Heal Zimbabwe has stepped up its efforts in promoting social accountability in Tsholotsho North. From 26-27 September 2019, Heal Zimbabwe conducted a series of social accountability trainings for its community Social Accountability Teams (SATs) from two wards. The trainings sought to equip them with skills, knowledge and an appreciation of the importance of social accountability in the attainment of peace and development.
The trainings are a follow on activity on a social accountability project that is being rolled out in target districts across the country. The trainings are also part of Heal Zimbabwe’s efforts towards the fulfillment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10 which seeks to reduce inequality. Given the patriarchal nature of most local communities, most women and youths shun participating in key processes such as budget consultations and other community meetings that help promote accountability and transparency. It is against this background that the organization conducted two social accountability meetings for its Social Accountability teams in Tsholotsho North. The trainings were attended by 25 women and 15 men.
One of the issues that came out during the trainings is the worsening economic environment that inhibits the participation of community members in key meetings. Participants also lamented on the lack of transparency of funds from the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE).This programme aims to help rural communities to manage their resources especially wildlife for their own local development. Its objective is to alleviate rural poverty by giving rural communities autonomy over resource management. CAMPFIRE also seeks to demonstrate to them that wildlife is not necessarily a hindrance to arable agriculture but a resource that could be managed to provide income and food. Participants noted that in most cases the process of disbursing proceeds by the Rural District Council from CAMPFIRE programme is usually discreet and always take time thereby raising suspicion from the community. Other issues that came out during the training include the poor road infrastructure and the looming drought. As part of the resolutions, participants unanimously agreed to engage the local councilor on the issue of CAMPFIRE and also convene dialogues to address issues raised where community leaders will be invited.
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,Tsholotsho and Gutu among other areas.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe