The Institute of Young Women Development (IYWD) is on a quest to empower girls and young women with knowledge of local government structures, roles, functions as well as skills and tools to engage duty bearers and other stakeholders with the ultimate goal of improving social service delivery through fostering a culture of engagement for social accountability and social services delivery that respond to the needs of young women.
The organisation which works towards fostering gender equality, encouraging young women to take up leadership positions and socio-economic development in rural communities says its approach has been bearing fruits as has been witnessed by a number of its alumni who have gone to compete for leadership positions at local, provincial and national levels while many are able to demand service delivery from duty bearers.
IYWD’s Programs Manager, Sandra Zenda, told 263Chat during a stakeholder engagement and devolution progress update and review meeting that women’s basic rights were being trampled upon due to poor service delivery.
“One key issue that was identified was that of poor social service delivery that did not gender responsive and which thus infringed on some basic rights of women, hindering them from experiencing better quality of life in the various roles that they have including as caregivers.
“So as IYWD we undertook a process or intervention whereby we focusing on harnessing young women’s voices and collective power for local government accountability and gender responsive social service delivery in Mashonaland and Midlands provinces,”Zenda said.
As part of this process, Zenda added, they focused on capacitating young women with knowledge of local government structures, roles, functions as well as skills and tools to engage duty bearers and other stakeholders with the ultimate goal of improving social service delivery through fostering a culture of engagement for social accountability and social services delivery that respond to the needs of young women.
Through the program, there have been construction of clinics, improvement of access to water for young women and also improved engagement between young women and duty bearers.
Zenda said prior to this, there was inadequate information for women to keep up to date with developments within their areas.
She noted that process bore fruits because it built young women’s leadership capacity and also built their confidence and ability to productively engage with local authorities.
One of the beneficiaries, Sheilla Chipamuriwo, from Mupfurudzi Ward 8 in Shamva North, paid homage to UYWD for the trainings saying , she and other young women ,were not aware of what devolution entailed.
“We didn’t even know how to confront the way it is being distributed, but right now we can see, of course it is there on paper how the money is there on paper but also we have come to know and understand how to analyze the way it is distributed,” she said.
“One other key success was that of our young women taking up leadership positions in their community after they took it upon themselves that sometimes for women to be meaningfully represented it may take at some point actually being in leadership positions so that they advocate and act on attaining gender responsive social services delivery from positions of influence,” Zenda added.