On the 4th of October 2019, Women’s Institute for Leadership Development held a Town Hall Meeting, at Habane, Umzingwane to provide a platform for responsive engagement between women in ward 16 and their councilor. This was also a platform for discussing issues that are being faced by women and crafting the way forward.
Women expressed grievances on a number of issues especially on access to water. “Water cuts in Habane extension stretch from 4am to 12am midnight. Women are no longer sleeping,” said a concerned woman from area 5. The councilor said that the water table in the dam is very low, that is the reason why water is not enough for everyone. The pipes are now too old and they breakdown from time to time. Most boreholes in the ward have broken down and still not fixed, the one that was left has since been vandalized. Women are encouraged to establish an association for women where they meet, discuss and compile issues of concern and then submit them to the councilor for actioning as a way forward.
“Some pregnant women do not have vehicles to take them to the hospital when they are in labour. Some of them might even give birth at home. Home birth hinders access to the baby’s emergency medical care and if the mother experiences some complications, she might die,” said a concerned resident. Councilor Patson Sibanda emphasized that the village health team was given vehicles to transport people to hospital in case of emergency and village health workers were encouraged to constantly work closely and have a relationship with the residents. “Women should love and support each other and it is crucial for residents to know their village health workers.”
WILD representative, B. Ndlovu, facilitating the meeting encouraged women to pursue leadership roles because the issues they face affect their children and the entire community.
“The local mortuary is no longer working. Let us come together and get it fixed. We are here to proclaim the ‘POWER WITHIN THE WOMAN’. It is time for women to be involved in decision-making processes. A community only develops when we help each other,” said Councilor Patson Sibanda.
In conclusion, Councilor Patson Sibanda encouraged women to be hygienic at all times. “We should get involved in community cleaning activities because if we are tidy, our communities will not be affected by various diseases.” Women also pledged to fully participate in the upcoming budget consultation meetings scheduled by the council in the following week.
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