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This issue of the newsletter focuses particularly on activities WLSA implemented in April 2023

WLSA Gendered Situational Analysis of the Extractive Sector Book Launch
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WLSA Gender and Extractive Book Launch in Kadoma

The extractive sector, like many other industries, has historically been dominated by patriarchal structures that prioritise male leadership and perpetuate gender inequalities. Building a strong feminist movement and sharing information around extractives is important to see growth in women-led extraction initiatives.

Women and Law in Southern Africa, with support from the Ford Foundation, participated in the 7th Edition of the Gender and Extractives Symposium, which ended in Kadoma on the 21st of April.

The purpose of the symposium was to celebrate women’s month and advocate for access to digital technology and innovation for marginalised women in the extractives sector through the development of a communique.

Speaking at the event, WLSA Senior Legal Officer Hilda Mahumucha said the impact of climate change was gendered and bearing more on women.

"During a drought, women are the ones who typically search for water and food. In times of displacement, women are disproportionately affected due to their slower mobility compared to men. The intersection of gender, climate change, and extractives is complex and often creates challenges. Covid-19 exposed how most programming is not disaster-proof and building a strong feminist movement is important, and sharing information around extractives is very important," She said

WLSA had the opportunity to launch three publications and two policy briefs reports on Gender and Extractive, which are

Rumbidzai Makoni from Action Aid took the participants through understanding digital technology and how it can be utilised by women to be economically effective.

"Technology can be utilised for exploration, learning from other countries without leaving your home, climate change preparedness-

monitoring mines for health and safety reasons, using drones, and financially using online systems," she said

A number of institutions presented and highlighted the programming challenges they faced during the lockdown in 2020. ZIDAWU shared how they utilised the WhatsApp platform to continue monitoring the mines they could not physically visit.

It was also highlighted that other institutions like ZELA created BOTS on accessing environmental and mining laws online. They also trained community monitors in Shurugwi to note issues like community ownership shares and what that was utilised for. Technology was playing a critical role in information dissemination in communities at the time.

Speaking at the same event Fadzai Midzi from ZELA said the Gender symposium was a platform to empower the marginalised in the extractives. At the same time, she highlighted that women are left behind. There is a need to empower them to break the bias by utilising digital technology.

She noted that it is important for women miners to understand innovation and know how to utilise it.

Tracy from Centre for Natural Resources Governance presented on the experiences of women employed by mining companies and some of the challenges they face such as unfair labour practices, sexual exploitation and child labour practices amongst others.

Tracy also highlighted that women living in mining communities face environmental degradation, pollution displacement and gender-based violence.

"While cyber bullying was rife, cultural restriction and poverty are also rife in hindering using technology, there are benefits in utilising it. Civil society institutions are utilising it to advance women’s digital activism, mobilising women in digital activism and increasing online engagement e.g. Hashtag activities, #howfar? #Thisflag these have forced the duty bearers to respond," she said.

The symposium was attended by women miners, women living in mining communities, entrepreneurs, Ministry of women affairs, Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Zimbabwe Miners Federation, Zimbabwe School of Mines and CSOs.

Women Human Rights Defenders Digital Security Training

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Nigel Mugamu during the Digital Security training 

Women and Law in Southern Africa Zimbabwe, with the support of ICNL conducted digital Security Training with Women Human Rights Defenders.The aim of the training was to assist Women Human Rights Defenders in comprehending the significance of cybersecurity and equipping them with the skills to recognise potential threats and react appropriately.

A total of 30 Women Human Rights Defenders, including local Civil Society Organizations, participated in the Digital Security Training training.The participants were sensitised on managing cyber threats and risks associated with the Internet, web browsers, web apps, websites and networks.

Speaking during the Digital Security Training ,Nigel MUGAMU founder 263 said digital security is crucial for everyone, including women. Women are often targeted online for harassment, stalking, and cyberbullying.

"Protecting personal information, using strong passwords, and being cautious of suspicious emails or messages can help prevent digital attacks. It's also important to use privacy settings on social media and avoid sharing sensitive information online. Digital security empowers women to control their online presence and protect themselves from harm" Nigel said

Key take aways from the training

  • Continuous cybersecurity education and training are crucial for WHRDs.
  • Strong passwords are essential for good cybersecurity hygiene.
  • Applying software updates in a timely manner is crucial to mitigating cybersecurity risks.

WPP Community Dialogues in Masvingo 

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Aspiring female candidates during the WPP community dialogues in Masvingo 

With the support of International IDEA under the Women's Political Participation Africa Project (WPP), Women and Law in Southern Africa - Zimbabwe conducted community dialogues with aspiring female candidates in Harare, Marondera, Masvingo, and Murehwa.

The purpose of the dialogue was to provide a safe space for women to share their experiences from the just-ended primary electoral processes of their respective political parties. A total of 120 people from the four districts attended the dialogues, key amongst the participants were women who contested during the just-ended Zanu PF primary election and the CCC nomination processes, as well as representatives from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and Ministry of Women Affairs.

Speaking during Women's Political Participation community dialogue in Masvingo WLSA PRograms Coordinator, Patricia muganhiri said Women should not be dismayed by the negative comments they face when they participate in politics and the constitution of Zimbabwe, which is the country's supreme Law that guarantees gender equality, diversity and balance.

During the discussions, it was noted that the Women's quota system is being misused to disadvantage women. Political parties often use the excuse that women already have political power, which prevents them from fully participating in electoral processes. Additionally, many women experience sexual harassment and violence within political parties.

The community dialogues came at an opportune time when the country is preparing for the 2023 harmonised elections which are likely to be scheduled between July and August.


📷 WLSA Zimbabwe :Intergenerational Dialogue 

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WLSA conducts action research in the seven countries of Southern Africa namely Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The essence of action research is that we inform, advise and take action during the research.  In essence, we educate women about their legal rights, providing legal advice, questioning and challenging the law.

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