WHY I NEED TO BE BOLD FOR CHANGE

When the girl child does not enjoy her right to education,

When she does not have a right to bodily autonomy

When she is regarded as a second class citizen

When she does not have a right to make her own decisions,

Then i need to be bold for change!

beboldforchange_web_banner

taken from www.london.gov.uk

It is my responsibility, It is your responsibility and it is our responsibility,

To enable women to become the best they can be,

If you cannot support HER, then at least DONT stand in HER way

Give her space to become an individual

When women die in child birth because of negligence by service providers,

When girls drop out of school because of forced marriages,

When women are not safe in any space,

When women are victims of gender based violence

Then i need to be bold for change

We need a world where woman are world changers

A world where women attain education

A world where women are safe

A world where we have full rights to our bodies

A world where women’s health is a priority

I need to be bold for change

WHY HURRY LADIES?

When a woman reaches her late twenties she is constantly reminded that time is ticking and she needs to get a man before she loses freshness. It is not only the parents who directly or indirectly question through their eye, relatives, peers and everyone at us. At social gatherings, its surprising how relatives gather in small groups to gossip about everyone’s business. They want to inquire about whether so and so has gotten married and if not one should surely provide a date when lobola will be paid. Social gatherings can be a stress especially for young women because they have to face all those questions for which they may not have answers.

The aunties always give a reminder that the time bomb is ticking before one begins to

scare away men because of her age.  This can have enormous pressure on a young woman who chooses to be single until a certain period because she sees it fit. At times it can cause tension in a family and one ends up vacating her parents’ premises because she cannot take it anymore. In other cases one can end up getting married just to get rid of ridicule.

pressurizing a woman to getting married is very unfair. A woman should be free do decide when she wants to get married and if she still chooses to remain single for life then let it be. Marriage can never define a real woman. The divorce rate is currently high, some women are regretting their choices to get married because they are being abused by their husbands. With the current divorce statistics, why do parents still pressurize their daughters to settle down?

Some women end up taking desperate measures just to please their parents. I have heard about women donating money to men so that they can come to pay lobola. For me, this is the worst kind of desperation a woman can take. Marriage and status are two different words that need to be understood. One should never be in a hurry to get a man in order to please anyone. Ladies need to first develop themselves and be happy without fear of the biological clock ticking on them. They also need support from family members who need to respect their decisions to be single.

 

THE ROAD TO 2030 AS ZIMBABWEAN YOUTHS STRIVE TO FIGHT POVERTY.

There is need for leadership from young people because there is too much followership. Let us make a positive impact in our lives, communities and the nation.Youths are the leaders of today. Let us not underestimate the values of honesty and integrity. Hon Jessie Majome (MP)

Every year the world celebrates International Youth Day (IYD) on the 12th of August. This year’s commemorations have been celebrated under the theme “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production.”

The 2030 agenda is rooted in the successful implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by every country. Sustainable Consumption and production (SDG 12) is therefore crucial for youths in ending poverty at individual, family, community and national level. In Zimbabwe, the IYD 2016 celebrations were held at Youth Empowerment Transformation Trust (YETT) where various youths and youth organisations were in attendance to deliberate on how best to address issues affecting them from taking a leadership role in ending poverty. Most of what was discussed could be accessed on twitter under the hash tag #LetUsLead @YetTrust.

yuth

taken for peacechild.org

Dr Charlton Tsodzo, who was one of the facilitators, highlighted that SDGs give youths a platform to engage youths to lead in addressing poverty issues.

“The SDGs give us an opportunity to be able to deliberate on how we can work towards ending poverty, on how we can ensure that young people take their rightful place to lead in sustainable development,” Tsodzo told those in attendance.

