Macrad conducted a women’s dialogue meeting on “Enhancing the role of Women in Society” in Gutu District, Gutu South and North constituency on the 16th of November 2019. Gutu district is the third largest district in Masvingo Province, southern of Zimbabwe. The area is affected by drought due to Cyclone Idai disaster and environmental damage. The dialogue meeting was attended by 207 participants, 180 women and 27 men. Councillor Chimwango, village head Kandisai, Makanda, Mukadziwasha, Runyowa and Gona and ward development committees’ representatives attended the meeting. Macrad keen to develop the capabilities of women in the economic, social, and political fields and consider their capabilities as an investment project in development. The agenda of the dialogue meeting was to change and raise awareness, and enhance women’s ability to raise their voices in decision making.
The village head Mr Kandisai alludes that, to achieve a society based on citizenship equality and participation, we should abandon the stereotypical classification of issues, and to consider every human being and every individual, man and women, to be active and productive citizen with the right and responsibility in the service of society. The speeches were followed by an open dialogue between the women participating in the forum on one hand and councillor, village head, ward development committee and Mrs Martha Mafuta a community leader on the other hand, in which the panellists answered questions according to their long experience in political and developmental work. Women attended the meeting asserts that, recent cyclone disaster affected parts of Gutu it’s a lesson on its own for community leaders and relevant institutions to consider women representatives in all their planning in future. Participants discussed issues on empowerment through agriculture and growing of drought resistant crops to reduce hunger. Patriarch, lack of education and women empowerment were mentioned as the most dominant barrier to women emancipation. During the meeting it was revealed that women lack confidence and skills for them to participate in public forums. On the way forward women agreed to engage headman and chiefs to negotiate land for tseu use. Headman Kandisai, Makanda, Mukadziwasha, Runyowa and Gona agreed to allocate land for women involved in cooperative (group) farming. Macrad also distributed farming inputs to affected women farmers in the area and encourage women to utilise the little portion of land they control. Macrad also noticed that traditional leaders should be capacitate with gender mainstreaming issues hence gender justice in natural resource sharing within communities will be reduced.
Source: Masvingo Centre for Research and Community Development (MACRAD)