By Tendai Guvamombe

It has been perceived that men’s dominance in the society and coupled with other factors such as traditional norms and values have been impeding on the progression of women’s socio-economic status across societies.

The current efforts made so far by UN Agencies, Civic Society, Development Partners and Private Players have now moved a step further in embracing Sustainable Development Goals on Women Empowerment.

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5) is the major key indicator that specifically emphasizes on gender parity in all spheres. The same goal aims to achieve gender equality by ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls. It further elaborates on the full participation of women and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of political and economic decision making.

In line with this background, Plan International Zimbabwe is implementing a youth empowerment programme in Epworth and Stoneridge. The programme is aimed at building the capacity of young people so that they are economically active, especially after setbacks due to COVID-19 and the negative perceptions that women face.

A considerable number of youths in Harare went through a capacity building training on skills management. This covered various courses which include business leadership, book keeping, business entrepreneurship among other areas.

This publication embarked on a field visit to Epworth, a high-density suburb in Harare with a view to assess the level of women’s economic progressions following the implementation of urban youth economic empowerment project by Plan International.

This news crew caught up with few young women who established some economic projects after receiving capacity building trainings.

Lisa Muzavazi aged 34 who owns an Early Childhood Development School at Domboramwari in Epworth expressed her excitement after attending entrepreneurship, leadership and book keeping trainings. She felt empowered in her line of work from the trainings.

“I attended skills development trainings provided by Plan International and this was useful in the sense that I am now able to apply the acquired techniques in my area of work. Prior to the trainings, I had only few pupils at my ECD but today I have recorded more than 60 children and I have also employed two more teachers as part of my staff.”

According to Muzavazi, the trainings were crucial in terms of providing mechanisms that led to a shift of her mindset in realizing her goal for success as a woman. She added that women are failing to make it largely because of lack of confidence.

“The main issue is centered around the mindset where we thought that women are not able to make it in terms of fulfilling their economic endeavors. As for me I just realized that lack of confidence is the main reason that was pulling me down.”

Muzavazi is now a living testimony of a successful young woman who realized her goal for success in the economic empowerment space.

The news crew also caught up with Yvonne Mazonde, a 21-year young woman who partnered with others in a group of three to venture into mushroom farming. She was entrusted to be the treasurer of the project initiative.

In her own perspective, she felt empowered to be a team leader responsible for the handling of project finances and procurement.

“After receiving the trainings on skills development we formulated a group of five where I am the only woman and decided to venture into mushroom production. Today we generate funds that are able to sustain our livelihoods. The most important aspect is that all men whom I am working with entrusted me to be in charge of finances and procurement. For me this actually boosted my confidence that as women we are capable of occupying positions of leadership.”