Zimbabwe: Machiveyi Makore

Zimbabwe: Machiveyi Makore

Date: May 17, 2021
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Without Gender Links I could not raise my voice to be heard with those without a voice. Gender Links gave me the voice which is now being heard in ward of Zvimba Rural District Council. This was through the training that Gender Links gave both to myself and our Gender Focal Person who after each training that she participated could come and impart the knowledge to us the women councillors of Zvimba. Gender Links has ushered me into a new life. My perspective about myself, life in general has greatly changed. I now see life through gender mainstreaming eyes.

I was a councillor for two consecutive terms. Through my participation at the National Summit my confidence has improved. Before participating I had not in my life spoke to an audience like the one I interacted with at the Summit. I was a shy person and very nervous to speak in front of people. It was my first time to be a councillor and this nervous disposition affected my work in the ward. But my special thanks goes to Gender Links who organises such events as summits to expose us to different audiences. To think that a form 2 school dropout could stand before judges and showcase her leadership antics and win against well-schooled individual is not a mean feat. All the credit goes to Gender Links.

My journey with Gender Links started when I became a councillor. I joined the Gender committee of council. The District Administrator who presided over our swearing in said that it was very important that council form a gender committee since our council had just won the SADC Summit on gender mainstreaming. Prior to that our council’s gender issues were being deliberated in the social services committee. He said it was prudent that the Gender Committee be a standalone committee. This made me to choose the gender committee as I was interested in gender issues and wanted to know more about the SADC Protocol. In our first gender committee meeting the gender focal person took us through the SADC Protocol, Gender Links as the organisation spearheading the Protocol in the country through working with councils, the gaps that existed in wards and what we were expected to do as councillors to mainstream gender in our communities. I came to know Priscilla Maposa and Tapiwa Zvaraya from Gender Links through our Gender Focal Person. I came face to face with these people at the National Summit in 2016. We submitted our evidence files to Tapiwa and I told him that I was nervous as I had not entered any competition in my life. He assured me that all was well as I should take the competition as one of my ward meetings. At the summit, I was competing in the Leadership category. I learnt a lot about what others were doing in their various wards. The case studies showcased in first competition at the Summit gave me the impetus to work hard and move forward in my journey as a driver of change.

As a Driver of change as well as a councillor, moved a motion on the construction of a community hall in Zvimba RDC which was adopted by council. Ward one has now a community hall which was officially opened by the Commander of Zimbabwe National Army. The community hall was built with council in partnership with Army. I played a pivotal role in moving the motion, mobilising locally available materials from ward one residents which included bricks, sand, water as well as general hands who helped the builders in the construction of the community hall. What made me to move the community hall motion was that people were failing to come to ward development meeting when it rained or in cold weather. Women had no place to hold their meetings and do club work such as sewing uniforms. The Chief of the area was also doing his traditional courts under a tree which was not dignified. I raised my voice in the council chambers on behalf of the women, youth and traditional leadership for a community hall for ward one.

My work as a driver of change during my tenure as a councillor did not stop on the construction of a community hall. I moved another motion on the construction of victim friendly units at police stations first of their kind. Zvimba RDC is the only council in Zimbabwe and maybe in the SADC region to construct victim friendly units at Police stations. This came as a result of a book launch meeting that was attended by our gender local person on the levels of GBV in the country. Gender Focal Person held a feedback meeting with gender committee where I was a member. In the book it was reported that Mashonaland West Province was second worst province in GBV occurrences and I took the feedback meeting seriously and came up with an idea of mitigating the GBV occurrences. One of the major reasons of GBV was that people were not reporting the cases to the police since at the charge office there was no privacy when one was reporting GBV cases. The officers would tell the reporter to narrate her/his story in front of everyone in the office which is very embarrassing. People tend not to report due to lack of privacy. As a Councillor,I moved a motion for the construction of offices for victim friendly units at police stations so that people could report more on GBV. Council sor far has built two offices at Zvimba Police Station and Kutama and intends to construct 5 more on the remaining police stations in the district. I showcased this case study of victim friendly units in 2018 and was a runner’s up in the GBV category at the summit.

The other activities I pioneered as a driver of change include holding awareness campaigns on GBV, 50:50, girl child ending early marriages, Sexual and Reproduction health and Rights for the youth.I am currently  using my own vehicle to carry nurses from the hospital for the expanded immunisation programme in my ward. Here the nurses come to immunise the children and provide primary health care to the residents of ward one. Ward one has no clinic and is a bit far from the hospital such that some mothers were failing to have their children immunised due to long walking distances. Nurses also bring condoms and family planning pills that are distributed freely in the ward. This can only be done by a driver of change with a vision of having an empowered, healthy and well- serviced community during my tenure as councillor. All these works were as a result of trainings conducted by Gender Links and the summits that I attended that broaden my horizon.

I also broadened my entrepreneurship skills and knowledge of climate change and I managed to introduce the use of biogas digesters to provide gas for cooking in my community. My community is rural and there is no electricity for cooking. People in my ward were cutting down trees for firewood which enabled global warming. To reduce the cutting down of trees I encouraged members in my ward to construct biogas digesters and to plant trees to reduce deforestation. Also ran a programme where each village head plant trees for the village. I was responsible for sourcing the tree seedlings. My other works include providing a bursary fund for the vulnerable children especially the girl child as I was also a school drop-out. I had to use my own funds to support the kids and asked council to have a Funding that assists the vulnerable children. Council is now paying for 70 children from form one up to advanced level courtesy of the motion. At Christmas time,I always provide hampers to the elderly and vulnerable members of my community.

During my tenure as councillor, also moved motions on the construction of foot bridge, classroom block and teachers’ house construction.I also distributed government and NGO programmes with impartiality as evidenced by Chief Nyamangara who said people are no longer complaining to him that they are being left out by the councillor in government food and inputs programme.

A lot has changed in my life. My confidence was boosted by the summits that I attended three times. I won 2 times. I encouraged fellow councillors to take part in the summits. I recruited councillor Ndava (male) of ward 11 to participate in the summit and helped him to document and prepare for the summit. From my work and expertise I got from Gender Links, it is an open secret that my drive for change as a councillor changed the face of ward one and Zvimba RDC community at large. My aim was to raise my voice for the voiceless members of her community.

The major challenge I faced as a driver of change was finances but circumvented this problem by expanding my businesses. When I became a councillor, I had a grinding mill and groceries shop. With the help of my husband and children who were supporting my philanthropic work in the ward. I am now into chicken rearing, piggery project and tobacco farming. I bought a vehicle that am using to carry health workers to my ward.

I give many thanks Gender Links in particular Tapiwa Zvaraya and Priscilla Maposa and my gender focal person Fainesi Bwakaya for catapulting me to greater heights in gender mainstreaming work through the trainings that I received from them. Without them I would have not known that it was important to have community halls in the community. Am now aspiring to become a member of parliament for my constituency as I think that I can influence policy change in parliament as I have done in council.