Community Development

CSO advocates for women’s increased participation in public life

Sally Ncube
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Writes Muchaneta Chimuka

Women’s Democracy Network Zimbabwe, (WDN-ZW) a registered not-for-profit organization promoting women’s participation in leadership, politics, and governance processes as well as gender-responsive policymaking in Zimbabwe since 2020 launched 10 days of Activism to promote gender-responsive policymaking for women increased participation in public life.

The campaign will run from 28 August 2023 to 6 September 2023 targeting diverse stakeholders and duty bearers key to advancing women’s participation in governance processes through amplifying trained gender champions and women leaders advocacy actions.

The anticipated outcome for the campaign includes increased stakeholders’ awareness of barriers to women’s inclusion and participation, strengthened responsiveness of duty bearers, public support for women’s leadership, political will by duty bearers, and increased action by diverse state and non-state actors to address barriers to women’s participation in public life through active participation and advocacy for gender-responsive policymaking.

In a press statement, Sally Ncube who is the Executive Director for WDN said during the campaign period, three online policy dialogues will be convened by gender champions to create platforms for access to information, engaging with policymakers, and sharing inspiration and best practices to activate collective action for gender-responsive policy making advocacy to address barriers and create an enabling policy and political environment for women’s inclusion and full participation in public life in all governance processes and structures.

“WDN Zimbabwe believes that if male and female gender champions are trained in gender-responsive policy-making and provided support and platforms to develop gender-responsive policy-making initiatives, this will significantly contribute to meaningful advocacy and duty bearers’ responsiveness on gender-responsive policy interventions to address barriers to women’s participation in public life,” she said.

She said that in 2021, WDN Zimbabwe mobilized 83 gender champions who were trained on gender-responsive policy-making to end gender-based violence in Harare province, provided with technical support to analyze public transport policies, draft policy recommendations and engage duty bearers.

In 2022, WDN Zimbabwe also launched the Zimbabwe policy round tables initiative in June 2022 for female leaders from various political parties and organisations across Zimbabwe to increase knowledge and network of women leaders to enhance their influence for gender responsive policies towards women’s political participation.

“Policy solutions identified included the development of a model policy with standard operating procedures that political parties can adopt to prevent, respond, and safeguard women from effects of violence against women in politics, development of a standard/model policy of a gender-responsive candidate selection policy and gender-responsive budgeting advocacy for political parties’ resources,” she said.

To build on the WDN-ZW and WDN Africa policy round table outcomes, commitment, and advocacy momentum and facilitate for implementation of policy advocacy priorities that emerged from the policy round tables, WDN ZW in March 2023 commenced implementation of an intervention to increase the capacity of 30 gender champions consisting of civil society actors, government officials, and community leaders to promote gender responsive policies that address barriers to women’s full participation in public life in Harare metropolitan province in Zimbabwe.

The initiative objectives are to train approximately 30 gender champions(including males and females) on gender-responsive policy making and provide technical support to promote gender-responsive policy interventions to address barriers to women’s full participation in public life in Zimbabwe and to launch a media campaign to raise awareness on gender responsive policies to address barriers to women’s full participation in public life in Zimbabwe.

“The intervention recruited, conducted a situation analysis on training needs of identified gender champions, developed tailor-made training curriculum, trained gender champions responsive policy making using Gender Responsive policy-making and transformative alliances tool kit developed by the International Republican Institute, now providing ongoing gender champions with technical support for trained gender champions to implement the action plans developed,” she added.

WDN Zimbabwe trained a total of 30 gender champions on gender-responsive policymaking from 28 to 29 July 2023. Gender champions trained were from Zengeza, Chitungwiza, Mabvuku, Dzivarasekwa, Avondale, Norton, Zimre Park, Cold Comfort, Glen views 3, 1 and 7; Budiriro, Seke, Hatcliffe, Greendale and Hatfield areas in Harare consisting of university students, college lecturers, politically aspiring candidates, civil society organisations, journalists and community members. Two (2) men and one (1) woman with visual impairment also participated as both gender champions and co-facilitators in the training.

 

The gender-responsive policymaking training workshop sessions covered Module 1 on Introduction to Gender Responsive Policymaking, Module 2 on Problem Identification, Module 3 on Policy Design, Module 4 on Policy Adoption, Module 5 on Policy Implementation and Oversight, and Module 6 on Transformative Alliances. After the training, gender champions developed action plans which they are in the process of implementing in their communities to apply the knowledge and skills gained.

 

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende