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Review of Women Empowered for Public and Political Leadership (WE4L)

Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) hosted nearly 25 aspiring and established women leaders from in and around Bulawayo during a closed-door meeting at the Bulawayo Club, on the 21st of June 2020. The meeting was aimed at reviewing the life cycle of the Women Empowered for Public and Political Leadership project that began in 2017 and is ongoing, particularly with the sole beneficiaries.

Over the stated years, WILD has been strengthening the capacity of women, young and middle-aged, with leadership skills and knowledge to lead in politics and public processes, engage, shape and influence policy-direction and framework, be effective public administrators and public service providers.

During the meeting, a presentation was made that summarised the WE4L project to women who were present. The presentation managed to walk women leaders through the work they have accomplished in their communities and how much impact they have towards improving access to social services in their respective Constituencies and residential Wards.

Women were also given an opportunity to share testimonials on how they have been able to reap the gains from the project through their active involvement with WILD. A significant number of women cited how much their confidence has improved as they are in a position to articulate issues in varied spaces, as compared to before they began their partnership with WILD.

Women brought to light how they are now capacitated to uplift fellow peers in their spheres of influence. Nomalanga Ncube is one example who has since established a foundation that seeks to build women who are able to work and provide for their families. The organisation also harnesses women’s potential to start their own businesses, whether formal or informal.

Viola Muchini emerged as one woman who has also been a sole benefactor from the organisation that was founded by Nomalanga Ncube Through attending a myriad of workshops, Muchini has gained confidence to accumulate funds and runs her small business of selling groceries at the comfort of her home. These two women have managed to have a working relationship through their involvement in the project that was run by WILD.

Other women who have benefited from the project also spoke about how they have been able to occupy leadership spaces in comparison to the individuals they were prior to their engagement with WILD. Bulawayo Ward 17 Councillor Sikhululekile Moyo, is one woman who cited her involvement with WILD from being in the Ward Advocacy Committee (WACs) to where she is as a leader.

She testified about how she too benefitted from capacity building workshops that were facilitated by WILD. Councillor Moyo is now one of the few women leaders who are utilising social media so as to keep communities abreast with the work that she is implementing in the community.

Other women leaders who are now in Parliament continue to champion women’s rights even in the committees that they are in. Honourable Member of Parliament Jasmine Toffa expressed gratitude to WILD for helping her break the barrier that exists between aspiring leaders and seasoned ones. In her testimony, mentorship managed to change how other women view seasoned political leaders. She cited how the mentorship cafés became a ground that made it easier for her to interact with women who look up to her and be able to inspire them to continue in their leadership journeys without fear.

Women leaders highlighted lack of financial resource as major challenge faced by most women in their political campaigns. Women cited how the financial muscle is a deterring factor for one to live up to their goals either as a leader or as one involved in business.

Women challenged WILD to build the capacity of more women so as to increase women’s involvement in key decision making processes. There was an appeal for WILD to avail programs that focus on self-care as a lot of leaders neglect their own needs at the expense of tending to the needs of the Constituencies they represent.

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