Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Rural Women. The 15th of October has been established by the UN General Assembly as a day to celebrate the critical role and contribution of rural women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty. The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identify gender equality and women’s empowerment as critical in increasing agricultural output and incomes of small-scale food producers. Rural women remain key players in the development of their communities.
HZT works with women in peace building and conflict transformation interventions as a way of empowering them and ensuring that they are not vulnerable to abuse and maltreatment especially around electoral periods. These capacity building activities have seen women taking a leading role in peace building by establishing Peace Gardens, Women Safe Spaces and Community Peace Clubs. These platforms have helped to address the gender disparity that exists in rural communities where culturally women are supposed to take non-active roles in development and peace building initiatives.
HZT shall continue supporting initiatives and efforts that seek to recognize and empower disadvantaged women especially those that are in rural areas. The organisation also fully subscribes to Section 246 of the Zimbabwean constitution which gives the Zimbabwe Gender Commission a responsibility “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”.
The setting up of the Gender Commission presents an opportunity for gender programming which will help advance the cause for women. HZT calls upon the Government to fully operationalize the institution so that it advances the plight of women and meaningfully empower them socially, economically, politically and investigate possible violations of rights relating to gender and do everything necessary to promote gender equity.