The Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) was in Goromonzi North Ward 16 for its first in a series of Pre-Budget Consultation Seminars being held in conjunction with partners Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) and Women in Land. The core thrust of this programme is to enhance citizen driven public resource management for sustainable rural livelihoods by encouraging participation by rural and peri urban women and youth. Research has shown that participation by these two groups has been low although they are the majority in the population.
It is envisaged that the training sessions will result in strengthened citizen agency through information dissemination and increased awareness, ensuring local residents influence decision making at local and national levels.
The seminar, which was graced by opinion leaders and a representative from the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, was held in line with Covid-19 regulations, began with an address from a community health officer on the Covid-19 pandemic. This was followed by remarks by the host, Simukai Trust a livelihoods agency working in the community.
The facilitator of the session, O’Brien Makore, an Urban and Rural Planner by training, then gave a background of the programme and its aims and took the participants through a questionnaire that sought to interrogate amongst other objectives, the level of participation in previous budget processes be they at council or national levels. He then illustrated through an impromptu skit how difficult it would be for authorities to articulate local needs if they have no information on what it is that make up their priority areas in a development sense in the community, hence it was important to participate in the budgetary processes. Mr. Makore then gave a breakdown of the budget formulation processes that are undertaken at local and government levels.
During the question and answer session it emerged that a lot still needs to be done in ensuring information dissemination of key events and processes such as the budget consultative programmes by council or national government. The issue of gender budgeting was also raised as an area in need of raising awareness on.
The event concluded with a roadmap of events to follow which would include community led training by identified persons and subsequent post budget analysis.
Source: Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET)