor drawn trailers to collect refuse.

“I am a woman and I work for Kadoma City Council as a truck driver for refuse collection. I find it so interesting that we as women can do the same jobs as men. Of course we face some challenges at work, but with the support we get from our community leaders like Councillor Ndonga and our supervisors, we are able to overcome all the challenges every day,” Anna Jiri.

At the institutional level, I encourage the government to open vocational training centres and colleges for women and seek donors who help both men’s and women’s projects e.g. poultry and gardening. I encourage women to have stands in their own names and link women who passed their ordinary level and advanced level to institutions like colleges, universities, etc. and I encourage local teachers to help locals without ordinary level to rewrite. I also seek donors to sponsor both men’s and women’s sports. I supplied about 40 x 20 litre containers to Kadoma Training Institute which were donated by the MP at my request.

“We have been supplied with water tanks by our member of parliament. This makes life easy for both men and women, especially young women and girls who were being abused when fetching water at night. This also reduced the crime rate in our area since many people are engaged in sports and others in projects which we have just started.

We have got another project for women who are sewing school uniforms. They are supplying most schools in Kadoma and this has improved their living standards. Rain water harvest at Ngezi Primary school has engaged both men and women in a hive of activities.

“The vegetable market built by our councillor at Kwaramba shopping centre serves the people of Ngezi. It improved the standard of living for many women engaged in vending. Joshua Mubatapasi was encouraged by the councillor to train at Belvedere Teachers’ College. There are some who have already benefited from the councillor’s efforts like Archford Mujumi who is already in the force,” Tsitsi Mastoko.

Our community now understands that even women can be very good leaders in the community if they are given a chance, for example Mabel Nyika, who is leading a successful women’s club in Ngezi. “I am one of those who have been helped by local teachers to re-write my ordinary level exams. Many women like me, if given enough chance and support, can do something in life,” Patience Mubatapasi.

The change at societal level involves women in our area who now engage in small scale mining. Many youths who do not have five ordinary level passes are now concentrating on studying so that they can rewrite their ordinary levels.

“As women, we came forward with our names to join the stands’ waiting list. We have seen even some churches now including us women in leadership posts, especially those of the Pentecostal sector. Some small scale business women are so confident that they are now growing their businesses, so we as women have the same opportunities as men and we need to embrace them,” Merbo Makata.

I organised capacity building meetings. Some of the training that is done includes the CSSD GESI trainings. I organised a group of youths in my ward to go and mine gold at a mine I was granted by the owner. They are now benefiting from this project.

The challenges include a shortage of water; power cuts; poor accommodation; lack of electrical gadgets e.g. laptops and insufficient funding. I overcame these challenges by finding a water bowser, the use of generators and supplementing with our own blankets. We have to share the little that we have and sometimes we use our own funds.

My future plans include engaging more youths in cooperatives; having a small scale mining cooperative for women and building our secondary school which belongs to the government.


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