The IYD 2016 theme comes at a time when Zimbabwean youths are seriously affected by economic turmoil, unemployment and social unrest among other issues. With unemployment at 94%, most youths are either vending or staying at home. As a result a significant number of youths are disgruntled and living in poverty and this is forcing some of them to engage in anti-social activities like drug abuse, gambling and prostitution as pass times or ways to earn income. Zimbabwe is also ranked number 5 among the most corrupt countries in Africa and this means resources that are supposed to enable youths to fight poverty are misappropriated. As a result, Zimbabwe is full of mediocre youths who are at the mercy of politicians in furthering violence. It is under this background that we are surrounded by youths who are entrenched in poverty yet they are supposed to lead in sustainable development.

grad

Image taken from www.telegraph.co.uk

In order to make SDGs work for young people key issues were raised. It was discussed that it is mandatory that every country finances its own implementation of SDGs. This requirement makes it hard for Zimbabwe to achieve the road to 2030 because of the narrow tax base since 94% of the population are not formally employed. In discussion led by Judith Kaulem, The Executive Director of Poverty Reduction Forum Trust said currently most Zimbabweans are informally trading and they do not pay tax.

“Financing the SGDs would require that we widen our tax base and increase employment in the formal sector. Right now the informal sector constitutes a great number of people but they evade tax since the government has no control over them,” she said.

She also emphasized that the country has sixty mineral resources that could be exported in order to attract revenue but lack of clear government systems makes it difficult.

“We could tap into the mineral resources in order to have returns that serve the populace of the country but corruption and misappropriation continue because of no systems to maintain checks and balances of trade,” added Kaulem.

In order for Zimbabwe to implement the SDGs, there needs to be fair trading policies, tightening of regulatory systems that help to curb tax evasion and to have collaborations at global level to monitor and curtail illicit financial flows.

Kaulem also stressed that some elements of SDGs do not need money to be implemented for example the issues of human dignity, human rights, ensuring gender equality and democracy. They only need the political will and change of mind-set as they are catalysts for opening up resources.

Furthermore, if Zimbabwe is to effectively achieve the 2030 target, differently abled youths should be actively involved in the implementation process. It is sad to note that youths living with disabilities are discriminated in public spaces and as such they fail to positively contribute towards fighting poverty. They are excluded in the statistics and programming at national level thus worsening their situation.

According to Barbra Nyangairi, The Executive Director of Deaf Zimbabwe Trust, not thinking about youths living with disabilities makes them uniquely vulnerable.

“They are considered an afterthought because in our work we do not think about them. They are denied dignity, individuality and the right to life because people do not think about them,” said Nyangairi.

Young people with disabilities are marginalised beginning in their families. In most cases, they are denied the right to a decent education because they are considered unfit. Nyangairi highlighted that a vicious cycle of poverty is created when disabled youths are denied the right to education and this gets entrenched in society.

“Approximately 90% of children living with disabilities are not attending school and this proves that poverty is created from childhood. This will affect future generations because these children will not be having the requisite qualifications to be enrolled in vocational training or to become formally employed,” added Nyangairi.

She also highlighted that without statistics and information about who the young people with disabilities are and where they are, we are not able to provide initiatives that include them as we are implementing the SDGs.

 Youth Responsive Budgeting from a youth informed perspective: Speaker Youth Development and Policy Specialist: Tinashe Gumbo

Youth Responsive budgeting is a tool used to integrate youth participation in the national budgeting process. It ensures accountability as youths will be monitoring all stages of the fiscal policy whether the inputs, outputs and outcomes of the budgeting process are addressing their needs.

The constant budget deficits are not youth friendly because aspirations are not being catered for. Youths should be actively participating in the manning of public resources in order for their issues to be addressed at all levels of governance. They need to constructively participate in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the fiscal policy.

CONCERNS RAISED

  • There is lack of effective monitoring and evaluation of youth project programmes
  • Lack of sustainable youth entrepreneurship programmes
  • Abuse of youths by politicians as they are the centre of social unrest
  • There is limited youth participation in the fiscal policy
  • Lack of promotion of peace and national healing
  • Under supported social sectors such as education and health among others
  • Lack of skills development for graduates
  • Lack of youth mainstreaming in all ministries

WAY FORWARD

  • We need youth friendly policies
  • To cultivate the necessary attitude in enabling youths to become agents of change
  • Ensuring that their needs , concerns, issues and problems are addressed
  • Empowering youths in the management of resources
  • Youth Responsive Budgeting

BUDGETING WITH THE YOUNG WOMEN IN MIND: INSTITUTE OF YOUTH WOMEN DEVELOPMENT: Tariro Senderayi

The current budgeting process is failing to address the concerns of young women. It lacks social development goals targeting women and children because they are the ones who are mostly in need. The budget should address gender sensitive issues.

