1. The Gender, Economic Policies and Public Finance (GEPPF)

The GEPPF programme is premised on the need to mainstream gender into local and national governance policies, programmes and budgets to achieve good economic governance.

National Government Gender Budgeting

The overall programme goal is ‘Women economically empowered through capacity building of government to mainstream gender in social and economic sector ministry policy, programmes and budgets in line with the National Gender Policy, to contribute to poverty reduction”.

The Expected Outcomes are:

  • Increased gender mainstreaming by government officials and legislators over a 2 year period as a result of training received in gender and gender budgeting
  • Improved capacity of government officials and policy makers in mainstreaming gender into legislation, policies and strategies in the 10 selected sector Ministries over a 2 year period
  • Increased demand for accountability from government by CSOs on national and international commitments for advancing gender equality as a result of training in lobbying and advocacy by 2012
  • Increased active participation of women in economic and public finance forums at local and national level resulting from lobbying and advocacy training

Strategies and Activities

Building upon the gains of previous years’ work under the Gender, Economic Policies and Public Finance (GEPPF) Programme, ZWRCN spends a great deal of time building awareness and skills in Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) of government technocrats, legislators, CSOs, the media and the general public.

GRB remains a new concept, and building a critical mass of GRB experts in key institutions is critical for sustaining the process and ensuring full institutionalisation of gender budgeting as a tool for gender mainstreaming. At national level, the programme employed four main strategies in the gender budgeting programme implementation, namely Human Capacity Building; Policy, Budget Analysis and Research; Budget Monitoring and Expenditure Tracking; Advocacy, Networking and Coalition Building. Below are some highlights from throughout the year.

Human Capacity Building: The human capacity building component focuses on strengthening the capacity of government and policymakers in crafting gender sensitive budgets, macro-economic frameworks and sector policies. ZWRCN has built the capacity of government technocrats such as Directors of Finance and Budget Review Officers in GRB. One of the major results is an enhanced understanding of gender budgeting concepts and practice, and renewed commitment to strengthen budget oversight from a gender perspective in 26 line ministries.

The relationship between the Legislature and civil society, as well as media in executive oversight and accountability in public finance cannot be overemphasized. Parliament, through such portfolio committees as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is a strategic institution whose role is invaluable towards guaranteeing public finance integrity. On the other hand, CSOs and media provide a complimentary oversight role, in the public finance management value chain. There is therefore need for Parliament to work closely with CSOs and media in order to leverage the research, and advocacy capacity of these complimentary actors. ZWRCN creates regular platforms for building the capacity of CSOs, Parliament and the media to play their role in promoting gender equality and public service accountability.

Policy, Budget Analysis and Research: In order to support government officials, and gender focal persons in mainstreaming gender, members of parliament , gender equality and women activists in civil society, and local communities ZWRCN produces a number of tools and information products, examples include:-

  • GRB Policy Brief – the brief articulates the value addition of mainstreaming gender into the national budget as a strategic intervention in fiscal reform, to strengthen public finance management and deliver on government’s mandate to deliver on citizen rights. The advocacy brief is targeted at government policymakers and members of parliament who are responsible for formulating or influencing policy.

  • GRB Position Papers for 4 sectors – ZWRCN developed GRB Position Papers in 4 Socio Economic Sectors, namely Higher and Tertiary Education, Mining, Health and Agriculture. The aim is to generate support on the gender concerns raised in the respective sectors. The position papers are based on facts gathered from desk research and evidence from programme implementation and provide a solid foundation for the arguments presented.

  • National Budget Fact Sheets (Sectoral) – Fact Sheets have been developed for use by Members of Parliament as a tool for budget monitoring and expenditure tracking. The fact sheets are developed for 6 sectors, namely, Education; Agriculture; Small to Medium Enterprises; Mining; Health; Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. They are designed to give legislators information about the sectors and to provide some critical talking points and questions or points to look out for as the monitor and track expenditure in the respective sectors through the Parliamentary Portfolio Committees. These are translated into Shona and Ndebele

  • GRB Brochures - a simple GRB brochure has been produced, has been translated into Shona and Ndebele. Simplification of the gender dimensions of the budget concept and use of relevant examples and illustrations in the brochure increases understanding of GRB concept which increases active participation of GBAC members in public finance and advocacy platforms.

