I am determined to remain a councillor

Joana a councillor in ZimbabweJoana Mawira was elected as a local Councillor in Zimbabwe and worked with our partner the Women in Politics Support Unit after she experienced political violence.

“Although I had held a number of positions within my political party, it had never occurred to me to contest in elections until some people in my ward encouraged me to run for council. I ran against three male candidates in my political party’s primary election before contesting a male candidate from a different political party in the final election process.

“The elections were peaceful but then violence erupted. My house was stoned and my children were concerned about my security. But I am determined to remain a Councillor and appreciate that the situation is peaceful now. However, I am the only woman in the Epworth local authority; the other six councilors are men.

“After the workshop with Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU), where we discussed the need to involve community members in local decision-making, I decided to hold a meeting with ward members to talk about the challenges they were facing so that I could present them before the council. The council does not have any resources but I will continue to discuss these issues so that when resources are available the council can prioritise the needs of people in my ward.

“I am eager to learn more about my role as a Councillor and how I can work with women in my ward. I think it is important to raise women’s voices and encourage them to participate in decision making so that their lives can be better.

“I also hope working with WiPSU will help to reduce the violence in the ward. Sometimes young people engage in violent activities because they have little information or have a lot of free time on their hands. Providing resources and information will contribute to making women’s lives better and ending poverty.”

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  • Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU)

    Zimbabwe, Africa
    WiPSU has worked since 2002 to increase the number of women participating in politics and the local government. They do this by holding workshops to help women develop their leadership skills and contribute towards their professional development.