WAY FORWARD

  • It should allocate a certain amount of money targeting women in agriculture especially those in the marginalised areas so that they can be more productive and can take care of their families.
  • Should finance women in the mining sector in order for them to be more productive
  • It should finance women to participate in the tourism sector by tabulating an incentive policy such as duty-free imports for tourist purposes
  • Needs to revisit by laws so that they are responsive to the needs of informal traders who are mainly women because they need access to financing which does not need stringent collateral requirements
  • There should be an establishment of affordable market stalls and creation of an enabling environment because the current situation is exacerbating the plight of women vendors
  • There is need for decent housing for women
  • The Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) should benefit the underprivileged women first before anyone else
  • It should invest infrastructure for Women living with disabilities
  • Should be sensitive to gender based violence issues by providing funding to sensitize law enforcement agents to assist women involved in gender based violence
  • Should allocate funds for counselling of gender based violence victims
  • Should also empower young women through educational loans so that they can they further their education.
  • It should allocate money towards the health sector in order to address issues of maternal mortality in the country.

Furthermore, young people need to be educated about positively contributing towards addressing issues of climate change. Most of them are not aware of what climate change is and they need to be educated on how best they can employ resources in order to combat climate change. In order for the Road to 2030 to become a reality, Zimbabwe needs to seriously address the concerns affecting young people by combating corruption and creating an enabling environment for youths to lead in all aspects of development.

 

 

 

HOW CAN WE ACHIEVE GENDER EQUALITY IN ZIMBABWE?

If the nation is to achieve gender equality, we should take practical steps to address inequality in key structures. We should move beyond reading speeches without implementation. We should not subscribe to regional and national policies that we are not willing to execute….

Even though the country subscribes to a National Gender Policy (2013- 2017) notable parity still exists in the private and public sectors. The policy sets targets which need to be achieved by 2017 but reality is that the country still needs to do more work in addressing gender gaps that exist in all sectors. In the corporate sector, women are still struggling with fighting the glass ceiling because they receive lesser wages than their male counterparts and also they occupy less influential positions.

In most organisations, the environment is not conducive for women to explore their potential because they are seen as unfit to do certain jobs. At times it is the working conditions that determine whether a woman lands in a certain job post. Some bosses fear that women are not capable  of balancing work and family demands and as such, they are given less demanding jobs but this kills passion and one remains stagnant. In newsrooms for example, female journalists mostly work as news reporters and according to some editors, the work schedule is more flexible for men.

gendere

taken from Newsgram

 

It is also disturbing how a pregnant woman is not tolerated at attending job interviews. In some interviews, before one is asked anything else, the panelists demand to know the pregnancy status of a woman. If she agrees that she is carrying a child, that will be the end of her job prospects. Honestly, can someone be discriminated for being pregnant and this means despite having a brilliant CV, pregnancy issues can deter a woman from getting a job. Some companies also demand that a woman should not be pregnant for a certain period and this means she has to be extra cautious in her social life because she might get dismissed from work.

In politics, women are still struggling to take charge. Men dominate the political arena. The few women that are involved have no say pertaining to what happens in the nation. It seems they are there as place holders but we need more of them to effectively function in formulating and implementing policies that are pro women.

Women still need to be accorded the right to decent education. In the rural areas, girls should be enrolled in school instead of them getting married. We are tired of child marriages because they are destroying the lives of young girls. There should be a fund set aside for girls only to enroll in school because we need more female leaders who can take charge.

Gender equality can be achieved but it requires work on the part of our government first by explaining the meaning of the national gender policy to people concerned and coming up with solutions to address the gaps. Most people do not even know that there is a gender policy because they have not received any information pertaining a gender policy.

 

ZIMBABWEAN WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE

In Zimbabwe, agriculture is the main activity that contributes towards the nation’s bread basket. According to the Southern Africa Development Committee Protocol 2015 Report on food security, women contribute 70% towards agriculture.  Henceforth, women are the main contributors but they face a lot of challenges in trying to contribute towards food security.

