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Information sharing meeting with the community at Musanhi primary school, Mutoko

On 24th of October 2017, the ZYWNP team hosted an Information sharing meeting with the community at Musanhi Farmer’s hall in Musanhi ward 9. The purpose of this meeting was to;

  1. To ascertain the progress made so far with the roofing of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) block situated at Musanhi Primary School;
  2. Provide a platform for the community and duty bearers to engage and promote honest feedback; and,
  3. Identify the challenges, gaps; propose solutions and map a possible way forward.
  4. To ascertain the Government’s position regarding the construction of schools and resource mobilisation for such projects.

Background

Mutoko Community Share Ownership Trust, Chief Executive Officer, Peter Sigauke on 2 December 2016, made a commitment on behalf of the Trust to disburse two thousand dollars (US$2000.00) towards the roofing of the Musanhi Primary School ECD block that the community constructed.

Previously, the Musanhi community, in a bid to ensure community development in education, had also constructed an Administration block at Musanhi Secondary School. However, due to lack of resources, the building went for 10 years without a roof. The community worked tirelessly together with their councillor to complete the roofing stage of this Administration block after receiving no help from the responsible authorities. Currently, the same building needs to be plastered and floored. 2 years later and this is yet to happen.

This information request was prompted by the failure of a community initiative by women to complete a classroom block to accommodate their younger children at the local school.

However, due to delays, Musanhi Primary school took out a loan of USD $3,100.00 with interest from Agribank, and on 25 August 2017, roofing of the ECD block commenced. Roofing was completed on the 27th of August 2017.

Given this information, ZYWNP sought to engage the Trust board on the criteria for the selection of projects to be carried out in the community, as well as facilitate for an information sharing meeting between the community and Education authorities.

Information Meeting

On the 23rd of October 2017, the ZYWNP team travelled to Mutoko to hand deliver invitation letters to the Mutoko Rural District Council and the District offices for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education based at Mutoko centre.

The visit was conducted on 24 October 2017 at ward level and took the form of a community dialogue which was facilitated by Patience Thauzeni, the ZYWNP’s programs officer.

Among the participants in attendance were Mr S. Zulu the internal auditor at the RDC, Mr S. Chidzurira the District Schools inspector, Mr Mabota the headmaster for Musanhi Primary School, the Headmaster for Musanhi Secondary school, the ward councillor Mr K. Katsiga, the ward youth officer, the ward coordinator; 21 Village heads and the Musanhi Community. Macdonald Bashoni the Finance officer for ZYWNP; MISA Zimbabwe Broadcasting and ICTs officer and Intern were also present.

The community first gave a background of what led to them coming together as women and men, old and young to mould bricks and construct the Musanhi Primary school ECD block. ZYWNP representing Musanhi Community wanted to find out if the Mutoko Community Share Ownership Trust still intends to fulfil their commitment to give the school the promised USD $2,000.00, even though the school has since completed the roofing. However, there was no representative from the Community Share Ownership Trust to respond and provide a definitive answer to this.

The duty bearers outlined their responsibilities concerning the provision of and access to quality education to the community.

It was ascertained during discussions with the Headmasters of both Musanhi Primary and Secondary schools that the Minimum (functionality) school standards for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary education should be read by parents to assess if their schools are considered schools by the Ministry of Primary and secondary education. According to the Minimum (functionality) school standards, a school should have at least two ECD blocks which are functional, yet Musanhi Primary has one ECD block which is 47% complete according to the Headmaster Mr Mabota.

It was also ascertained during discussions that the two headmasters although able to articulate problems that are being faced by the school could not respond to the community when asked by one of the community members what the meaning of the word curriculum was.

Mr Chidzurira, the District schools inspector then stepped in and explained the new curriculum and also defined the word curriculum for the benefit of the community. What was most apparent, was the majority of the community members did not know what the new school curriculum is about nor how the new curriculum would impact on their children’s education. The new or updated curriculum has been in use in schools since 10 January 2017.

There was also a realisation that the councillor and ward development committee changed the project selected by women for the Rural District Council community projects selection named 3+2 without the knowledge or input of the women in the community.

According to Abel Masarira, the ward youth officer for Musanhi, “Young people should be empowered by participating and being included in the development plans of their communities” The feedback we receive from ZYWNP meetings allow us to make informed decisions.

Councillor Kenias Katsiga pointed out that sharing relevant information at the right time helps the community to plan effectively. He also said that information sharing empowers people and promotes transparency and accountability.

Lessons learnt

There is no alignment between the community and duty bearers communication processes, structures and the community thought process is not in sync. They are used to the idea of someone else thinking for them and see the development dialogue as separate from the everyday issues that affect them as women and thus they cannot interrogate processes and procedures”. At the end of the day, what is pertinent is to have a critical mass of young women who are engaged in their community and national processes.

As ZYWNP, we believe that;

  1. The duty bearers must clearly explain processes and procedures before carrying them out with, or in the communities so that no one is left behind.
  2. The community should go through a community best planning training to help them do things more coordinated and inclusive of everyone.
  3. There is need to do civic education specifically to encourage citizens especially young women to interrogate processes and to demand accountability and transparency from a well informed and issue-based perspective.
MISA Intern

MISAintern@misazim.org

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