Ruth Butaumocho Gender Editor
Bulawayo City Council has been touted as the best local authority with a gender-sensitive budget in Zimbabwe following its decision to provide a monthly allocation of free water for child-headed families and elderly households.It has also over years, adopted a preferred allocation of market stalls, a system that is heavily skewed towards women and people living with HIV and AIDS.

Mutoko Rural District Council is closely following behind after it introduced a section on gender budget analysis of beneficiaries of their services as a key component of their budget.

The gender budget analysis disaggregates the key beneficiaries of its budget by sex and age. This clearly gives an indication on the development projects to be undertaken and who the beneficiaries are. In an interview, the Zimbabwe Women’s Resources Centre and Network executive director Ms Pamela Mhlanga said local authorities could actually register success in service provision that meets the specific needs of women and men if they budget and expend resources with a gender perspective.

“This means consulting, without fail, both women and men on their needs, and using sex disaggregated data and information to budget, so that they balance the interests and needs of both women and men, particularly the most vulnerable and poor.

“It also means placing emphasis on service delivery as opposed to skewing the budget towards human resources and administration,” she said.

In the case of Bulawayo, the city allocated 25 gallons of free water for child-headed families, a move that was meant to improve the well being of this vulnerable group.

“In Mutoko, their budget is more skewed towards service delivery, which is critical in addressing gender gaps, particularly the needs of women.

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