Blessings Chidakwa – Municipal Reporter
Zimbabwe has shined at the regional gender awards scooping the most accolades, 13 out of the 34 categories with the second most winning country, Mauritius only managing six awards among the nine countries that participated.
Other countries, South Africa won four while Madagascar three, Mozambique and Eswatini acquired two each with Botswana, Namibia, Seychelles and Malawi scooping one each.
Speaking during the awards ceremony dubbed ‘Regional Voice and Choice Summit Awards’, Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Dr Sithembiso Nyoni said the awards were a greater honour for the country.
“We are very proud as a nation and as the Ministry responsible for gender l am absolutely happy, this is amazing and what is pleasing is that it is mainly young women, lets march on girls this is wonderful keep up the good work.
“To all the local authorities that have won that is where development and empowerment begins,” she said.
The prestigious awards were organized by Gender Links and Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance that also sought audience with President Mnangagwa in Victoria Falls last year resulting in him extending the women’s quota to the local government level.
Other dignitaries that attended the awards were Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo, High Commissioner of Canada to South Africa, Ambassador Christopher Cooter and Lesotho’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Chairperson of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, Matsepo Ramakoae.
Gender Links Zimbabwe country manager Ms Priscilla Maposa said these awards are fruits of a decade of gender mainstreaming work at the local level in Zimbabwe.
“It shows the realities of the growth of gendered work in Zimbabwe’s local government fraternity. The Ministry of Local Government and Public works has been pivotal in supporting gender work at the local level.
By allowing Gender Links to roll out the Centres of Excellence programme on gender mainstreaming in all the 92 local authorities in Zimbabwe, there’s improved gender responsive service delivery in councils. The ministry has also commended the programme as their “programme of choice” on gender mainstreaming.
Zimbabwe was the overall winner in five categories among them best rural council, most resourceful urban and rural councils, best reporter on Women Political Participation Reporting scooped by Chronicle’s political editor Ndunduzo Tshuma.