Zimbabwe: Letwin Watambwa

Zimbabwe: Letwin Watambwa

Date: May 14, 2021
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Sex  Female
Name of Organisation MVURWI TOWN COUNCIL
City/ Town/ Village MVURWI



e.g. 00 27 82 665 1742

Age Group (please tick) 51-60 o
Education level Tertiary o
First met GL 2010 Event
Encounters with GL since first meeting
Phone number 0772622844
Email address Wattslee86@gmail.com
Extent of change 90%
Are you living with a disability  No  




If yes specify type of disability ¨ Physical


“My job among other things involves working with communities that is, the elderly, youths, people living with disabilities, and women among others. Gender Links helped to nurture my passion and it has actually become my favorite hobby.”

Letwin attributes her success to loyalty, passion and full commitment to her job. She also gives credit to Gender Links for changing her through its close and regular mentorship over the years. All the room to exhibit her prowess was given by Mvurwi Town council administration which she also acknowledged she owes credit.

“My success story in stirring the gender agenda in council from the year 2010 to date may not be enough without giving special mention to the grooming, guidance and technical support from an unforgettable and valued partner, Gender Links. Off course all those interfaces outside council structures were out of unmeasurable support from my superior, the Mvurwi Town Secretary and all her lieutenants who run sister departments in council.”

Having gone through various trainings and workshops, at the council offices she introduced departmental gender focal persons who spearheaded the gender agenda at departmental level.  That alone, acts as a reminder to all members of staff to always embrace gender mainstreaming in all Council activities. Mvurwi Town Council’s Gender Champion is a Policy-maker, Councillor Violet Chipo. Kuta who is also Chairperson of the Community Services, Technical and Environmental Management Committee. Council also mainstream on gender basis when allocating for instance residential stands and market stalls as men, women, youths, people living with HIV and Aids as well as people living with disabilities, are considered through her advice to Council. Letwin lobbied for amendment of Mvurwi Town Council policies such as the Gender Policy, HIV Policy, Health and Safety Policy and Selection and Recruitment Policy to accommodate the gender issues. Council have since employed women in non –traditional posts. These include a lady Tractor Driver while the Town Secretary herself is a lady.  These are some of the changes which she advocated for as the GFP of Council.

When Mvurwi was nominated to become a “Hub Centre of Excellence”, she took it upon herself, fore-going the luxury of keeping a refrigerator in her office creating space for a Gender Desk. The desk has always been an eye catching visual communication aid to local members of staff, local community and each time when Mentee Councils visit the Hub for peer learning. Majority of the clients who visited her office acknowledge the enlightening and refreshing material on Gender issues.  She would always avail herself to answer any questions raised by clients concerning gender.

In addition, Letwin acquired vast experience and confidence through working with the communities, attending Gender Links workshops especially the Summit Workshops. She happen to one of the participant stakeholders who were trained on Gender Mainstreaming some time in 2018. The workshop was an eye opener to the participants whose majority were quite enthused to learn the technicalities of the subject matter. Working with the community in various fields was made easier by the workshop. She organised Women’s Clubs among other things. Club members gather on a weekly basis sharing ideas on various activities such as sewing, cooking, homecare, pottery, knitting, gardening and basketry. A yearly Show is conduct where members will be show-casing their talents through exhibiting their products. She would source for donations from Council, CLGF, Gender Links and other well-wishers for purchase of Show Prizes as a way of motivating members to participate. In a bid to close gender disparity, she also lobbied for land from Council and established nutritional gardens for peoples living with HIV and AIDS while another garden was for the elderly. By doing so Letwin contributed a lot to help reduce the rate of gender based violence within the local community.

In the fight against GBV, she also advocated for women empowerment and introduced ISALS “Mukando” where fifteen groups were formed, some of them were community clubs while others were Market Clubs consisting mainly of vendors.  The Internal Saving and Lending scheme became so successful and most of the women graduated to become small business women. “My life was nothing. I rose from zero to a hero, a beggar to a business woman, a pedestrian to a motorist and a lodger to a landlord” said Mrs Madzivanzira (Sarah Tauro) when she was giving a testimony to participants at the Gender mainstreaming workshop. The above arrangement gave rise to WLED in Mvurwi where these entrepreneurs registered with CLGF, credit to Gender Links and CLGF for financial and technical support on all the achievements made to date.

“While so much time, effort and resources were channelled towards my success, today I testify of my wide experience in working with Junior Councillors having worked also as a Junior Council Focal Person for over a decade. When working with junior councillors, I make it a point that there is proportional representation from all local eligible schools while we encourage a 50-50 representation since boys have a tendency of dominating all the posts”.

She has worked extremely well giving guidance and counselling programmes during their respective terms of office. The Executive Director of National Junior Councils’ Association of Zimbabwe (NJCA) Shingirirai Tanaka Chikazhe, who is a brain child of Mvurwi Junior Council is a living testimony of Letwin’s close, warm and focused relationship with junior councillors.

Her experience and interface with the Junior Councillors prompts her attention to issues that affect them hence she becomes a bridge between the youths and Council. She also developed Junior Councillors through skills building and mentored them in a wide range of areas including sexuality, health, recreation and decision making.  Thus enabling Junior Councillors to fully participate in Senior Council activities which gives them enough confidence to pursue leadership positions as they grow into their careers.

However, as much as the will and effort might be there, progress on activities that help forge the gender mainstreaming agenda, are hindered by scarce financial resources which at times are not readily available.The Corona Virus pandemic disrupted most of our plans as one-on-one community engagements have been prohibited

“This learning journey have changed my character and behavior for the better and have gone a step further even to determine my well-being. Credit goes to Gender Links through Priscilla Maposa, Country Director-Zimbabwe. She is a bundle full of energy and patience whose character is so accommodating.”