As a way of contributing to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 that provides for peace, justice and strong institutions, Heal Zimbabwe conducted a training for its women led Community Action Accountability Teams (CAATs) in Bikita on 19 July 2019.The training sought to strengthen the capacities of women and youths to effectively hold Duty Bearers to account and also empower women with conflict mediation that help enhance better service delivery. The objectives of the training were to strengthen the capacity of women to effectively hold duty bearers to account and to empower them with conflict mediation skills. A total of 60 women were trained.
The training comes at a time when CAATS in Masvingo Province (Zaka, Gutu and Bikita) have intensified campaigns on the need for effective service delivery and accountability from duty bearers. The training took participants through the process of conflict mapping as well as stakeholder mapping exercises that allow citizens to identify stakeholders to engage when addressing a social accountability issue in the community. Participants noted that in most cases, due to political polarization, some leaders were not keen to engage citizens on issues that range from service delivery, food aid among others. Among the topical issues that came out was the issue of corruption especially in relation to distribution of food aid and farming inputs. In some cases, food aid registration was done in a partisan manner and citizens were made to pay exorbitant fares for the transportation of food aid by some councillors working in cahoots with some Village heads.
As part of resolutions, CAAT members agreed to initiate dialogues in earnest to tackle the issues raised. The dialogue meeting will specifically target duty bearers such as Traditional leaders and Councillors. With the appreciation that issues such as corruption are deep seated, CAAT members also resolved to make formal reports to the newly constituted Zimbabwe Ant-Corruption Commission (ZACC) as well as other independent commissions that support democracy such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) for other human rights related violations. Added to this, CAAT members were also going to create synergies with local stakeholders such as the police and Rural District Councils (RDCs) in a bid to popularize the need for social accountability among duty bearers and also to build peace.
A CAAT is a group of women and youths from diverse political and socio-economic backgrounds working together to build peace and demand social accountability from duty bearers.CAAT members have been trained in Community social accountability, governance and democracy.