Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) in partnership with Public Policy Research Institute for Zimbabwe (PPRIZ) conducted a citizen participation training which focused on capacitating citizens with necessary information to actively participate in developmental issues and civic engagement in their communities.
Speaking during the engagement Busani Ncube who was also the Facilitator said “It takes knowledgeable, organized, engaged, and nonviolent citizen participation to ensure that government genuinely serves the public interest.”
“The term citizen has a political connotation that indicates a particular kind of interaction between the populace and the government” said Ncube
The right to take part in decisions that influence the welfare of the public is one of the rights and duties that citizens have. Participation drives democratic and socioeconomic progress and is a crucial means of empowering citizens, in addition to having inherent democratic worth.
Umzingwane Residents Association Chairperson Gift Ndlela said “The duty bearers should always consult us before any decision is made. We as citizens should be on the forefront in all decisions that affects us as citizens”
The facilitator also managed to unpack how citizens can use social media to advocate for improved decision-making processes reiterating the need to stay apolitical when advocating or lobbying for specific issues.
“Advocacy does not endorse or oppose specific legislation, but rather informs the community at large how public policy decisions impact service provision.
“Social media involvement demonstrates how social media gives people the power to hold authorities accountable and transparent” said one of the participants.
During the activity, local participating champions were equipped with necessary tools and knowledge on how to input in policy making, take a leading role in advocacy issues and engage their duty bearers so as to demand people-oriented services delivery. “It is your right as citizens to self-organise and facilitate engagement with duty bearers because they represent you as citizens” said Busani Ncube. The training was guided by the training manual termed “Citizen Participation” Training Manual which was developed by CEEA project consortium partners who include Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD), Public Policy and Research Institute of Zimbabwe (PPRIZ), Community Podium, Gweru United Progressive Residents and Rate Payers Development Association (GUPRARDA), Youth Invest, Makokoba Development, DeSAZ and Esigodini Residents Association.
Citizens were also educated about advocacy and lobbying in an effort to inform and raise awareness of issues facing the community and the need of aligning public policy to address the need among politicians and the general public.
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