Zimbabwe – Equal opportunities in Makoni district

Date: July 27, 2018
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The 50/50 campaign is a platform to provide equal opportunities to women and men so as to empower women who have been marginalised in past. This project is set to uplift the lives of women and give them responsibility and ownership of properties. Empowering women to make them realise their potential in life as leaders of different organisations. Women have in the past been side-lined by men and were seen as child minders and field workers yet they have qualities to lead as well. Women, if given the chance, can be great leaders for example in politics, and/or government departments.

This is a good practice because it gives women the sense of belonging and responsibility as men. Despite being male or female equal opportunities must be availed and those with potential will prosper. This is all about giving equal opportunities to all irrespective of their gender. The project is yielding good results by improving the lives of women.

The main objective of this project is to gender equity among the people in the district. The project is set to outline the advantages of mainstreaming gender in all places of work. It is also set to give men and women equal opportunities in the means of production and development of communities. Council has policies that mainstream gender, for example the recruitment and selection process where men and women are interviewed for the job.

On some projects that require work suits, all the people will be issued with a pair of work suits whether male or female. On educational policy, funds like BEAM are availed to the children who are selected on gender lines. The council do not process cessions of properties without the knowledge of both spouses, and the council has a policy where councillors who will have served two terms will be conferred with alderman status irrespective of being male or female. This project is set to give all the people equal chances in proving themselves. This is a chance for all especially women to be given a chance to show case their talents and potential in decision making position rather than seeking authority from men always.

Awareness campaigns in the communities making the people conscious about the gender imbalances in the society, campaigns were conducted at business centres in the district and the people were happy to learn that gender mainstreaming is the way to go in empowering the women. This is evidenced by the co-owning of properties like plots that has seen farmers registering their plots together. Road shows are conducted making people familiar with the gender mainstreaming issues in the district.

The project has reached 300 direct participants. The government in Zimbabwe has allocated $10 000 to this project, and $1500 amounted to kind contributions. In total the budget to this project is $11 500.

The project came across transport challenges, by which there are no adequate vehicles to ferry all the people during the campaign programmes. Familiarisation workshops are conducted where gender mainstreaming materials are distributed. Funding also is a major challenge that has drawn back the progress of the project this project requires a stable funding so that all the materials are produced and distributed in time, printing of the materials like t-shirts, banners, flyers and magazines to educate the people. The road network is also a factor that hinders the dissemination because the roads are in bad shape and impassable. This leaves some communities out of the project.

Makoni rural has a gender monitoring and evaluation committee whose mandate is to see to it that the policy is working as to expectations and make recommendations to council as to what needs to be done or reviewed highlighting the challenges.

Mrs Vestor Marowerob who is a Councillor in Ward 26 of Makoni district says, “Women are better performers than men if given the chance to show case their potential in empowering communities.” The women groups are excelling in Makoni district with the assistance from council through revolving funding.

Men have become supportive of the 50/50 campaign because they are also participating in the outreach programmes, a number of men are seen joining the women groups in the communities giving a helping hand. The elevation of women to hold responsibility and decision making positions is a clear indication that men are supportive of women in their quest to see women become leaders.

Men encourage women to join the groups so that they benefit from the programmes. The women have set up various groups of projects like gardening, or poultry, that is chicken rearing. Women who benefited from the councils revolving fund have very supportive husbands. Their husbands have appreciated that their wives now contributed into financially and materially towards the households requirements. The men at their parade men’s forum, acknowledge the good work being done by the council.

The communities have had significant changes in mainstreaming gender, women have been selected to attend some training in the repairs of boreholes as borehole pump minders, and some women even head the borehole committees. Some school development committees are also headed by the women.

The 50/50 campaigns can remain sustainable as council has taken them seriously. Yearly council budgets for gender activities which include 50/50 campaigns. Council is in a position to conduct at least one campaign per quota if the council resources are available. Women and girls are advocating for a change. They have deserved that even at which level women cannot trust each other hence they vote for men.




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