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Sweden consolidates culture support to Zimbabwe
Swedish Development Agency (SIDA)
Extracted from
It's Sweden Newsletter - July 2005
July 01, 2005

Sida is reviewing its funding mechanism to the arts and culture sector in Zimbabwe following a successful evaluation of the Zimbabwe Culture Fund. The process will see Sida phasing out support to some partners receiving direct funding from the Embassy.

"We are looking at establishing the Culture Fund as a technical and financial conduit for all programmes in the arts and culture sector to ensure consistency and administrative effectiveness", says Alpha Chapendama, Programme Officer at the Embassy of Sweden in Harare.

"However, this does not mean we will abandon our existing partners. Rather, we feel they will be served better by a more systematic and consolidated funding system that responds to their needs," says Chapendama.

The results of the evaluation show that the establishment of the Fund was received with "excitement and expectations" in the arts and culture community.

The evaluation emphasises the need for investment in the capacity of individuals and groups tasked with managing the affairs of the Fund, including a proactive use of information and communication technologies to enhance the Fund’s operations. It also recommends the need for a strong ideology and a clear vision for the Fund.

Given the national character of the Fund, the evaluation says the Fund should ensure that there is a regional and gender balance among the artists receiving support.

The current board of the Fund says it has already started the process of restructuring at board and secretariat level to meet the challenges that come with the new responsibilities.

"We are ready to take on the challenge which is why we are taking the findings of the evaluation report seriously. We have tabled proposals to restructure the organisation at both secretariat and board level", says Titus Chipangura, chairperson of the Culture Fund.

He added that "this implies that we adopt a new vision and mission to take on the envisaged responsibilities".

"We will also discuss ways of ensuring that we build the capacities of those that receive support from the Fund to ensure consistency and sustainability," he said.

Sweden’s support to the culture sector in Zimbabwe started over two decades ago. At the time, support was given in small grants to individual artists. Today, cultural support has become one of the largest areas of support with grants amounting to over US$1,5 million each year.

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