Heal Zimbabwe statement on the International Day of Rural Women.
On Saturday 15 October 2016, HZT joined the rest of the world in commemorating the United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Rural Women. The UN international Day of Rural Women celebrates and honours the importance of rural women in enhancing agricultural and rural development.
HZT acknowledges that women are major players in ensuring community development. They play an important role in peace building right from the home to the society at large. HZT works with diverse groups of rural women all around Zimbabwe and has established Women Safe Spaces for Reconciliation (WSSR), these are platforms were women of different age groups, backgrounds and political persuasions meet fortnightly to discuss pertinent issues that affect them specifically as women. These women work as Community Accountability Action Teams (CAAT) that raise awareness and demand for social accountability, good governance and democracy within their communities.
To commemorate the day, HZT women safe spaces from Gutu, Bikita and Zaka held 4 public awareness clean – up campaigns on Social Accountability and Peace building where they raised awareness among community members on the importance of peace, the need to demand social accountability from duty bearers and active community participation in developmental issues. With the assistance of HZT, the women have managed to mediate conflicts and conduct peace dialogues within their communities. Through door to door campaigns, the Women safe spaces members have also managed to build the confidence of other women to actively participate in governance, social accountability and democracy issues.
HZT continues to implement activities that seek to build social cohesion and empower women to actively participate in peace building, governance and democracy issues as they are usually side-lined. In light of the current challenges facing women, HZT calls upon the Government to fully operationalise the Gender Commission, a commission charged to conduct research into issues relating to gender and social justice, and to recommend changes to laws and practices which lead to discrimination based on gender.