In a move that is aimed at improving leadership, accountability and good governance, Heal Zimbabwe has taken Social Accountability trainings to Tsholotsho North. On 27 and 28 September 2018, Heal Zimbabwe conducted a Policy engagement and accountability training for 25 duty bearers. The trainings are part of Heal Zimbabwe’s objective to enhance better social service delivery and improve transparency and accountability among local leaders. The Duty Bearers included 5 Traditional leaders, 4 Village Health Workers, 3 Disaster Risk Management committee members, 4 Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) chairpersons, 4 School Development Committee (SDC) members and 5 Health committee members.
The Duty Bearers noted that while Social Accountability was a key ingredient in the attainment of an accountable leadership, political interference especially on the work of Traditional leaders fueled unaccountable leadership.”While the constitution is explicit on constitutional roles of Traditional leaders (Section 281 (2)b) that help entrench accountable practices, such as not acting in a partisan manner, political interference remains a serious problem”, said one Traditional leader. Duty Bearers also noted that while Section 75 and 76 of the constitution provides for the right to education and health, the realization and enjoyment of those rights remains a pipe dream. Added to this, Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 4 provide for good health and well being and quality education respectively. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (or Global Goals for Sustainable Development) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly as part of a wider 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”Most schools in Tsholotsho still bar children from attending lessons due to non-payment of school fees, even the school fees payment plan for most parents are too steep given the current economic situation. At the local clinic, there is no medication as the clinic authorities do not even inform the community on problems affecting the smooth operation of the clinic”, said one School Development Committee member.
Some of the issues that came out during the training include community exclusion in key decision making processes thereby hindering effective participation and respect of human rights. Notable examples include partisan allocation of developmental projects which result in lack of trust and conflicts. As a way forward, the Duty Bearers resolved to conduct dialogue meetings with SDCs and local clinic representatives where they can discuss issues that hinder the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms such as the right to education and health.
Heal Zimbabwe will continue to conduct forums for interface meetings where duty bearers and community members dialogue and discuss on pertinent issues affecting their communities.