Paidamoyo Chipunza and Ropafadzo Ndangariro
In a move that is expected to increase and strengthen participation of women in political processes in the country ahead of the 2018 general elections, the Women Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) in partnership with the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) and the Gender and Media Connect yesterday launched an 18-month project targeting covering the pre and post election period.
The programme running under the banner “Strengthening Women’s Advocacy for Inclusive Governance” (SWAG) is also anticipated to increase women participation in governance issues at all levels.
The project is supported by the Swedish government through a $420 000 grant, which was also officially unveiled during the launch of the programme yesterday.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Sofia Calltorp said the decision to fund SWAG was in line with her country’s areas of interest, since it is known as a feminist country.
“Sweden is a feminist Government with a feminist foreign policy and we believe that the equal participation of women in all aspects of society is key to the sustainable development of any society and this is why we are very happy to be able to contribute to women’s empowerment in Zimbabwe,” said Ambassador Calltorp.
She said in supporting SWAG, the Swedish government was looking forward to seeing the country achieving some of its set targets in relation to gender equality.
“We hope that the project will empower women to be more visible when it comes to governance at all levels from Parliament to councils. As you all know the Constitution of Zimbabwe says that 50 percent should be allocated to women and we hope that this project will contribute to the achievement of that goal,” she said.
WCoZ chairperson Ms Pamela Mhlanga said through SWAG, women would be mobilised across all provinces of the country ensuring that all governance structures incorporate women’s interests as both voters and candidates.