Hammy Madzingira

Date: August 1, 2019
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I joined the council in 2013 as one of the youngest local government leaders during that time. I was inspired to join the local government sector be the need to help the residents in my ward particularly to access basic services such as water and waste management services and health. My ward does not have a clinic which offers comprehensive maternal services that is from prenatal care, delivery to post natal care. This then drove me to the idea of the implementation of gender responsive service delivery and l then spearheaded the extension of Sunningdale clinic. In 2018 the clinic was completed. I then championed the establishment of centre health committees which help in assessing service delivery standards at our clinics and they also volunteer in clean-up programmes. My objectives were to enhance the quality of life and promote pride in the community and local environment by delivering best value and quality service through preparation of careful budgets, cost controls and appropriate use of assets.

I also aimed to ensure that the quality of life for men, women and the youth is improved through gender responsive service delivery. That is why I engaged the community for the sustainability of all the programmes. In waste management the community is involved. In health the community participates through centre health committee.

Young people are involved in the recycling projects in the community. Councillors occupy a central position in all councils. Being representatives of the people, we are policy makers at local authority level. Through the committee system, councillors drive business and give the overall direction to the local authority.
Being a councillor is hard work. Every day I was expected to balance the needs of my local area, my residents and voters, community groups, local businesses, my political party and the council. All make legitimate demands on your time – on top of my personal commitments to family, friends and workplace.

As a councillor I have many different roles to balance. As the local elected representative I engaged with residents and groups on a wide range of different issues and take on an important community leadership role. At the council I contributed to the development of policies and strategies, including budget setting, and I was involved in scrutinizing council decisions and ensuring that City of Harare is gender responsive in all aspects. I had to represent my political party’s interests and even the wishes of the residents who did not vote for me. My political party is MDC-A but in my ward (Ward 10) there are members from other political parties. So as a civic leader I have to represent them all. Negative experiences included not being accepted by the members from other political parties and that then affected development at the local level. What I did was to ensure that I embraced them all. The chairperson of the group of volunteer anti-litter monitors was from another political party and I was not even aware of that. The acceptance of all members of society helped in addressing some of the challenges in our community. Development progress of any country was also pegged on access to optimal use of resources for both men and women. Gender mainstreaming of policies and programs in the City was important if gender equality and equity for all citizens was to be achieved. Gender mainstreaming resulted in more effective services on the part of operation, power and resources. City of Harare had made great efforts to mainstream gender in its activities but there had been challenges that had derailed the process. The major challenges included resource availability. We wanted to build a clinic but the money was not there. There were also institutional barriers to gender mainstreaming in the City. That situation could be blamed on both individuals and institutions. Gross inequality in terms of access to resources by both men and women was another challenge. That imbalance resulted in higher incidences of poverty in women than in men. The other challenge related to the old and dilapidated infrastructure which derailed efforts to implement gender responsive service delivery.
Inadequate human, technical and financial investments, weak coordination and monitoring mechanisms, limited attention to neglected groups and issues were other challenges. How men and women were socialized and the definitions and understandings of womanhood and manhood establish their positions of relative power and control at home and in society. That then affected gender equality programmes as men would feel that they were superior to women.

Championing gender issues had changed my life in many ways. As a male Councillor is used to think that we are not equal with men. The Centre of Excellency programme has given me the necessary training and knowledge that men and women are equal partners in development.

Ebba Murisa (35) who was part of the team of anti-litter monitors engaged in the programme that the project of separating waste I brought was also bringing economic benefits to the group of anti-litters who had been providing cleaning services on a voluntary basis over the past two years.

Championing gender equality led to many changes in my family. I viewed my children as equal and I give them equal opportunities. Harare has female heavy vehicle drivers and plant operators and I believed that even the girl child could be given such opportunities.

The City of Harare is gender-responsive. It is the first council that came up with a housing policy that protects women. The policy stated that if one is married, you would not cede your rights unless there was mutual consent by the spouses.
Even though the housing policy allowed that women can be on a waiting list in their own

There was increased gender awareness in the City of Harare
Policies were being crafted to incorporate gender mainstreaming in all council’s activities. Disaggregated data was now available to enable decision making in gender mainstreaming. As a Centre of Excellence the City of Harare had taken strides to revise its policies to empower women who had historically been disadvantaged. At the moment the council only offers maternity leave no paternity.
A Sexual Harassment policy exists in the CoH. It is included in one of the modules covered during the induction of councillors. In the Code of Conduct of the CoH, there are provisions there that make Sexual Harassment a disciplinary offence.

We have our induction and capacity building workshops where we are taken through the importance of mainstreaming gender in all our programming.

The City of Harare is now proud to be a Centre of Excellence
applying gender mainstreaming in all its activities from gender budgeting to capacitating both its employees and the public.
The Health sector has taken a lot of positive strides in treatment of TB, HIV & Aids and health education. It is now generally agreed and accepted that women can do jobs that were once reserved for men and at times can do better.
Men had also been taken into fields also once dominated by women such as nursing.
The collection and use of disaggregated data has been a useful tool for decision making in gender mainstreaming. There had been great improved service delivery and better communication with stakeholders and residents. My future plans are to ensure that in all our programmes and policies gender is mainstreamed. In my ward activities, I have already started running gender responsive service delivery programmes but I would want to be involved in sexual reproductive health campaigns, gender based violence and child marriages. I also intend to spearhead campaigns and programmes to commemorate important days that publicize gender equality.