Zivo-Ulwazi Feminist Knowledge Hub launched
Agric, Environment & Innovations Editor
The Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN) in partnership with UN Women has launched the Zivo – Ulwazi Feminist Knowledge Hub to harness the power of ICTs to empower women and girls and advance the country’s efforts to achieve gender equality.
ZWRCN Executive Director Dorothy Hove told people who had gathered for the launch that they had identified the gender digital divide as a major roadblock to women’s economic empowerment and participation in the digital economy.
“Access to information is still a huge handicap for women and girls in the digital space. Women still need information and the launch of this knowledge hub will create a space for dialogue, connection and collaboration among women and girls and activists within the women’s movement,” she said.
“It’s a repository of information for women and girls to share knowledge and experiences. It will enhance women and girls’ participation in digital spaces.”
The Zivo-Ulwazi Feminist Knowledge Hub apart from being an ICT hub, she said, will also serve as a safe space for convening young feminists to discuss feminist contemporary issues to promote shared learning and amplifying women’s voices with an opportunity for mentorship from experienced feminists across Africa.
The hub has an interactive online library that will function as a dynamic and curated repository of resources, regularly updated and organized by categories for women and girls.
The establishment of the knowledge hub was made possible through the Spotlight Initiative funded by the European Union (EU) and United Nations Women, a project that aimed at ending violence against women and girls and harmful practices.
Zimbabwe is among the 20 countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean which are participating in the four-year programme which started in 2019.
The country was supported by the EU to the tune of US$30 million for the first phase to help Zimbabwe meet some of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3 and 5) on empowering women and girls to realise their full potential in a violence-free, gender-responsive and inclusive environment.
Chief director in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Lillian Matsika-Takaendesa hailed ZWRCN and its partners for launching the hub saying it was an important step to women’s empowerment.
“ZWRCN, UN Women and other partners are showing their commitment to all efforts to empower women in the country. Women and girls still lack information. Women and girls are being abused because they do not know their rights,” she said.
“Through the Zivo-Ulwazi Feminist Knowledge Hub women and girls will now have access to information that they cannot easily access from mothers and other people. It’s now possible for women and girls to talk to each other through this platform.”
She urged civil society organisations, UN and the Government to work closely to support all efforts to empower women and girls.
“Let’s work together – government, CSOs and the UN to tackle gender-based violence and close the digital divide. Let’s collaborate and let’s build synergies. I hope through this dialogue we can also improve women’s participation in politics,” Matsika-Takaendesa said.
“We also want such knowledge hubs to be expanded to all rural areas. People in Kanyemba, Guruve or Chirumanzu and other rural areas must also have access to such platforms to promote inclusivity.”
Gender Mainstreaming and Coordination Specialist for UN Women, Tinashe Sande said the hub will make information accessible to women and girls and help close the gender digital gap.
“This is a significant step towards the fulfilment of our commitment to foster innovation and technology for gender equality, a commitment we made during the international women’s history month in March this year,” she said.
“It is a milestone that fosters the realisation of an equitable world where technology benefits all, especially the often marginalised women and girls.”
The centre has 20 laptops and gives women a platform to tell and share their diverse stories with the rest of the world.