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Service Delivery Champions Trained In Gweru

By Delicious Mathuthu

One of the local residents associations in Gweru, Gweru United Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Development Association (GUPRARDA) has began a three year programme seeking to empower and mobilise residents into actively participating in governance and service delivery issues in the city.

Working with six other organisations under a consortium, GUPRARDA this month trained more than 30 Local Champions with the aim to capacitate them with knowledge on the best methods to lobby and advocate for better policies and services, especially from their Local Authorities.

Speaking after one of the trainings, GUPRARDA Director Pastor David Chikore said the organisation is targeting to empower new residents who are not yet exposed to civil society movements so as to reach out to new people in the communities.

“We were training what we call Local Champions to equip them with tools which will enable them to grow the understanding that we are the citizens and power is within the people when they go back to their respective communities.

“We also trained them on how to engage office bearers, getting them to understand their rights as citizens and the power that they have to influence policy, not just receiving policies without questioning them.

“They also have power to change policies even after they have been made and adopted if its a policy that is useless.

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“As GUPRARDA, we are happy with the outcome as we decided to deliberately venture into virgin territory and move away from the traditional faces that are usually found in such workshops.


“We targeted new residents who are not usually exposed to such trainings.

“The quality of debate was very pleasing, the feedback from the participants great as well,” Pastor Chikore said.

The training comes amid several service delivery challenges in Gweru where residents have to endure water shortages, poor roads, lack of refuse removals and hiked tarrifs.

The six organisations in partnership with GUPRARDA include WILD (Women Institute for Leadership Development), Community Podium, PRIZ, Youth Invest, Esigodini Residents Association (ESRADA) in Esigodini, as well as Makokoba Development Trust.

WILD Programmes Officer, Payton Sibanda speaking on behalf of the consortium in Gweru recently said the name of this project is called Strengthening Citizen Urgency and Constituency Dialogue seeking to capacitate citizens with the necessary skills to actively participate in the local governance processes for the betterment of service delivery and general development.

“So for the training workshop we were training Local Champions on the importance of citizen participation; how to peacefully advocate and lobby on challenges that they are facing in their respective areas.

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“We also managed to train them on the importance of social media, how social media can be used to advocate or interact with the respective duty bearers,” he said.

The project started in May 2022 and is expected to end in April 2025.

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