Zimbabwe: Francis Kanda

Date: July 13, 2018
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Francis Kanda

“Access to basic services like food, water and sanitation is a basic human right and should ensure that human dignity and health is upheld for all people regardless of their sex, age and disability status.”

I hold a degree in Sociology and Gender studies at the Women’s University. I chose this degree as it was a form of realising my own dream of wanting to work in and with communities. I got a promotion to work as a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Officer. I took an active role in the Gender and Contextual Analysis of Local Authority WASH (water and sanitation hygiene) service provision in Small Urban Centres of Mashonaland West 2014 and this study informed the donor funded project in ways that improved access to WASH services by Local Authorities.

I was later transferred from Mhondoro Ngezi district to Norton in 2015 under the same WASH project and as of today I am busy working with several women groups with the aim of empowering them through educating them about their rights and responsibilities in their relationship with Norton Town Council. Some identified women and men have also become conduits of communication between the residents of Norton and Norton Town Council.

Aside from facilitating the construction and rehabilitation of WASH infrastructure by Norton Town Council, I also oversee all the capacity building initiatives of the SELF Project. Using a theory of change approach of training first the Council Management and the general staff and cascading it to community leaders and representatives who in turn cascade it to the community members, my job is more facilitatory than hands on.

At every level there are transformation agents identified and starting from the top there are primary transformation agents, the secondary transformation agents who are the community leaders and lastly the tertiary agents who are the community members in the street. I mentor the transformation agents at each level so that they deliver effective training to the next level. I take part in the efforts to mobilise community members to come for training sessions, preparing all the training materials and making sure those tasked with delivering the training sessions know what they are doing.

Championing gender has made a huge change in my life. I have earned dignity by the day especially in Norton where I work. The ministry of Women Affairs awarded me a certificate of appreciation for championing women empowerment in Norton and this gives me the energy to keep on doing the good work. I have also learnt a lot as a gender focal person. I now appreciate the burden that women have when it comes to the household duties. Going forward, I would like to get more exposure to influence the promulgation and implementation of policy on gender equality. More awareness needs to be done to involve men in platforms where gender issues are being discussed. If men are educated about gender issues then the efforts will be realized.