The young women of Bulawayo have called on the Ministry Of Women Affairs, Gender and Community development to have quota systems in the distribution of the Women’s Development Fund as well as in the selection of beneficiaries for their programmes as most young women have not benefitted from the Ministry’s programmes.
Speaking at a Young woman’s networking meeting convened by the National Youth Development Trust at ONDOSA training centre, the young women told representatives of the Ministry that they were not aware that the Ministry had programmes as well as a development fund that could benefit them, as such they have not been a part of them.
“There is need for the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development to scale up information dissemination because we have never heard about some of the programmes they undertake,” said Patience Mahlangu, a young woman from Pumula North. “Most young women can benefit from these as levels are of youth unemployment are at an alarming rate. The Ministry should conduct awareness campaigns particularly in the townships where the majority of young women are suffering the adverse effects of poverty,” she said
The Ministry’s representative, Rusere Rusere, agreed that the Ministry was reaching out to more older women than the younger women and encouraged the young women to visit the Ministry so that they can access information about the programmes and be acquainted with their respective ward co-ordinators. He told the young women that the Ministry had a number of programmes such as Legal literacy and Gender Based Violence Sensitisation workshops which young women could participate in.
“As the Ministry of women affairs, gender and community development we also have a women’s development fund which should help in economically empowering women,” said Rusere. “The fund is available for all those who fit in the criteria regardless of political affiliation. The only requirements are that women should be in groups of between three to six people and should have an ongoing project. Each group should have a constitution and a project proposal. Individuals from each group should bring certified copies of their identity documents, proof of residence as well as quotations for their inputs,” he said.
In the past, young women have not benefitted from the Women’s development fund, as they were often referred to the Ministry of Youth, Indegenisation and Economic Empowerment’s youth fund, leaving the older women to benefit more from the youth fund. However, the trend has been that most young women from the Matabeleland region have failed to benefit from the youth fund, which was suspended due to several administrative challenges, and have been left without any form of fund to assist them.
Rusere advised the young women to group themselves before approaching the Ministry for different capacity building trainings in their wards. He further advised that they should start any type of projects which would then enable them to be get a share of the Women’s Development Fund as the fund was being used to bankroll already existing projects.
Young Women’s networking meetings are platforms availed by the NYDT to interface young women with organizations that offer various services regarding situations directly affecting them so that they may gain knowledge on who to approach for assistance in the various situations they face.