TIZ capacitates CBOs to fight corruption
By Byron Mutingwende
Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ), through its Community Mobilisation and Advocacy (CMA) unit has targeted community-based organisations (CBOs) to capacitate their leaders to be able to train their members to craft initiatives to fight against corruption.
Speaking at the Methodist Women’s Centre in Epworth during a training workshop for the leaders of the CBOs on Thursday 24 November 2016, Danai Mabuto, TIZ Team Leader of the Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) said that the workshop was aimed at capacitating the local leadership so that they would be better placed to provide tools and approaches or knowledge to their members for them to stand up for a corruption-free Zimbabwe.
“Such programmes are meant to ensure the maximum participation and involvement of citizens in the fight against corruption by organising communities and providing them the requisite support for impact. As the leaders of the CBOs, you play a crucial role in that regard,” Mabuto said.
Tashinga Zamba, ALAC Programme Officer weighed in by elucidating the role of CMA and other units of TIZ in the anti-corruption drive.
Farai Makoni, the Founder and Director of the Women Empowerment Group (WEG) said that since his organization seeks to socially and economically empower women and children, particularly the girl child, they encounter corruption in their day-to-day work.
“There is a linkage between gender and corruption. Our activities are aimed at promoting gender equity and equality. Zimbabwe is largely a patriarchal society where efforts to create equal access for women and men are usually curtailed, making our work susceptible to corruption in the process,” Makoni said.
He cited gender disparities in access to land and housing as some of the factors leading to corruption.
“Within our communities we have seen women being victims of corruption. Most women don’t have housing stands. In their quest to access the housing services or land, they may be sexually abused. There is a long called “sextortion” which refers to sexual extortion – a form of corruption, “ Makoni said.
WEG is also involved in case management of child and women abuse. It emerged that in instances where rape cases are perpetrated by close relatives or people in positions of authority, the crimes are often swept under the carpet.
A woman who spoke on condition of anonymity said that when they report rape cases to the police, the law enforcement agents are often bribed to destroy incriminating evidence against the culprits.
WEG also supports teenage mothers and young women with financial, material and psychological help. They also assist their members with legal support where necessary.
Shanduko Yeupenyu Child Care is a Community Based Organisation (CBO) based in Epworth, which envisions communities in which all children are empowered and their rights realised in Zimbabwe.
It also provides psycho-social support to orphans and vulnerable children through home based care and counseling sessions. They also educate children, families and communities about children’s rights and responsibilities through the use of advocacy materials and training.
“The Epworth community is a very big community highly populated in some areas with illegal settlers. This has however gave Shanduko a challenge of missing some of the issues which are affecting our children in these areas due to their numbers as well as the way they are settled.
“The illegal eviction of children from their parents’ stands is rampant in some areas due to the nature in which their parents acquired these illegal stands. There are also overwhelming numbers of child abuse cases as well as child marriage issues which has resulted in some cases going unreported. Corruption within the police often results in some victim cases not handled well,” said the Director of Shanduko Yeupenyu, Cosmas Rongoti.
Loreen Mvurahungonwa, the Secretary of the Disabled Day Care Centre in Epworth runs a rehabilitation unit for disabled children. They get support form Plan International Zimbabwe and works in partnership with the Zimbabwe Parents of Handicapped Children Association.
“Most of us are widowed or divorced. We face stigma and discrimination from the community because we are parents of handicapped children. In most cases, there is corruption in choosing beneficiaries of the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM). Children from child-headed families, who are the most needy and deserving, are often ignored,” Mvurahungonwa said.
Pastor Calson Maushe, the Secretary and Principal of the Open Tribe Foundation Trust, which caters for orphans and vulnerable children, the elderly, the disabled and chronically ill people said they also grapple with corruption on a daily basis.
“We have 425 pupils at a makeshift school in Epworth for whom we run a feeding scheme and offer counseling services. We also cater for over 120 elderly people and the disabled. We are struggling to acquire land to construct a formal school, orphanage home, elderly home and vocational training centre due to the land governance system that is mired in corruption,” Maushe said.