In both urban and rural areas, agriculture is the main activity done by women and it ranges from market gardening, subsistence farming, animal husbandry among others and this requires a lot of input. Despite the strenuous work involved in agriculture, women have to go out of their way in making sure that they work to produce tangible results. Agriculture requires a lot of labour and physic besides the material inputs such as fertilisers and irrigation and looking at the physical mechanism of a woman’s body, the work involved will negatively affect her health.
agrico

                                                        Taken from go.nature.com

One of the challenges faced by women is the lack of easily accessible water sources. They have to water the garden by themselves even when water sources are far away. This will force the women to dig unprotected wells very close to their fields so that they do not strain themselves. The unprotected and shallow wells pose a threat to both the health of and security of the women especially when they have to deepen the wells to access water. The reason women are forced to do the work themselves is lack of financial muscle to pay people who can work for them. They need irrigation schemes so that they can easily access water.

Also, for women who practise market gardening, lack of transport to ferry their produce to the market poses a great disadvantage because some perishables go bad before reaching the market. At the end of the day, these women incur losses. At times, it is the lack of viable markets and in such circumstances; they will have to sell their produce to the black market who then take advantage by reselling the products at double prices. This means that women are at a risk of unforeseen challenges when marketing their produce.

At times, lack of inputs such as seed fertilizers will either make women to plant fewer crops in smaller fields and in other cases, they will leave the fields bare. It is saddening to plough and then fail to buy seed and fertilizers. At other times, unanticipated climate changes will result in drought thus affecting yields. Women in this case need support ranging from seed and fertilizers so that they can contribute more towards food security.Since knowledge is power, women need to be training on how to be successful farmers. They need knowledge about what to plant in which type of soils, they need to know weather patterns and the kinds of crops to plant in different seasons, they also need to be taught about planting drought resistant crops and this will enable them to effectively contribute towards the country’s bread basket.

Women who are involved in animal farming are not an exception. They need extensive knowledge about rearing animals. They need to learn about dozing; the kind of feed to grow so that animals like cattle and goat can graze. They need to know about the health of their animals and the specific kinds of food to provide and this difficult to know from a layman’s point of view. It is crucial to note that women in farming need support. There has to be specific fund set aside for only women in agriculture so that they can buy equipment and inputs to make their job easier. This will help them to produce more food without any hustles.

More women should be involved in agriculture instead of being docile and wasting time gossiping in the neighbourhood. Agriculture is not just about being an A1 or A2 farmer; one can cultivate crops in the backyard where the land is not being used. In some neighbourhoods, wise women are growing vegetables and selling them in order to fend for their families. Gone are the days when women say they have nothing to do. Those who waste waste their lives crying for men who have left them for other women should think twice about fending for their families through agriculture.

NEW YEAR NEW DEVICES FOR UPCOMING PROJECTS?

IMG-20151120-WA0005

Photo by MCZ

IMG-20151120-WA0004

Photo by MCZ

The upcoming year is very promising for Mobile Community Zimbabwe participants as there may be an introduction of the latest smartphones for use project to come. Mobile Journalism is taking roots in the Zimbabwean media industry and if taken seriously by participants, there will be a dynamic shift of the media industry. Taking a closer look at the current operation of the Zimbabwean media, the print industry is becoming less popular as more people now rely on the internet because of digital media. If journalists who work for the print industry fail to develop their multimedia skills, they will be easily and sadly replaced by individuals who are being trained under MCZ.

IMG-20151120-WA0007

Photo by MCZ

Some of the MCZ alumni had the opportunity to participate in testing the compatibility of different latest smartphones with the Story Maker Application which participants use when producing content using different formats such as audio, video and pictures. The gadgets were tested for their video, audio sound pick up and picture quality, speed when rendering and uploading content on the internet using 3G, 4G and WI FI networks. Among the smartphones tested were the Samsung Galaxy S5, S6 and S6 Edge, Sony and the GTel A706 SL 5.5.

