Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe
Location: Zimbabwe – Mashonaland Central, Midlands and Masvingo provinces
Partner: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)
Politics in Zimbabwe is surrounded by extreme violence and repression limiting the ability of citizens, especially women to participate. In recent elections, women have been targets of political violence because of their direct political affiliation or that of their family members. The violence includes:
- Sexual abuse
- Being forced out of their homes
- Destruction of property.
More than 10,000 cases of politically motivated violence against women have been recorded since March 2008, but many more go unreported.
Women want peace in their communities but with limited knowledge on peacebuilding they cannot influence local and national peace initiatives that the government has committed to implement.
What Womankind is doing
Womankind is working with WCoZ to enable women to participate in peacebuilding in their communities and take up concerns to policy makers.
With our partner we are:
- Providing information to 4,200 women so they can develop and implement local peacebuilding plans
- Training 36 staff members from WCoZ member organisations so they can support women in communities
- Raising awareness of 135 police officers and health staff on issues faced by women survivors of political violence
- Increasing awareness of at least 1,300,000 members of the public on the impact of political violence against women
What we have achieved so far
36 women members of the WCoZ have been trained on human rights and peacebuilding techniques and are fully engaged with the use of the peacebuilding manual developed for this project. These women have conducted over 81 workshops in 21 districts reaching 4,200 women and 483 men. Women in these districts are now discussing ways to improve and guarantee peace in their communities. For example, in one of the districts they’ve decided that teenagers won’t be allowed to attend political rallies.
A cross-provincial networking workshop was organised where over 50 women (36 members of the WCoZ and 14 communitiy leaders and councillors) attended. Attendees compared challenges and approaches they were developing in their own communities. The WCoZ gained a better understanding of the key issues that local women face and the kind of support they need. This information has been used in the brochures, posters and policy briefs which have been produced and are being used to engage public officials, the Organ on National Healing as well as the police, health and judiciary officers in the provinces and at national level to ensure the information gathered at the ground level feeds into policy development.
For the International Day of Peace, WCoZ produced a press statement and a radio programme reaching out to over 30,000 people on the importance of women’s participation in peacebuilding initiatives.
“At this moment in time, women in Zimbabwe would really need more support around peacebuilding from our partners around the world. We have a small window for opportunity between now and the next elections.” Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe