In a gathering of passionate minds and dedicated individuals, Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) from across Zimbabwe came together at Cresta Lodge in Harare for the highly anticipated Alliance for Community-Based Organizations (ACBOs) workshop. The event provided a platform for CBOs to express the concerns of their local communities and share insights on ways to address the challenges faced by their respective areas.
During the workshop, various CBOs presented an overview of the pressing issues affecting their communities. From lack of access to quality healthcare and education to unemployment, food insecurity, and inadequate infrastructure, corruption, environmental challenges, technological challenges, the concerns were as diverse as the communities they represented.
“…this should reach the high offices that deal with human rights, ZACC (Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission), Health Ministry. People are not getting health services if they do not pay extra amounts to doctors. operations, for example, are not done in time resulting in some pregnant mothers losing their babies. This is a serious issue that requires urgent addressing because this is happening in our government hospitals, central, provincial, and even the district hospitals,” remarked Magret Chogugudza from the Rural Young Women Support Network.
Godfrey Dzveta from Tariro Foundation of Zimbabwe Trust added that there is a need for the Social Welfare Ministry to make sure that persons with disabilities are well cared for.
“…there should be funds dispersed to the vulnerable on a monthly basis. however, these are not coming in time, they are inconsistently being dispersed. Some receive the funds after three months, and others even after four to five months. we really call for adequacy and consistency of such social services to persons with disabilities,” he said.
“…there are a lot of issues that happen, but duty bearers do not come back to the people and inform us about how our finances are being used. This issue has to be taken seriously. We expect the local authorities to inform us how they would have used the money and also report to us how the budget would have sufficed. At the national level, we also expect to know how our ministries operate, they should provide reports on the work done,” remarked Polite Agape Ndlovu of the Zimbabwe Organisation for Youth in Politics.
ACBOs Coordinator Merjury Mhlanga and the workshop facilitator emphasized the importance of engaging with local communities and addressing their specific needs.
“The power of CBOs lies in their ability to actively listen to the voices of their communities and bridge the gap between community needs and available resources,” she shared.
Throughout the workshop, participants engaged in dynamic dialogue sessions, sharing best practices, and discussing potential solutions to address the identified challenges. Perseverance Javangwe, a member of a local CBO, expressed gratitude for the platform the workshop provided.
“Often, the concerns of our communities go unheard, but today we have the opportunity to share our experiences, learn from others, and push for positive change. This is important for the development of the various and diverse communities that we represent,” he said.
The workshop also highlighted the significance of promoting sustainable development practices and encouraging community empowerment. Sessions on capacity building and resource mobilization equipped participants with the necessary tools to effectively drive change in their respective communities.
“While challenges may be daunting, by working together and remaining committed, we can turn these obstacles into opportunities for growth and development,” noted Ndlovu.
As the workshop drew to a close, participants left inspired and determined to implement the valuable insights and strategies they gained during the event. The ACBOs recognized the importance of immediate action to address the concerns of their communities.
Mhlanga, in her closing remarks, expressed her gratitude to all the participants for their active engagement and contributions. She stressed the importance of sustained collaboration among the CBOs as they work towards transforming their communities.
“We have built a network of dedicated individuals who share the same mission. Together, we will amplify the voices of our communities and create sustainable change, Let us always work together, collaborating with each other…” she said.
The workshop concluded with a sense of optimism and determination, as CBOs committed to ongoing communication and collaboration. They recognized that their joint efforts held the potential to ensure a brighter future for the local communities they serve.
The ACBOs workshop presented an invaluable opportunity for Zimbabwean CBOs to share concerns, exchange ideas, and lay the foundation for impactful community development initiatives. By fostering collaboration and empowering local communities, the participants moved one step closer to addressing the challenges faced by Zimbabwean communities and creating sustainable change.