Of all the gadgets, the Gtel cell phones are more advantageous in that the GTel Zimbabwe Company has security measures in place in cases of theft as compared to the other Cellular Manufacturing Companies. The company assists its clients in tracking lost GTel devices. Also the Gtel A706 SL 5.5 has a camera with features that are similar to those of a professional camera.

When asked about which gadget he would love to use, Julius Nyamwena said he had the best experience testing the GTel A706 SL 5.5 “I was extremely happy with the Gtel high end phones and I think they can be a good substitute for  Motorola 2G. The GTel A760 is very light, has good picture quality and a very high end sound pick up even at a distance of 15 metres.”

In previous projects, participants had used the Motorola 2nd Generation which for some was an equally good cell phone in terms of video and picture quality. One of the participants Jackie Mbaiwa Makuvatsine had the chance to test the compatibility of Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and she liked the phone. “ Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is superb in everything because the picture, video and audio quality is exceptionally excellent as compared to the other phones we tested using Story Maker. I would highly recommend the phone to be used.” said Mbaiwa.

 

MOBILE COMMUNITY ZIMBABWE GRADUATION AND AWARDS CEREMONY

This was a wonderful moment that changed my life forever. Not only did i graduate, i also scooped a runner up prize…

The Mobile Community Zimbabwe Graduation and Prize Giving Ceremony was a boom. I witnessed true heroes and heroines receiving their certificates amidst different challenges that people went through. The reasons I talk about heroism is because in order for a participant to graduate, there was need to meet basic requirements. This needed someone with self-motivation, courage, determination among other human qualities that enable one to succeed. During the mentorship process, trainees were supposed to produce twelve stories within three months but this was not easy. Amidst challenges such as sourcing for interviewees, internet and costs most participants managed to pull through because of determination. Since I was one of the participants, I had to prioritise my work because I wanted to graduate.

Photo taken from MCZ

Photo taken from MCZ

I learned that in order to succeed to graduation, I had to keep encouraging myself to do more stories per week in order to at least meet the deadlines. Deciding to give up was not a difficult decision but I guess most participants understood that this was a life time opportunity which could not be taken for granted. The graduation day was worth remembering as we shared moments with different icons such as Nada Josimovic from Free Press Unlimited, Privilege Musvanhiri (MCZ Trainer and Mentor) Natasha Msonza ( Co Trainer), Joseph Munda (Mentor) and Her Zimbabwe Director Fungai Machirori.

Around seventy participants were trained in the Mobile Community Zimbabwe Project and among these, fifty- three people received certificates. What also caught my eye were the awards. Ten individuals walked away with prizes from different categories including the Best Video, Audio and Radio program, Best Student Audio and Video story, Best Institution and the  Encouragement Prize.
AWARD WINNERS
1. Winner Best Mobile Video Story- Ketty Nyoni
Runner Up Prize for Best Video Story- Kenneth Matimaire
2. Winner Best Mobile Audio Story- Theophilus Chuma
Runner Up Prize for Best Mobile Audio Story- Sharon Sigauke
3. Winner Best Mobile Radio Program- Sydney Mangweka
Runner Up Prize Best Mobile Radio Program- Believe Marufu
4. Best Student Mobile Video Story- Bathabile Dlamini
Best Student Mobile Audio Story- Hazel Marimbiza

5. Best Community Radio Initiative- Kumakomo Community Radio- Mutare
6. Best Performing Institution- Midlands State University
7. Encouragement Prize- Theresa Takapfuma

Now that the graduation has come and gone, participants should arise and become giants in producing content from their communities. Producing content should not end with graduation but it should be the beginning of a better story making journey using different applications.

Photo taken from MCZ

Photo taken from MCZ

Photo taken from MCZ

Photo taken from MCZ

MOBILE JOURNALISM BECOMES A Reality THROUGH MOBILE COMMUNITY ZIMBABWE

Mobile Community Zimbabwe is a project that seeks to amplify the voices of ordinary citizens through news production using an application called Story Maker. Thus, citizens will be using mobile devices in gathering and producing news content from their communities. Most news stories that are of significance to ordinary citizens are disregarded by the mainstream media and as such, mobile community reporting becomes important if change is to happen in societies. Therefore, the Mobile Community Zimbabwe Project is unique opportunity that equips people with news production skills even at all levels.

