Wedza residents will never be the same again . . . as stakeholders collaborate to meaningfully involve them in decision making on critical issues concerning them

Wedza Residents Development Initiative Trust (WERDIT) in collaboration with Savanna Trust recently met the duty bearers in Wedza with an overall aim to obtain their buy to implement a local government and social delivery project. The action is aimed at strengthening the role of community members in local governance processes for improved service delivery. The duty bearers who were drawn by this meeting include the District Administrator (DA), Council Chief Executive Officer and chairperson, traditional leaders, Ministries of women, youth and health, councillors, District Development Fund (DDF) and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

The meeting enabled the appreciation and buy in by stakeholders in Wedza on the project entitled, Citizen Engagement and Local Governance Capacity Building Project in Wedza District. The partners also managed to share the proposed work plan with the stakeholders and the meeting also allowed partners to have an appreciation of council findings during budget consultations and priorities for 2019 as well as understanding other service delivery issues in Wedza.

The DA, Mr. Kenneth Shumba, welcomed the partners in the district and assured other local non-state actors in the district, that the partners have come to complement their work and not to compete with them. He encouraged the spirit of working together in ensuring residents play a key role in making decisions to do with their council and other development issues. Against a background of a council shoe string budget, the D.A appreciated the intervention of the partners and expressed hope that their intervention will go a long in positively transforming the lives of Wedza residents. The sentiments were also shared with the council and all stakeholders who attended the meeting.

WERDIT and Savanna Trust are set to meet councillors this Wednesday from 9 wards, who could not attend the meeting due to other commitments in their wards. Under this project, local community members in Wedza’s 15 wards will be engaged through Community Dialogue meetings in all the 15 wards, to come up with a single priority project to be advocated for Wedza Rural District Council and other stakeholder’s support, to include financially. In the same vein, the project will also train the 15 recently elected councillors on their roles and responsibilities in relation to local governance. It is envisaged that as a result of this training, local councillors will be able to respond to, represent, priorities and fulfil the needs and aspirations of the citizens.

With the facilitation of Savanna Trust, a theatre for social change ensemble and WERDIT, a district advocacy team which will work in collaboration with the implementing organisations will be established. The CAT members will be comprised of volunteers from community members, WERDIT structures, people living with disabilities, women, youth and members of other community based organisations in Wedza. It is hoped that through capacity building in advocacy and monitoring the Community Advocacy Team (CAT) will effectively engage local authorities, track and monitor various developmental, council budgets and projects in the district thereby contributing to increased transparency and accountability in the rural district council.

Source: Wedza Residents Development Initiative Trust (WERDIT)

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