The ‘Women Demanding Accountable Governance’ project is being conducted in 6 wards of Tsholotsho district, 2 wards of Plumtree Town and 2 wards of Umzingwane District as well as 2 wards of Bulawayo targeting women as primary beneficiaries, men, and solution providers as secondary beneficiaries. The project seeks to equip women with advocacy skills and to create a platform for women to engage in dialogue with state actors so that they provide rights aligned services to the communities. These platforms will lead to communities, especially women engaging and fully participating in the development of their communities.
Highlight of the Project
A number of notable changes have been observed in women that have contributed to social change. Women in the Tsholotsho continue to play a pivotal role in claiming their Constitutional rights by advocating for better social service delivery. This change is evidenced by the public interface meetings that were conducted and convened by women to question relevant state actors on issues affecting them. During these forums, women were able to self-mobilize, demand accountability, and speak out in their communities. Through the trainings on local government processes and gender budgeting, women are now actively involved in community development structures as they have realised the benefits as well as the dangers of not actively participating in community development. Women are also actively ensuring the success of their advocacy initiatives. Thus, the intervention, has been instrumental in building a change in both men and women’s attitudes towards the empowerment and participation of women in development ultimately leading to women who fully participate in community development initiatives.
- Increased knowledge of women on local government planning processes and their responsibilities in planning processes. The knowledge gained helped women to monitor the implementation of local government plans and enhanced their capacity to demand feedback from their elected government representatives during the public interface meetings.
- Women with the skill to effectively participate in council budget consultative meetings. These skills enabled women to participate in the 2020 budget consultative meetings at local level. Through the consultative meetings, women were able to highlight issues affecting them in their communities. The issues highlighted included inaccessibility of clean and portable water, health services, income-generating projects among other issues. Thus, the participation of women in budget consultative meetings also brought about social change as these platforms were usually reserved for discussing hard issues with men only. This is evidence by women in ward 10 who forcefully participated in the consultative meetings even though they were not invited.
- Women with increased knowledge on their Constitutional rights. Through the Constitutional awareness activities conducted in the district, women have made the link between their rights and actions that they can take towards demanding for the respect and fulfilment of their rights. Women were better able to engage with duty bearers on issues affecting them during the public interface meetings. The engagement revealed that women have knowledge on their Constitutional rights, and they have the agency to demand for the respect and fulfilment of those rights.