The project is raising people of power who can speak out significant issues from their communities and this is making an impact. Interestingly, the mainstream media is now relying on news content from people who have been trained under such a project. Of significance is the fact that any individual can be trained to become a multi skilled producer of content by simply using a mobile device.

This means that content can be produced and shared on any platform without having to remotely edit anything as is done in the traditional media. At the end of the day, news production is no longer a complicated process as compared to what used to happen in the traditional media. As a result, journalists in the traditional media have no other

Photo courtesy of MCZ

Photo courtesy of MCZ

Photo taken by MCZ

Photo taken by MCZ

option but to obtain the skills which the Mobile Community Zimbabwe Project is imparting. A journalist who only knows how to write for the print media is at a great disadvantage and is most likely to be replaced by someone who is multi tasked. The MCZ project has to date trained more than seventy people who are all from different walks of life including mainstream media journalists, The National University of Science and Technology, Midlands State University and bloggers.

It is important to note that at universities, Journalism and media students were not fully equipped with practical news production skills since there is lack of gadgets to conduct practical work. At the end of the day, graduates were only half baked with theory work without practice. Now, with the advent of MCZ, students and practising journalists are fully trained with practical skills on content production using a mobile phone. What is interesting is that one can walk with their equipment in a pocket instead of carrying those big conventional cameras and microphones. With the Story Maker Application which is usually used in the project, one can produce an audio, video or picture story then edit the content and at the same time be able to share it through any social media platforms.

Being accorded the chance to become a trainee, I acquired a skill that no one can take away from me. I can confidently and successfully produce any story using my mobile device at any given time. The MCZ Project is becoming more popular and effective in assisting people to rise up and make use of their mobile gadgets. As for me, I did not know that a mobile device could transcend the operation of traditional news room equipment. In the traditional news room for example a reporter goes to cover a story with the help of a photographer and there is a lot of gate keeping that takes place depending with editorial policies. However, just a mobile device is powerful and one individual can do the reporting and photography alone instead of carrying big cameras that may attract unnecessary attention

If different organisations could embrace the MCZ Project, then information dissemination will be very easy. I believe Non-Governmental Organisations can significantly transform their operations if communities they deal with could be taught how to produce news stories that are of importance to them. This means that NGOs should embrace the MCZ project and bring it to the communities they work with.

HOW THE AFRICAN FAMILY COPES WITH INFERTILITY 2

My first story about how the African family deals with infertility was originally posted on the Her Zimbabwe website and can be viewed here: http://herzimbabwe.co.zw/2015/07/how-the-african-family-copes-with-infertility/

After having an interview with POWER FM 98.7 about the same article,  i decided to write a follow-up story on infertility. It is very surprising how society has conditioned some men to think that every woman they get married to should give them children. One of the  interviewees in particular said he had three children with his deceased wife and he remarried but the woman could not bear children. He was unashamed said that the current woman had to give him children despite the fact that he had some other kids. The issue of infertility can break marriages if it is not handled properly especially when people decide to use their emotions.

I still believe that marriage should not only be centred on child-bearing because on the altar people vow that for bad or for worse they will stick together. Reality kicks in when infertility visits the home and one partner will begin to decide otherwise. Although society respects child-bearing, does it mean that people who cannot bear children should be treated badly? Being infertile is not acceptable in families but it puts unnecessary pressure on the woman who is childless. In the past, when a woman was barren, the elders had a way to compensate by giving a younger sister or cousins to bear children on behalf of their sister but now things have changed. Even though that aspect might have been better, it did not have respect for the younger sister or cousin because she was given without her consent. Also today, because of HIV/AIDS and civilisation, it is no longer proper for a woman to bear children for her sister.

When trying to bear children has failed, there are now other ways for people to have children. These ways are adoption and surrogacy but these should be options after a couple has undergone proper counselling. If one is to adopt, there are certain measures that should be put in place and besides, a couple should be ready to take good care of the child. Surrogacy is also another way  and this is a process where a couple sources a third-party who will act as an incubator of semen.

Photo taken from conceptionconnections.wordpress.com

Photo taken from conceptionconnections.wordpress.com

Photo from