By Nyasha Mutena
The Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Hon Stembiso Nyoni has urged rural women across the country to embrace and exploit ICTs centres that have been availed by the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICTs) in the provinces.
In her statement on the International Day of Rural Women yesterday, Hon Nyoni said her ministry has the mandate to see that women are empowered adequately to participate in the economic sphere since their contributions play an integral role in building stronger economies and improving livelihoods.
“Our goal as the ministry is to ensure that women are empowered sufficiently to participate fully in the full spectrum of the economic activities that are essential in building stronger economies and improving the quality of life for women, men, families and the community as a whole.
“This is done through skills development, technology transfer, value addition of local produce as well as provision of funding for women’s projects,” said Hon Nyoni.
This year’s international celebrations are running under the theme “Rural women and girls building climate resilience” whilst the national theme is dubbed “Empowering Rural Women and Girls for Sustainable Food Security and Improved Livelihoods in Zimbabwe through provision of sustainable infrastructure services and social protection schemes”.
Minister Nyoni said situations when women who seek decent livelihoods are denied safe trading spaces were regrettable and undermines their efforts towards empowerment. She said her ministry is engaging local authorities to ensure that women are allocated safe trading spaces.
“The ministry reserves marketing space at local exhibitions and expos for female participants to expose them to potential clients and investors, thus growing their market base. Efforts are underway towards engaging local authorities to ensure that women are allocated safe trading sites,” Hon Nyoni said.
She said her ministry is championing women’s health as evidenced by the donation it made through the Anti Domestic Violence Council when it provided dignity kits to meet the hygiene needs of women who were affected by Cyclone Idai.
Minister Nyoni said this year’s launch of the celebrations will be held at Biriri High School in Chimanimani on the 22nd of October and welcomed everyone to offer onsite post-cyclone disaster counselling.
The International Rural Women’s Day was adopted by the United Nations Conference for Women in Beijing in September 1995. The day has become important in acknowledging the voices of rural women, taking note of their diversity, roles and circumstances.