Zimbabwe: Aspiring Women Leaders Prepare for 2023 Elections Amid Covid-19

The advent of Covid-19 has definitely changed the status quo, the upsurge of the virus’ infections and deaths has forced the government to impose a lockdown in a bid to control the spread of the virus. To date (27/02/2021), 36058 infections and 1463 deaths have been recorded.

Due to the lockdown restrictions and with the world migrating to a more digital space, the Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) and its partners have made it part of their mandate to engage aspiring women leaders and capacitate them so that they can embrace technology. WALPE has already started to train women leaders both in rural and urban areas to utilise virtual spaces such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype so that they will not be left behind.

On the 9th and 10th of February 2021, WALPE in partnership with Self Help Development Foundation (SHDF) with help from the United States Embassy held a series of online trainings on Social Entrepreneurship, Value Addition, Branding, Packaging and Market Linkages.

103 aspiring women leaders from Chiredzi were trained and this came against the backdrop of most women failing to have the financial muscle that men have, and thus making them fail to participate in leadership and decision making processes. The same target participants were previously trained by the two organisations in transformative feminist leadership to enhance their skills and knowledge to effectively run for public office.

During political campaigns, most women do not have access to funds to produce campaign materials such as posters, fliers, t-shirts or transport to move from point A to B leading to most of them failing to run successful campaigns.

The core of the trainings was on Social Entrepreneurship and the content included introduction to business management, production, processing, value addition, branding, packaging and market linkages.

With the country under COVID19 lockdown and women being the majority of frontline responders at family, community and national level, there is need for them to be equipped with skills to produce low cost personal protective equipment (PPEs) and in the trainings they were taught how to make hand sanitisers and washable facial masks.

The trained women leaders were informed to engage health experts when they want to make the hand sanitisers for commercial purposes. Some of them are going to be assisted with small income generating project funds by the two organisations so that they can expand their businesses in a niche to increase returns.

Source: Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE)

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