In an endorsement of its growing reputation, Midlands State University’s Department of Local Governance Studies in conjunction with the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) and Gender Links is set to host a national training programme to capacitate women councilors in Zimbabwe’s ten provinces.
The ICLD National Training Programme (NTP) – “Local Leaders – Capacitating Women in Zimbabwe” targets local councilors in all 10 provinces of Zimbabwe and across political parties. The first programme was initiated in April 2014 and continued for one year. The ICLD has entered into a new agreement with the Swedish embassy in Harare to continue with two more rounds of the training that each runs over one and a half years and receives about 25 participants for each round. This programme is unique for ICLD as it is the first “National” training programme. It is financed through the Swedish Development and Cooperation Agency and the Swedish Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The objective of the “Local Leaders- Capacitating Women in Zimbabwe” programme is to promote a higher degree of involvement of women in local politics in Zimbabwe. To achieve this goal, ICLD works with local partners to strengthen the capacity and skills of locally elected leaders.
These men and women improve their ability to network, give speeches, recognize and reduce suppression techniques, conduct strategic planning, leadership skills and improved sensitivity to the challenges of women, specifically women politicians, with the long-term view of strengthening the capacity of local governments. Given this objective, the rationale of the Training Programme is to focus on elected leaders in Zimbabwe, believing that they have the potential to act as advocates and role models for women who may consider making a career in politics or administration. Although all the participants in the first programme were women, in the second programme, men are included.
The NTP has two local partners that it works closely with in Zimbabwe, Midlands State University and Gender Links. Midlands State University is the leading academic institution in teaching local governance in Zimbabwe and is responsible for providing technical advice and developing the research component of this programme.
Gender Links works with councils throughout Zimbabwe to create Centre’s of Excellence where gender equality and mainstreaming are championed. Their participation in this programme has been to help streamline relations with the Ministry of Local Governance, provide on-the-ground advice in regards to participant selection and logistics, and most importantly, be ICLD’s partner in advocating a gender quota at the local level in Zimbabwe.