A community social accountability team trained by Heal Zimbabwe in Tsholotsho North ward 1 has made strides in dispelling false reports of partisan food aid distribution that has been reported in the area since 2016. On 21 March 2019, the Social accountability team conducted a community dialogue meeting that was attended by the ward Councillor, Shelton Ncube and Headman Lovemore Ndlovu.
The dialogue was a follow on activity on a planning meeting conducted by the accountability team on the 13th of March 2019 where community members singled out the partisan manner in which food aid for the elderly was being distributed in the area. The planning meeting noted that in most cases, people as young as 25 years were benefitting from the food aid programme at the expense of the elderly in the community. To proffer lasting solutions for this challenge, the community then agreed to conduct a dialogue with the local councillor and headman of the area to seek clarification on the manner in which the food aid was being distributed.
In his opening remarks at the dialogue, Social Accountability team chairperson, Benard Moyo underscored the importance of the dialogue as it afforded community members an opportunity to interface with their leaders and collectively deliberate on issues that stifle development. “This dialogue is one among many platforms that the Social Accountability team in ward 1 will create to ensure that there is transparency and feedback from our leaders. Thank you Councillor Ncube and Headman Ndlovu for your participation,” he said. Councillor Ncube then took community members through the registration process and went on to produce registers for beneficiaries. The register revealed that the food aid distribution targeting the elderly was being done in a fair manner. The Councillor further implored community members to report any case of partisan food aid distribution to his office and assured the community that he had already submitted a request to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) for grain since the area was poised to receive a poor harvest. Headman Ndlovu further reinforced the Councillor’s commitment to ensure fair food aid distribution by also committing to raise the issue during a meeting with Village heads in the area on the 2nd of April 2019.Other issues discussed at the dialogue meeting include the progress made by Tsholotsho Rural District Council (RDC) in refurbishing the road that links the ward to Tsholotsho centre. On this matter, both the Councillor and Headman revealed that indeed they had tabled the issue during a Council meeting and they were yet to receive a more concrete feedback from the RDC.
The social accountability dialogues are meant to help inculcate a culture of transparency and accountability between duty bearers and rights holders. They also help build trust and confidence and help in the development of communities. Heal Zimbabwe through its trained Social accountability teams will continue conducting activities that promote social accountability in districts such as Gokwe, Makoni, Chipinge, Buhera, Zaka, Bikita and Gutu among other areas.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe