Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE), this week joined the nation and the rest of the world in commemorating the International Women’s Day (IWD) under the theme: I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights. The International Women’s Day which is marked annually on the 8th of March is a global event to celebrate and support women’s rights, while calling for the fulfilment of gender equality. WALPE hosted three different events in Nyanga, Wedza and Chiredzi as it strives to empower, educate and elevate women aspiring to run for public office.
Our celebrations kicked off on the 8th of March 2020 in Sedze, Nyanga where through our Women Leadership Network (WALAN) members, we managed to mobilise 150 people, 120 women and 30 men. This event was graced by different stakeholders including officials from the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation, Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium enterprises, traditional leaders and youth led-community based organizations.
Several activities were lined up including fun run, poems, dramas and presentations from different stakeholders on progress made at community level towards the achievement of gender equality. WALPE also set up a women’s leadership clinic to provide participants with information on the organization’s work and services it provides.
One of the major highlights of the event were testimonies from women trained in transformative leadership by WALPE in 2019. They explained how they successfully contested for community leadership positions after the trainings and are now serving their communities.
The men who were present also appreciated the work WALPE is doing of providing technical and practical trainings that empower women to fully participate in leadership and decision-making processes and the publicly pledged to support the women.
As part of the IWD commemorations, WALPE in conjunction with WLSA facilitated male engagement sessions for gender equality in Wedza on the 9th of March 2020. The public discussion platforms were attended by a total of 100 men.
The participants were engaged to get their buy-in to support electoral reforms that promote women’s full participation in electoral processes. The men had a general idea of what WALPE does through being informed by their wives and other aspiring women leaders. They were grateful that the organization managed to create a platform for them to better understand the programme and how it benefits the community as a whole.
One of the highlights from this engagement was when men confessed that they had misconstrued the purpose of the programme as they thought that WALPE was teaching women to neglect their duties as wives. After the organization took them through its work, the men had a better understanding of the niche and most of them publicly pledged to support women leadership. The men also requested joint discussion forums with women so that they are all at the same page and together push the agenda of equality.
On the 10th of March 2020, the WALPE team continued with the IWD commemorations in Chiredzi. The event was attended by 200 people, 120 women and 80 men who took time to participate in different activities lined up for the day.
Also present at the event was councilor Mr. G. Mutubuki who applauded WALPE for coming up with the initiative to enhance the leadership skills of women and promised to mobilise other men in the area to support women leadership.
The highlight of the day was the sporting activities that included the sack-race and the fun-run where men had to carry children and compete with women. This was to serve as a lesson to men that women usually fail to compete with men because of the burden of domestic and unpaid care work. All the men who contested whilst carrying children on their back lost the race to women.
Source: Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE)