A community working with Heal Zimbabwe in Tsholotsho North has made strides in addressing conflicts emanating from the management of the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE).As part of demanding accountability on the use of monetary resources generated through the CAMPFIRE programme, a Community Peace Club (CPC) working with Heal Zimbabwe conducted a dialogue meeting on 18 February 2022.
The dialogue meeting was a follow-on activity on a Conflict Analysis and Resilience Assessment (CARA) meeting conducted in 2021 that noted that mismanagement of CMPFIRE resources was the major driver of conflict in the community. The dialogue meeting was a feedback meeting on the Campfire audit review meeting that was conducted on 17 February 2022 at Sodaka where Auditors from the Tsholotsho North Rural District Council (RDC) addressed communities. The Campfire committee chairperson reported that the audit by auditors revealed that two water tanks out of the five purchased by through CAMPFIRE funds for the local clinic and school block were missing. The dialogue meeting noted that development projects such as the construction of a classroom block at a local school have been derailed owing to the mismanagement of CAMPFIRE resources.”For long we have waited for construction of a classroom block to improve access to education for our children but to date, very little has been done”, added one community member. The dialogue meeting also reported that more CAMPFIRE resources were going to be disbursed to commence the construction of a classroom block. As a way forwad, the auditors highlighted that they were going to share findings of their investigations with RDC officials and ensure that the matter is concluded before more resources are disbursed.
Other issues that came out during the trainings include the worsening economic environment that inhibits the participation of community members in key meetings. Communities also highlighted that there was need to decentralise the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) voter registration centres to wards and villages. The CAMPFIRE 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 and 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.
The meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to create dialogues among citizens as this helps to 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. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe