ZWB: improving the lives of marginalised women

The Zimbabwe Women’s Bureau director, Ronica Mumbire, envisions a society where women are self-reliant and able to sustain themselves.

ZWB Director, Ronica Mumbire.
ZWB Director, Ronica Mumbire.

Mumbire believes that, once empowered, women have the potential to change their circumstances and improve the living standards of their families.

She was speaking to The Zimbabwean after her organisation scooped the Alliance for Coalition Building award at the Zimbabwe Southern Africa Development Community Gender Protocol Summit last week

The award, hosted by Gender Links, recognised the ZWB for its three-year capacity building and empowerment programme targeting marginalised women in Hopley Farm, a resettlement on the outskirts of Harare.

An estimated 15,000 residents have been resettled in Hopley since 2005, following Operation Murambitsvina which displaced more than 700,000 people in most urban centres.

Mumbire said the recognition was nothing compared to the satisfaction and feeling of success of changing lives.

Said Mumbire: “Our vision is to see Zimbabwean women capacitated with the right skills and support to reach their maximum potential. We believe that women’s empowerment is the benchmark for development.”

The 2014 Gender Links awards recognised 10 women and two men whose work promoted gender equity through women’s rights, leadership and alliance and coalition building, and raising awareness of gender based violence and climate change.

Featuring 67 entries from the country’s six provinces, the Summit was held under the theme ‘50/ 50 by 2015 and demanding a strong post-2015 agenda’.

Said Mumbire: “We hope that these projects are going to continue even after we finish our three-year pact.”

She said women had been given an opportunity to soar to greater heights, and acknowledged the support of the organisation’s partners, the American Friends Service.

The livelihoods and restoration programme targeted more than 200 women from Hopley Farm, who formed groups of between 15 to 20 before choosing

Income-generating initiatives such as brick moulding, welding, sewing, building, carpentry, light engineering, hairdressing, fence making and tie and dye.

The women were trained by the ZWB in their various areas of interest before being given the initial capital to start up.

Said Mumbire: “The advantage of asking the women to choose their trade clusters is that they chose who they wanted to work with which reduces incidences of conflict.

“Giving them a choice means they can select what they’re interested in, and this makes learning easier.” She said her organisation promoted community cohesion as a basis for development.

“We helped them in lobbying for workspace for their various initiatives and we are happy that all of them, to date, have somewhere to operate from,” she said.

Mumbire added that her organisation had also trained the women on how to market and improve the visibility of their products.

Some of the groups formed associations and they are making headway in increasing their exposure locally.

The ZWB has, over the years, developed and implemented programmes aimed at promoting economic sustainability, household food security and sustainable livelihoods for its members and their families throughout Zimbabwe.

Its mission is to improve the socio-economic status of poor communities by providing training and information, as well as financial and material support.

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