Interventions by the Zimbabwe Young Womens Network for Peace building (ZYWNP) have seen the Mutoko Community Share Ownership Trust committing to disburse two thousand dollars (US$2000.00) towards the roofing of Early Childhood Development (ECD) at Musanhi Primary School.
ZYWNP is one of five Community Based Organisations that came together, under the auspices of the Access to Information campaign launched by MISA Zimbabwe in March 2016, to target public institutions for information issues affecting the communities that they work in.
The targeting of the Trust board followed concerns by the local women over the lack of prioritization of the roofing of their local schools ECD block despite their contributions in facilitating the bulk of its construction. While the Musanhi community had been ear marked to benefit from the Community Trust fund, it has not yet received any funding for community development since the fund was launched 2006. Black granite mining companies operating in the district pay royalties to the fund.
In playing its intermediary role, ZYWNP undertook to raise awareness among the community on their constitutional rights to demand accountability and transparency from public authorities that serve them. The organization further emphasized rights to information relating to CSOTs by highlighting their provisions [mention the policy that provides for the sharing of information by the CSOTs]. This was important given the precedent that the few community meetings that had been held in that regard were usually convened by the Trust itself to share only information that they saw pertinent at the time. The community had organized itself to summon an authority to seek information or accountability on any issue that affected them. Second was the fact that the ECD Block initiative was initiated and driven by women in a rural community, and culturally, women in most rural settings in Zimbabwe would not,ordinarily,be seen in the forefront of a ‘demand’ on behalf of the community.
ZYWNP organized a meeting for interaction between the Trust and the community which was attended by its secretary and accountant, who clarified misinformation on its operations and justified the delay in the women’s project receiving funding, represented the Trust. A breakdown of the expenditure of the US$67,000.00 that the Trust has received so far in contributions was given to the community. The community was also informed that in some case, the Trust prioritized projects because they required urgency. Two other schools, Kuwanza and Hudya Primary schools, for instance, sought much urgent attention as both schools had lost the roof of their main classroom blocks during a wind storm.
While the community understood urgency required in dealing with the other two schools, they requested a projection by the Trust on when their project would likely receive funding to which the Trust committed to ensuring that funding for the ECD block was made available in February, provided mining companies submitted what was due.
Black granite mining in Mutoko began in 1972. The setting up of the CSOT came after the Mutoko Rural District Council in 2006, sued mining companies operating in the district for nonpayment of royalties for community development. Following the intervention by the Ministry of Mines the court case was withdrawn and settled out of court. It’s sad to note that despite the Mutoko RDC being the pioneers of the Community Share Ownership Trusts initiative, the Mutoko CSOT has not received the seed capital for its operations.
The ZYWNP will be following up on the disbursement of the funds.