Since time immemorial, CBOs have played a very significant role in the development of rural communities in Zimbabwe. They have been deeply involved in activities that have impacted on the livelihood of rural people. CBOs are formal voluntary social groups that are found in communities. They differ in size, objective and degree of interaction among members. In these organizations, members have the ability to influence ideas and actions of others with the purpose to plan, implement and monitor social and economic development programmes and provide technical and financial helps to the communities. CBOs positively affect the process of rural change through increase in income, improvement of health, social cohesion, nutrition and literacy of the people.
Cognizant of this immense role played by CBOs in local communities, Heal Zimbabwe conducted a three day capacity development training workshop on peace, conflict management and Value for Money (VFM) for six CBOs drawn from six provinces. Provinces represented were Matebeleland North, Mashonaland East, Masvingo, Manicaland and Harare. The capacity building training contribute towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 16 that provides for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
The training took CBOs through practical concepts of peace building such as conflict mapping, stakeholder analysis, early warning and early response as well as the critical role that CBOs can play in mainstreaming peace building in their various activities. Some of the conflict issues identified by participants that pose hurdles to the attainment of peace include land disputes, violence from artisan miners, and politicization of food aid, early child marriages and corruption within Rural District Councils (RDCs). Participants further noted that these challenges fuelled political polarization and remained a threat towards the realization of socially cohesive communities. As strategies to mitigate these challenges, participants identified existing institutions at the local level such as Traditional leaders, RDCs, religious groups among others as stakeholders that can help mitigate and minimize such conflicts. For each conflict identified, participants identified specific conflict management mechanism to be adopted to help resolve them. Some of these mechanisms include mediation, negotiation, and arbitration among others.
The CBOs peace capacity building activities by Heal Zimbabwe come at a time when the organization has intensified its peace building initiatives in local communities. The organization has already started implementing peace initiatives in local communities by engaging various stakeholders such as Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), peace clubs, community watch committees, Human Rights Monitors (HRMs), Women Safe Spaces for Reconciliation (WSSR) and political parties. These initiatives are meant to build a culture of tolerance and an appreciation of diversity among different groups in the communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe