Article by Gender Links Zimbabwe
Harare, 16 October 2020:
Gender Links (GL) Zimbabwe Local Government Voice and Choice Summit which ended in Harare on 15 October 2020, brought together 143 local government practitioners (56 female; 86 male) comprising of Ministry of Local Government officials, Chief Executive Officers, Town Clerks and Gender Focal Persons from all the ten provinces of the country. 51 Centres of Excellence (COE) local authorities showcased their institutional best practices and seven winners and four runners-up emerged. The #VoiceandChoice Summit provided a platform for sharing and learning from local government institutional best practices to improve gender programming in councils.
Speaking at the launch of the summit, Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Sithembiso Nyoni, in her keynote address noted the importance of local authorities in the local development processes through the services they offer. “Viewed at a glance, the summit can be misconstrued to be dealing with soft and peripheral issues of women, yet when viewed from a developmental perspective the summit’s objective is to ensure that the work of local authorities is streamlined and systematically improved to be responsive to the needs and priorities of all segments of our population where no one is left behind,” she said. Nyoni reiterated that gender mainstreaming is the only strategy to achieve gender equality.
The Minister of Local Government and Public Works, July Moyo who officially launched the summit noted that there was need for local authorities to ensure that gender is mainstreamed in councils, particularly through gender policies. He urged local authorities to domesticate the National Gender Policy through by-laws so that they are binding even to the communities they serve. “If local authorities want to achieve rule of law, the Constitution of Zimbabwe has given you the ability to domesticate everything”, he said. Moyo highlighted that councils should make considerations about climate change, health, and governance issues whilst mainstreaming gender in all these.
The summit was strongly supported by the government through the Ministries of Gender and Local Government. Moyo commended Gender Links for convening the summit which will help local authorities to improve their gender programming.
The Local Government Centres of Excellence programme, is GL Zimbabwe main programme programming has seen all the 92 local authorities (32 urban and 60 rural) in the country take part in the programme. Local authorities are mainstreaming gender in council policy and programmes for gender-responsive service delivery through the development and implementation of action plans at the local level. This model has since been improved to a new successor home-grown model dubbed the Dura/Isiphala or Hub and Spoke model pioneered in Zimbabwe in 2019. The Hub and Spoke programme seeks to improve gender-responsive service delivery in local authorities at the provincial level. 16 hub councils have been providing mentorship to other councils (mentee councils) in gender mainstreaming practices through study visits, backstopping, strategy meetings working with the youth particularly junior councillors at the provincial level. Junior councillors are a critical stakeholder whose contribution to local governance and development processes will improve local authorities’ response strategies.
The Local Government Summit is a platform to take stock of the gender mainstreaming efforts at the local level. Councils were divided into two categories that were competing for top honours, mainly the Hub councils and the mentee councils. These were divided according to urban and rural councils. Coming into the summits the overall gender progress score for hub councils is at 75%, and 63% for spoke councils.
The Voice and choice Summit closed with a call to action for all local authorities to continue learning and sharing best practices. It also gave the Town Clerks, Chief Executive Officers and Gender Focal Persons an opportunity to review the strengths of the COE hub and Spoke programme, whilst also assessing possible opportunities for improving the programme. This engagement also saw local authorities retaining and selecting new hub councils to anchor the gender mainstreaming programme at the provincial level for the year 202
The following are the Summit
|Local Government COE – Best Urban Hub council|
|Mutare City Council||Bulawayo City Council|
|Local Government COE – Best Rural Hub council|
|Murehwa Rural District Council||Umguza Rural District Council|
|Local Government COE – Urban Spoke Council best performance|
|Redcliff Municipality||Hwange Local Board|
|Local Government COE – Rural Spoke Council best performance|
|Manyame Rural District Council||Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe Rural District Council|
|Local government COE – most resourceful Urban council|
|Local government most resourceful Rural council|
|Goromonzi Rural District Council|
|Local government COE – best-improved performance|
|Epworth Local Board|