WSPM Working Under Extremely Difficult Conditions

September 28, 2007

October 2006: Due to government repression as well as the ongoing economic crisis in which inflation rates have soared past 1,000%, NGOs and specifically, women’s rights organizations, face a great deal of difficulty in the work they do on the ground. Violence against women is on the rise, and there has been an increase in the number of female-headed households as men leave to find jobs elsewhere. The HIV/AIDS pandemic adds to the crisis women and children are facing in Zimbabwe.

Due to the economic and political crises, WLP Zimbabwe/Women’s Self-Promotion Movement (WSPM) was forced to relocate to a refugee camp in Tanzania. WSPM works through these enormous challenges by helping constituents, including women in the informal sector and in refugee camps, find solutions to more immediate problems such as loss of livelihoods and income.

At the end of September 2006, WSPM held an evaluation workshop to assess the effectiveness of the leadership training workshops held in February 2006. The 35 participants represented women from different refugee camps, NGOs, community based organizations, and local women from the community.

Women who attended the initial training recounted how the leadership skills enabled them to better network with one another. They learned the skills necessary to become a leader as well as how to mobilize to empower themselves. They also reported having an increased self-esteem at their work places.

The women who attended the original leadership workshop in February 2006 came together with one another to build consensus and a common vision, which resulted in the formation of a collective women's organization, the Women’s Forum for Peace and Development (WFPD). WFPD aims to promote understanding, peace, tolerance, leadership development, and economic empowerment of women and families.

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