Advocacy, Networking and Coalition Building: A major factor in strengthening the capability of women and CSOs to engage government and demand accountability for reduced gender inequalities, is the provision of information and advocacy on the right to participation. To this end, ZWRCN conducts civic education workshops on Gender Budgeting at district level. The workshops are part of a process of educating citizens on their rights, duties and responsibilities with respect to budget issues, to empower and motivate them to identify what areas of the political and governance processes they can effectively participate in; what they can do to influence political and budgetary outcomes and thereby improve the quality of governance and service delivery.

At the core of the GRB civic education are the values and principles of Transparency, Participation, Responsiveness, Accountability, Empowerment and Equity. Methodologically the civic education workshops are facilitated through the use of theatre as a development tool. A play is presented as a means of raising awareness on local and national budgets and service delivery issues. The drama presentation is very participatory and participants were encouraged to take part in the performance. The drama presentation is followed by a question and answer session, through which basic concepts on gender and gender budgeting are explained. This creates a relaxed atmosphere for participants to open up on issues affecting them as citizens which is not always the case, particularly in the presence of government officials. Through this participatory approach, the audience becomes more engaged to reflect collectively on the challenges experienced in service delivery and decision making processes at local and national government level. The drama presentation also sets the stage for the discussion of possible solutions to challenges presented.

2. Local Government Gender Budgeting

The overall goal of the programme is to ensure that “The Government and Civil Society Organisations are more capable, accountable and responsive to the needs of women and vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe, to enable them to exercise their social and economic rights as Zimbabwe citizens.”

Outcomes

  • Improved capacity of local government officials and policy makers in gender budgeting for increased budget allocation to finance women and vulnerable groups’ priorities;
  • Strengthened capacity of council officials and legislators to develop and engender policies, legislation, by-laws and guidelines for gender equality;
  • Increased participation of women and other vulnerable groups in council processes to influence policy and budget formulation;
  • Strengthened analytical capabilities of CSOs, CBOs, media and citizens in gender and gender budgeting to engage local government in demanding accountability to gender equality commitments.

Strategies and activities

ZWRCN is employing a two pronged complementary approach in its strategy to promote gender budgeting. The holistic approach aims to strengthen government’s capacity to effectively deliver on its public resource management mandate (supply side), whilst supporting communities to mobilise and demand, as citizens, delivery of quality public services (demand side). Strengthening the ‘supply side’ of service delivery has mainly been through building capacities of councillors and council officials to plan and budget in a gender responsive way, thus contributing towards local authorities that are responsive to the needs and priorities of their citizens. On the civil society side, ZWRCN aims at building the ‘demand side’ through strengthening capacity of various community groups such as faith based organisations, residents’ associations, informal traders associations, youth groups, people with disabilities, orphans and vulnerable children, through civic education on gender budgeting as well as budget monitoring and expenditure tracking. ZWRCN employed four main strategies in the gender budgeting programme implementation, namely Human Capacity Building; Policy, Budget Analysis and Research; Budget Monitoring and Expenditure Tracking; Advocacy, Networking and Coalition Building:

Human Capacity Building: The human capacity building component focuses on strengthening the capacity of government and policymakers in crafting gender sensitive budgets, macro-economic frameworks and sector policies. The human capacity building component also focuses on civic education for building a critical mass to demand accountability from the duty bearers. The following activities have been undertaken:-

Policy, Budget Analysis and Research: Local Governments Policies, Guidelines, Strategies, By-Laws and Budgets are the core instruments with which local authorities define and/or reflect their priorities. Gender Analysis of these plans and budgets enables local government technocrats and policy makers to identify gender gaps in their plans and to measure the gap between plans and resource allocation on gender equality commitments. ZWRCN GB analyses therefore provides technical “know how” through analysing the different impacts on different groups of people and making proposals to reprioritise expenditures and revenues, taking into account the different needs and priorities of women and men. The research component is the backbone of ZWRCN’s evidence based programming and forms the basis for advocacy initiatives to convince government technocrats and policymakers on the need to address gender gaps through gender budgeting and policy reforms.

Advocacy, Networking and Coalition Building: ZWRCN plays a pivotal role in Zimbabwe in advocating for gender and economic justice. ZWRCN is informed by a robust advocacy strategy which encompasses pre and post local government budget consultations, setting up of provincial budget action committees, facilitating public dialogue meetings and lobbying meetings with local authorities and relevant Parliamentary Portfolio Committees. ZWRCN’s advocacy initiatives in this regard aim at building the ‘demand side’ of governance.

 

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