Before the commencement of The RFDP’s Lundazi Women’s Rights and Local Governance Promotion Project in Chief Magodi Kapilisanga Ward, people had inadequate knowledge in gender awareness, local governance, decision making, advocacy, and lobby and leadership skills. Women had no access to leadership and decision making positions because the community members thought leadership positions were just for men. Gender blindness was common in the community. Even in traditional courts women were not chosen as indunas or adjudicators which made women to be ill-treated during court sessions. At family level, men made most decisions, for instance during rainy season a man would decide on what type of crops to grow. Men and women would do agriculture work together but when it comes to marketing season and after selling the produce it was a man making decisions on what assets to buy. The man would use the rest of the money in other activities leaving the wife with nothing. As a result, domestic and economic violence cases and injustices were very common but not reported to the relevant authorities.
It was after RFDP’s Lundazi Women’s Rights and Local Governance Promotion Project Recruited and capacity built 15 village women network leaders and 30 men’s support network members that things started to change at Hoya area in Chief Magodi. RFDP trained 45 women in gender equality awareness, local governance, decision making, advocacy and lobby and leadership skills. It was after these trainings that Women started advocating for their rights such as access to, power and control over resources such as land, household property and to be elected as traditional court adjudicators, indunas and to be involved in decision making at all levels of decision making structures in the local community. Through sensitization meetings conducted by village women network and men’s support network, four women were appointed by Senior Group Headman Kanyanyata in his traditional court (Baba Nyirenda) as women adjudicators.
Mr Wales Nyirenda thanked Rising Fountains Development Programme for implementing Women’s Rights and Local Governance Promotion project in the chiefdom and in particular Kapilisanga Ward. He also confirmed that people’s attitude and behaviors in the ward has changed and has become a community of practice of gender equality programs.
Story documented by: Gilbert Zimba
Project Facilitator, RFDP – Lundazi District.