Friday, August 24, 2007

Zimbabwe News: Shun Practices Disadvantaging Women; Parliamentary Caucus to Undergo Training

Shun practices disadvantaging women, Zimbabweans urged

Zimbabwe Herald Reporter

THERE is need to advocate against harmful traditional practices that disadvantage girls and women in order to come up with programmes that bridge the gender gap, executive director of the Women’s Self-Promotion Movement Ms Aziza Abemba William has said.

The Women’s Self-Promotion Movement is a non-profit making organisation formed in 2001 and offers free training and holds workshops in various countries.

It carries out research to promote active participation of the disadvantaged and marginalised women to help them gain self-confidence and self-esteem.

At least 21 women in Harare graduated on Monday and received certificates after being trained in micro finance, information communication technology, capacity building and women leadership by the organisation.

Some of the participants have already secured employment at
local companies after training for a year.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony in Harare on Monday, Ms William said the programme was aimed at promoting leadership among women and girls through training.

"Our goal is to promote lifelong education and training for disadvantaged women and girls through counselling, scholarships, and educational loans to those in need," she said.

She said the women’s movement also aspired to see women playing a vital role in developing the world as well as arm them with the vital weapons that will help them succeed in their different endeavours.

"This programme seeks to improve women’s skills and to make sure that they gain employment to sustain their livelihoods as well as create a research body and network for advancing women’s rights in war zones and to advocate against harmful traditional practices against girls and women," she said.

She said they were working with other women’s organisations such as the Girl Child Network and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals.

"We are working together with the Government and women’s organisations towards women empowerment to defend their rights, reduce poverty and unemployment, building peace, gender equality and good governance especially to vulnerable and disadvantaged women and girls.

Women parly caucus to undergo training

Zimbabwe Herald Reporter

THE women parliamentary caucus will this week undergo training in Masvingo that would enable them to tackle various gender-related issues in Parliament.

The five-day seminar sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund begins tomorrow and seeks to empower the women representatives including Members of Parliament and Senators in areas less understood in various other sectors in the country.

Gender experts yesterday said women in Zimbabwe were still lagging in various developmental aspects and therefore, needed informed representatives who were able to articulate issues.

UNFPA gender projects officer, Ms Anna Mumba said for the first time her organisation had initiated training to tackle burning issues that included women’s reproductive health, domestic violence, women’s rights violations and also unravel the National Gender Policy and Implementation Plan.

"The training will also be a good platform for interaction as we try to see how best we can utilise the training to enable managing various challenges," Ms Mumba said.

The development of gender related issues, though critical, was overtaken by various events in the past five years.

Gender experts said the emerging of HIV and Aids and other socio-economic challenges posed several challenges to the gender dynamics.

They said the situation demanded new gender developmental training to confront the new structure of gender links.

"It was difficult to focus on the emerging issues, which are closely intertwined with gender issues because much of the funding was directed at the emerging sectors such as HIV and Aids. The aspect of gender was trivialised although we understood the link. Gender-related issues occupied a very small component of big projects," gender activist, Mrs Diane Marere said.

She said with the Domestic Violence Act, gender experts were again organising themselves and were optimistic that with adequate resources, more women would be trained to strengthen their capacity.

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