A Community Peace Club established by communities working in Gutu ward 6 has made strides to address rampant cases of partisan conduct of School Development Committees (SDCs) and Basic Education and Assistance Module Committees in Gutu. To address this challenge, the CPC conducted a dialogue on 8 September 2021. The meeting was attended by SDC committee members, a Department of Social Development (DSD) representative, six village heads and 48 Community members.
The objective of the dialogue meeting was for the community to collectively identify key issues that were fuelling conflicts and proffer possible solutions. Participants noted that owing to poor community participation in SDC meetings, some errant school authorities working in cahoots with SDC Committees were imposing pupils on the BEAM program.” Here in Gutu, Community members do not actively participate in SDC meetings and this has seen some school authorities and SDC committees cherry picking pupils who must benefit from the BEAM program. This has created serious conflicts here”, said one participant. It also came out during the dialogue meeting that Duty bearers such as Village heads and SDC Committee members were not aware of their responsibilities in protecting children’s right to education. As part of way forwad, the dialogue meeting resolved that there was need for a robust awareness raising on the importance of non-political participation in school governance processes as a strategy to promote social cohesion. There is also need to train Village heads, BEAM Committees and SDC in school governance, children’s rights and the importance of community participation as a way of countering cases of politicization of SDC Committees and imposition of pupils on the BEAM program.
The meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to empower local communities to help safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities. Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. The platforms also equip communities with relevant information on covid-19, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human rights. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe