Community members from Tsholotsho North working with a Community Peace Club (CPC) established by a Community working with Heal Zimbabwe have attributed partisan distribution of food aid for the elderly to Village head Secretaries. This was revealed during a Social Cohesion dialogue conducted in Tsholotsho North on 8 September 2021. The dialogue meeting was attended by the Councillor, Village heads, an Agritex Extension Officer and 30 community members.
Participants noted that in some instances during compilation of food aid beneficiaries lists, Village head secretaries deliberately omit deserving beneficiaries and replace them with their relatives. ”Village head secretaries are fuelling partisan food distribution for the elderly. The way the list of beneficiaries is compiled is not very clear. We have elderly people in our villages that are not benefitting yet some younger individuals are benefitting from the food aid meant for the elderly”, said one participant. Participants also noted that this issue was fuelling most conflicts in the area. The meeting also presented an opportunity for an Agritex Extension officer to give feedback on the Ministry of Agriculture farm inputs scheme. Going forwad, government is going to distribute inputs to groups as a way of enhancing yields unlike before where the scheme was only targeting individuals. As part of way forwad, the dialogue meeting resolved that there was need to continue monitoring food aid distribution as a way of safeguarding against abuse and discrimination. The Councillor was tasked to engage the Department of Social Welfare and come up with mechanisms to address this rampant practice.
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