Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) were in today’s continuation of a three-day Gender Policy Development Workshop cautioned to desist from forced entry in Umzingwane District, without adhering to rightful procedures required to implement activities in the area.

The session led by Mbekezeli Mthunzi, sought to bring out the effects of such intrusions on addressing gender disparities in the district as part of policy formulation. Mthunzi questioned the provision of engendered data and information, prior to the alleged cases where CSOs end up using illegal routes to operate in the District, all in a bid to plough development into the community.

“Information that is sent out to potential donors must be used in determining forms of assistance needed for a community. We need to update our records as a council and organize ourselves in identifying operational areas for organisations intending to assist us and not wait for them to impose on us,” said Umzingwane District Ward 20 Councilor, Nqabeni Nkala.

A lengthy debate on unapproved operations of CSOs in the District constituted the plenary session where councilors bemoaned poor communication channels between the stakeholders responsible for managing donor interventions.

“We have to sit in the committee that determines whether or not a CSO is permitted to operate in a certain Ward,” said Umzingwane Ward 6 Councilor, Amanda Khumalo. “As Councilors we can not avail ourselves to a CSO program or meeting when we would not have been fully briefed on what it entails.”

Participants encouraged dialogue between CSOs and local authorities in project area selection considering council has all the necessary information on the district and best suited in determining the operational areas with utmost need of aid.

CSOs were implored to maintain neutrality when granted the opportunity to operate in Umzingwane District and to respect laid out procedures that enable them to bring development to the community.

Source: Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD)