Jullianah Chigariro – Zimbabwe

Date: September 30, 2015
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“After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box.” Brian Furusa, Public Relations Officer of Gender Network, Harare.

As a female councillor of Ward 5, I stand to empower my fellow women and teach them that it is not about how hard you fall but about lifting yourself up, dusting yourself off and moving forward again. Like every woman, I have encountered many obstacles in my life, including losing my first born daughter, but this did not stop me from focusing on my political career and now I can gladly say that I have achieved most of my goals. We women now have the same opportunities as men; we have an equal chance of getting jobs and representation so we should aim for better opportunities. We can take care of our families and not depend merely on men. I would also like to encourage the women who look down upon themselves and tell them that everything is possible.

I am a Christian woman and I was born in Mhondoro Muchanyu village. I was married by customary law in church at St Michael’s Mhondoro and God blessed me with three children. I started engaging in leadership roles at church. I was the chairperson of St Mary’s parish, and then afterwards, I was promoted to chairperson of Kadoma parish. Then, from there, I began to notice that I had strong leadership characteristics and I made my way to being chairperson of my ward (Ward 5). I spent four years at this post until I realised that I was now politically mature and ran for the office of councillor. I commenced my position in 2013 and am still councillor.

My objectives are to provide for orphans and those affected by HIV and AIDS; to generate money to be used for school fees and medical expenses for the vulnerable; to provide cheap decent accommodation for all and improve the quality of life for women, youth, men and the disabled and provide education, entertainment and awareness campaigns

My personal mission statement is: “What you put in is what you get out”. If you sow weed you are bound to reap weed, but if you sow maize you are bound to reap maize. We are encouraged by the holy gospels to work biblically with our own hands. To be a good leader one has to put everything one has into doing what is needed. You can only change the world by changing yourself first.

My key activities include mobilising people to do projects which ensure food security and ensuring the health of residents in the ward by undertaking environmental inspections, as well as organising meetings about the city’s changes updates while ensuring residents get all the help they need for survival, such as shelter, food and water.

In my ward, I have experienced a number of challenges which include a lack of resources to cater for everyone. Water supply is sometimes unavailable which leads to diseases; also sewer blockages can be a challenge at times. Waste disposal is also another negative experience we have to deal with as leaders, for people tend to complain whilst sometimes our hands are tied.

I have mobilised as follows for resource allocation for work on gender equality:
Gender in mainstream projects (please specify) We raised 200 dollars at first and now some are raising it themselves. I organised women to work on a project to provide for themselves through small vegetable markets.

I can now listen, attend and relate to both sides of the story i.e. males and females, disabled or not. I can now approach women bearing in mind that they are equal; they are human beings like men, unlike in the past when I thought they were inferior. I can now work hard on my own; I am now confident that I can work just as well as a man and this has brought some prosperity to my life.

As a leader, I am very grateful that I have been able to initiate the provision of houses for lodgers. I am happy that we have gone a long way, as most of the lodgers in my ward got stands for which they only paid 500. This has made me proud because most of them are likely to access shelter which is a huge achievement in terms of basic human needs.

As a councillor, my ward is my institution, it is also the society and community I live in, and hence the changes which happen institutionally are the same as for society. Men now understand gender issues. There is now equal participation in all meetings and women are now confident of participating in the community. Both women and men are now employed. Also the disabled are receiving equal treatment and opportunities. There is less stigmatisation of people who live with HIV and AIDS and the community is now responsible for decision making. Citing water problems, the borehole was broken, and hence we came up with the idea of small donations of five rand per household to repair it. Also I have interceded for my people to ensure there are better roads by speaking to the municipality of Kadoma and asking them to grade and gravel Parerenyatwa and Kanyemba streets. We also, as a ward, started a fundraising cooperative which contributed small amounts of money and we take turns to order and sell fish. Death is a certainty for all humans hence we have come up with a plan to fund the purchasing of a funeral tent for memorial services.

After receiving training in capacity building, mostly by ZIMPHARM, I achieved so much. We were taught that as leaders of a particular group of people we should appreciate different kinds of people. Some are rich, some are poor, disabled or HIV infected, but however the leader is the same. Under the same leadership there are people from different religions and different clans but the leader is the same. We were also taught that all Zimbabweans are interested in politics for it is their day to day life. However, in my meetings I avoid party slogans or regalia to maintain neutrality; hence I open my briefings with a prayer. Moreover people appreciate my leadership.

My next steps
To make sure that the stands provided to people are going to be fully developed
To improve communication on matters relating to HIV and AIDS; to improve the lives of the disabled; to have moneys to cater for the disadvantaged; to improve the lives of orphans and elderly people and to ensure every child has access to education.


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