Women have the power to heal communities

More than 3,000 women meet in Harare later this month to share the stories of people who are changing lives for the better – often without recognition or support.

The conference focuses on the role women play in development and will propose ways to give them more recognition, says Linda Chaya-Dawanyi, the founder of the Southern Africa Dialogue (SAOD).

Dubbed ‘Back in the Stilettos’, the meeting happens at a time when women are still bearing the brunt of the harsh economic climate and politically induced intolerance.

“Women have been making strides in social investment in Africa though their efforts remain unnoticed and the conference seeks to improve and make heard the voice of women in the local community,” said Chaya-Dawanyi, adding that a competitive nature sometimes led some women to withhold their support of others.

The conference, on October 24 and 25, involves non-governmental organisations that focus on public education for sustainable development. It will aim to forge relationships between ‘ordinary’ women and their professional counterparts.

The event will also be an opportunity to hear the stories of and celebrate women who, with limited resources, manage to heal their communities. “Featured in this year’s conference is a young woman who is an ex-street kid and now is an upcoming jazz artist,” she said. “She has turned her experiences as an orphan into a stepping stone and now uses music to help children on the streets and in prison.

Chaya-Dawanyi said what is unique with the project is that it examines and debates a range of unsupported activities in various communities that are making a significant impact in changing people’s lives.

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