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Short interviews with Non-Governmental Organisations at the NGO Expo - Harare Gardens
Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa, Kubatana.net
August 27, 2009

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Maria Mache

What NGO are you with?
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

With regard to your work what issues are you currently focussing on?
At the moment we are focussing on issues to do with the constitution making process. Issues to do with transitional justice. Issues to do with social and economic justice among many other issues.

How is the broader political environment helping or hindering your work?
At the moment we can say that to some extent the political environment has changed and it is actually helping our work. Because it-s not easier to get police clearances which was a taboo in Zimbabwe. But on the other hand as well, we are also saying that the environment hasn-t changed to some extent because repressive laws remain, as long as we have to apply for a police clearance, under the Public Order and Security Act then Zimbabwe is not a democracy. And issues to do with media coverage, they are still there. The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act is still there. So as long as those pieces of legislation are there we cannot have a democratic Zimbabwe and our work will always be hindered.

How do you communicate with your constituencies?
We actually communicate through Roadshows, through consultative meetings. Last weekend on Saturday we actually had a Roadshow at Mufakose shops where we were talking about the constitution. We were launching the 'Voice Up- Constitutional campaign, where we are encouraging people to speak out and demand their rights in the new Constitution. And, it was a very effective Roadshow, we had Majongwe there to entertain, we had people like Cde. Fatso, Bikko, people who-ve been in the struggle and who know what it-s like to be in the struggle. And we are going to be continuing with those roadshows. At the same time we are also launching our consultative meetings on the Constitution, community Outreach meeting. We are going as far as Muzarabani, and Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe to talk about the Constitution and how people can get engaged and involved.

How do you stay inspired in your work?
I guess as our vision says, our vision is to see a democratic Zimbabwe. For most of us at Crisis, a democratic Zimbabwe is something that we-ve always wanted since we were very young, and that-s what keeps us going, just making a difference in peoples- lives and helping people achieve exactly what they want to achieve in Zimbabwe.
Listen

Patience Nkatazo

What NGO are you with?
I-m with the Zimbabwe National Students Union. It-s an NGO that represents students in tertiary institutions. So we currently have 43 member institutions and close to 300 000 students that we represent. We mainly represent students in training institutions, agricultural colleges, polytechnics and Universities.

With regard to your work what issues are you currently focussing on?
We are mainly focussing on the issue of making sure that the right to education is enshrined in the Constitution; and we are also mainly focussing on the current state of the education sector and tertiary institutions, including tuition fees, infrastructure, libraries..

How is the broader political environment helping or hindering your work?
It-s actually helping us because, now we-ve got a place to go. Its no longer a one party state. So at least we know if this party won-t support us we can go to the other party. And we now have got a broader spectrum of people we can approach with our problems because we-re currently working on a paper, that we-re going to present to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and to the Prime Minister. We did a research on the institution in Zimbabwe, and we gathered our information so we-re going to present to them, telling them that this is the current state of the education sector, the proposed solutions from the students themselves and our demands as a union.

How do you communicate with your constituencies?
We-ve got general counselors, student leaders. As a union we travel, in various provinces. We go to tertiary institutions. We hold consultative meetings whereby, we ask them what their problems are, and what their solutions are and what they want us as a union to do for them. We hold capacity building workshops where we capacitate our student leaders on how to lead their institutions as leaders.

How do you stay inspired in your work?
Generally by just seeing the students. You know students come to us, they complain 'we can-t learn, we can-t do this- and I-m a student as well, at Midland State University, I-m on internship. Being a student and seeing the state of the education sector and the brain drain . . . we-ve got brain drain from the lecturers to the students and generally wanting to uplift our economy as student because we are the future leaders of tomorrow. So that-s what inspires us as a union. Listen

Danai Mahachi

What NGO are you with?
Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Education Trust (WLSA)

With regard to your work what issues are you currently focussing on?
We are focussing on women issues. Especially, we do research, we go into the community, we educate women on reproductive health; maintenance; inheritance, we encourage them to know their information. And also now we are looking into the 2010, FIFA, we are trying to say women and girls don-t be trafficked because most of women, you know anyone can just approach them: 'please can you go to South Africa, I want to give you a job." When they get there, they will be led into prostitution. And some of them they don-t even have enough documentation. Then from there they are stuck. So we are trying to say, women don-t be trafficked, you should know information. We have got this directory where you know when you feel that you are trafficked you contact those organizations. We try and distribute them as much as possible so that people they get those directories and they know where to contact them. And we also do legal advice. People they come to our offices, especially women, but now we are trying to balance the gender, men and women if you have got problems you come to our office, we are free to help you but usually these days because we have got so many projects our lawyer might not be in the office. You have to first phone. When you phone you make an appointment, she-ll be there to assist you. That-s mostly what we do.

How is the broader political environment helping or hindering your work?
I don-t say much on that but it was quite . . . it affected so many people so on that I don-t comment much.

How do you communicate with your constituencies?
We communicate through media, posters and usually we go there. Like we have got some programmes in Binga, Gweru, Rusape, Nyanga. We have been to Beitbridge and Gwapa. That-s where we are trying to educate women

How do you stay inspired in your work?
I think we are doing a great job. Because most women and organizations like Musasa Project, ZWLA and LRF are referring clients to us. So it show that we are doing a great job. So as WLSA I feel we are doing well. Especially in helping women who have got problems so I-m proud of the work that we are doing. Listen

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Audio File

  • Maria Mache
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 19sec
    Date: August 27, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 310KB

  • Patience Nkatazo
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 24sec
    Date: August 27, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 382KB

  • Danai Mahachi
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 24sec
    Date: August 27, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 387KB

 

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