As part of making positive contributions towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3 and 4 that provide for good health and wellbeing and quality education respectively, Heal Zimbabwe in collaboration with Family Visions Child Trust from the 12th -13th of March 2020, trained 100 School Development Committees (SDC) and Health Centre Committees (HCC) members drawn from 13 schools and two health centre. The trainings were part of an initiative to strengthen the capacity of SDC’s and HCC’s and foster a culture of social accountability.
The training also broadly fed into the ongoing United Nations (UN) commemorations on its 75 anniversary that is running under the theme,”UN @75: Decade of Action on SDG’s, shaping our future together”. The campaign seeks to examine the SDGs and evaluate progress made as well as existing gaps. The training took participants through various forms of accountability, leadership qualities and the significance of social accountability in service delivery. The meeting was also attended by representatives from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education who also shared extensively on the Education act and how SDC’s were supposed to comply with the Education Act when making key decisions at schools and ensuring that the right to education that is exclusively provided for in Section 75 of the constitution is upheld.
Issues that came out during the training include how in most cases some schools turn down donations on the basis of political affiliation from interested individuals. Participants noted that this has stalled development and deprived children from fully enjoying the inalienable right to education. Participants also noted that the high cost of living made it difficult for both schools and health facilities to improve services as in most cases government through the responsible ministries delays disbursing resources. In some cases, due to the hyper inflationary environment, by the time resources are disbursed, cost of necessities would have risen sharply. Participants also lamented the short term of office for both SDC and HCC members which is just a year. They noted that in most cases, the term of office is limited for most SDC to implement robust developmental projects at schools and health institutions.
The Social Accountability trainings are part of Heal Zimbabwe’s advocacy initiatives that seeks to promote social cohesion and improve service delivery within local communities. Cohesive communities help establish harmony so that people are tolerant of each other and live together in peace. Added to this, the trainings also seek to bring the voices of citizens into governance, enabling citizens to monitor and provide feedback on the delivery of services, and helping to build trust between rights holders and duty bearers.