By Byron Mutingwende
The Enhancing Nutrition, Stepping Up Resilience and Enterprise (ENSURE) programme being implemented in the villages seeks to promote gender equality and women empowerment in maternal health and child nutrition.
In her keynote address at the ENSURE Gender and Village Savings and Loans handover ceremony held at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Harare today, Ambassador Rudo Chitiga, the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development congratulated CARE International Zimbabwe and other ENSURE consortium members like World Vision, SNV and SAFIRE for employing gender transformative approaches in the districts of Zaka, Bikita, Chivi, Chipinge, Chimanimani and Buhera.
The Ensure project, funded by USAID, has assisted in the alleviation of poverty and helped in gender mainstreaming. The US$86 million project commenced in 2013 as a 5-year program and was extended in 2018 and will end in February 2020 through financing from the American government. The project was structured with three main aims that are nutrition, increasing income and resilience to food security.
Ambassador Chitiga reiterated government’s commitment to socio-economic development that takes into account the diversity in social, cultural and traditional settings.
“The country is making efforts to address cultural norms, practices and imbalances which exacerbate vulnerabilities of women, men, girls and mitigate their enjoyment of rights as well freedoms,” Ambassador Chitiga said.
Zimbabwe has ratified most of the fundamental conventions designed to achieve gender justice across all sectors. Key developments at national level the National Gender policy; the Constitution; the establishment of Gender Focal Points in all line ministries; and the development and implementation of the implementation of the gender budgeting that saw the creation of the Women’s Fund, just to mention a few.
The ENSURE programme also supports women’s economic empowerment and resilience building through village savings and lending schemes, agriculture production and marketing. The project partners with financial institutions to enhance access to loans and credit.
ENSURE is also promoting gender equality and empowerment in food security and nutrition and maternal health in line with Vision 2030.
“I am confident that the project’s gains over the last six years will go a long way in sustainably transforming the lives of vulnerable communities especially women. Let us take this opportunity to commend the team work that is exemplified by the project where stakeholders exchanged knowledge, ideas and tools on how best we can improve our work and attain gender equality and women empowerment, a key requirement for sustainable development,” Ambassador Chitiga added.
The project incorporated financial training and funding as a means to alleviate poverty as well as foster self-sustainability. It facilitated training of communities on poverty alleviation through pre and post-harvest training and management platforms for enhanced sustainable management programs.
Within ENSURE, the ministry of women affairs committed to integrate the manual for social analysis and action for health and nutrition; gender training guide for agricultural production and marketing; gender training guide on resilience, the village savings and loans manual as well as to engage men for gender equality in nutrition.
Care International committed to support the Government of Zimbabwe in implementing and utilising these manuals as well as continued capacity building whenever required.