The Institute for Young Women Development (IYWD) recently celebrated major milestones on the gains and successes that it has made in gender-responsive social services delivery for young women in Mashonaland Central and Midlands Provinces.
The milestones, achieved over a period of four years, focused on five key result areas that the organisation has been focusing on which include information systems or platforms that have been created by local authorities that facilitate information flow between citizens and local governments, the inclusion of young women specifically in local government processes, enactment of gender-responsive policies as well as the implementation of gender-responsive policies successes related to infrastructure that has actually been constructed that is gender-responsive as well as gender-responsive social services delivery
Speaking to 263Chat on the sidelines of the event in Harare, IYWD Programs Manager, Sandra Zenda said: “Our bigger expected goal was for young women to be able to use their collective power to hold local authorities accountable for gender-responsive social services delivery and to actually realise their gains regarding actual gender-responsive social services delivery.
“So we witnessed evidence of that success because young women and women who were self mobilising and driving that process by themselves even without IYWD because we were just mainly creating a platform they were doing their work and not just young women but the local authorities themselves were also working with the young women.”
Among other things, the programs gave birth to transformational leadership training meant to strengthen the leadership potential and boost the confidence of young women.
The programs also brought awareness raising in areas such as constitutional provisions for Citizen Engagement and the structure and role of local government.
Zenda said in carrying out the programmes, IYWD encountered a number of challenges within the operating areas.
“Definitely there were challenges especially along the way because when we first started implementing this intervention there were some realities that we could not have known. There was limited knowledge in terms of constitutional provisions for citizens’ engagements,” she said.
She noted that there was not much understanding between local authorities and young women.
“We actually witnessed a case as we started and also even in the first few months and years of starting. there was some kind of tension between young women and other citizens. there was mistrust and just a basic lack of knowledge in terms of how local government works.
“There were challenges that we were facing so in terms of how it affected the program that we are implementing we would have some incidents of hostile exchanges and then probably people not being guided by constitutional provisions not knowing where they start, where they have to end as provided for in the constitution. but after addressing that I think the process was much simpler,” Zenda said.