The flag of the Republic of Zimbabwe (right) flying at United Nations headquarters in New York. Photo credit: UN.

We are delighted to announce the recent creation of a new national group: WILPF Zimbabwe.

Former British colony, today the Republic of Zimbabwe has a population of 13 million people and a life expectancy of 54 years.

Yet the economic situation is very challenging, facing high rates of unemployment, impoverishment and inflation.

Although Zimbabwe remains in peace since its independence in 1980, the country was involved in the war in Democratic Republic of Congo until 2003.

Zimbabwe, on the other hand, has been repeatedly accused of violating women’s rights among other abuses and atrocities against human rights, committed under the administration of Mugabe (in power since 1980).

For this reason, WILPF Zimbabwe Group will strive to support women’s meaningful participation to build a sustainable culture of peace and democracy through the establishment of a solid footing in lobby, advocacy and campaign initiatives.

We reached out to the group’s lead, Edwick Madzimure, to get to know more about the present and the future of this new national group.

What was the main reason to become part of WILPF family?

We are women and such we are directly affected by the gender based injustices that are faced by most women. Hence it is important that we are affiliated to a women’s organisation whose core value is peace. Coming from Zimbabwe, a developing state has made us first hand recipients of the challenges that are encountered by every typical women in the developing and developed states. These challenges are domestic violence, rape, child marriages, inheritance, poor representation of women in the political and economic sectors, there is need for women empowerment and involvement in peace building. There is gross violation of human rights yet there is no women organisation that is affiliated with international women’s organisations that is focused on improving the presentation of women.

Therefore to us being part of WILPF will give us a platform to improve women lives in all spheres.

In what ways do you believe that WILPF Zimbabwe group will make a difference in addressing the root causes of conflict and injustice in communities around the country?

As a WILPF Group we would unite women from various political, economic and social backgrounds and work towards the realisation of peaceful conflict resolutions methods. We would do this through holding awareness campaigns, taking part in special days for women giving presentations, participating in the country’s public forums giving emphasis on peace, through educating women and girls from all communities and background on the importance of peace building at household level, community, society and the nation at large.

Women are always on the sidelines and treated as inferior. To this effect WILPF Zimbabwe Group will also embark on empowerment projects for women and educate the nation on the importance of educating the girl child and giving her equal opportunity with her male counter part.

What difficulties have you faced up until now and what challenges do you believe that WILPF Zimbabwe group will experience in the future?

In our country for us to be able to start carrying out activities we must register as a Private Voluntary Organisation and it is a long process which requires money to travel to various offices that are not in our district and processing the necessary paperwork.

It is important to note that financial constraints are the major challenges that we are also going to face, our country is facing a major economic crisis so it is very difficult for us to have donors locally in order for us to carry out various activities. We are a group of women who share the common goal of ensuring sustainable peace and the emancipation of women from all spheres of life but in order for us to reach out to women nationwide we need resources hence lack of resources is the challenge that we feel we will encounter. We are very passionate and have a zeal in reaching greater heights and seeing an improvement in women’s lives.

What are WILPF Zimbabwe group’s main aims for the upcoming year and do you hope to achieve?

We intend to create an environment that women can come and get help on various issues affecting them. For instance, in our country the abuse of women is common (i.e. rape, child marriages and domestic violence). Most women suffer in silence because they do not know to how handle these issues.

We also want to start women empowerment projects so as to get rid of the over dependence of women on men that usually creates room for them to be abused. We would want to start educational campaigns where we gather women from all backgrounds and educate them on the importance of peaceful conflict resolution strategies and why peace is necessary. We also intend to work closely with other organisations that are into peace advocacy so as to come up with peaceful societies.

Read more on how to create a WILPF National Group step by step.