By Tatenda Mujeyi
The Zimbabwe Women’s Bureau is this week hosting a training of trainers’ workshop for the women’s cross border from six districts of Zimbabwe at its office in Harare so as to familiarise them with the circumstances they may encounter beyond the borders of the country in their line of duty.
“The Information for women’s voices targets informal cross border traders so as to understand their experiences in doing business so as to familiarise with the conditions for future discussions with key stakeholders. We are targeting 3000 cross border traders in Zimbabwe’s six districts of Manyame, Masvingo, Harare, Kwekwe rural, Gokwe South and Mutare,” Zimbabwe Women’s Bureau Director Ronika Mumbire said.
The workshop will explore the challenges being experienced by cross border traders so as to avail more information to the key stakeholders on their challenges and the trained will train others when they return.
“The main aim of the workshop is to facilitate knowledge on the challenges experienced by cross boarder traders and avail the information to ZRP, ZIMRA, NSSA, Immigration and government for redress. The trained individuals will also train others once they go back to their districts,” Mumbire said
The training is part of the Information for Women’s Voices Cross Border campaign which will see the organisation carrying out a variety of programs to engage different stakeholders on the issues affecting the female cross border traders.
“We have planned to engage in various programs that are aimed at facilitating for the generation of knowledge on cross border trading. Some of the programs that we will host include press conferences, design of a mobile application, stakeholder workshops and road shows so as to avail information on the issues affecting cross boarder traders,” Mumbire said.
Challenges faced by cross border traders include corruption, passport shortages and shortage of finance to fully meet orders as required by customers.
“Passports are our biggest challenge as we are failing to access this important document which is part of our cross border activities. We applied for passports last year but had not accessed them until we engaged some legal officers whom we paid to assist us, ” said Miriam Tendai Mangena, a cross border from Masvingo who is attending the workshop.
“Corruption is the biggest challenge we face as we have to pay ZIMRA and ZRP officials regularly to reach our destination with all our purchases. The police and ZIMRA officials are always demanding money from us for no apparent reason,” said Thandiwe Mlambo from Seke District.
There were calls from cross border traders for government to reconsider some taxation procedures that worked against the cross boarder traders interests.
“Government should change their approach in dealing with us as the laws were supporting corruption. We are left at the mercy of the ZIMRA and ZRP officials when smuggling becomes the only option as we at times need to buy more products than the number required by the law so as to realise profits,” Mangena added.
The workshop is running for three days at the Zimbabwe Women’s Bureau’s office in Harare under the theme “Information for Women’s Voices.”