The recent exchange visit, facilitated by the Democracy Development Programme (DDP), between the Kwazulu-Natal Multi-Party Women’s Caucus and the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus showcased the power of women coming together to empower each other. It served as a platform for discussing common challenges faced by women in Parliament and their societies, while also strengthening their relationships. This cross-border engagement has broken down barriers and demonstrated that women, regardless of their geographic location, fight for the same cause, especially in patriarchal African societies.
KZN Multiparty Women’s Caucus and DDP Team paying a courtesy call to the South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe’s Residency
During the visit, both caucuses shared their experiences and lessons learned in their political careers. They emphasized the importance of empowering the girl child and recognizing the vital role women play in every community. Both caucuses have been advocating for women and girls in their respective countries, particularly in areas such as education, gender-based violence, political participation, and equal representation. They acknowledged that despite progress, the implementation of gender equality policies has been slow and inconsistent, and there is a need for adequate funding to support programs promoting women’s empowerment.
A significant aspect of the exchange visit was inspiring future generations. It emphasized that empowering future leaders starts with changing the mentality of society and recognizing the capabilities of youth. The delegates questioned the composition of the Ministry of Youth, stressing the need for youth representation in positions of influence, especially in matters that affect them directly. The consensus was that a quota system should accommodate youth in parliament, aligning with constitutional provisions that guarantee their right to opportunities and representation. Efforts to empower women should extend to schools, churches, and other spheres where girls can receive career-building civic participation lessons and be inspired to participate in politics.
The exchange visit highlighted the importance of amplifying women’s voices and supporting their businesses. The caucuses agreed to unite to empower women, support their campaigns, and appreciate their skills. By doing so, women can lead and thrive collectively. The visit showcased success stories, such as the Kwazulu-Natal Multi-Party Women’s Caucus having a 32-year-old Member of Parliament, and the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus partnering with organizations like Talia and Musasa, which help women and girls find sustainable means of empowerment.
KZN Multiparty Women’s Caucus members at Musasa Project Offices for site visit
Furthermore, the visit included several courtesy calls and meetings with key government institutions and civil society actors. The Kwazulu-Natal Women’s Caucus met with their Zimbabwean counterparts, where they shared overviews of their respective parliamentary caucuses, discussed the situation of women in their countries, and exchanged experiences on promoting women’s empowerment and addressing challenges. Additionally, the KZN Multi-Party Caucus had the opportunity to meet with the Zimbabwe Parliament Budget Office to gain insights into the budget process and gender-responsive budgeting. They also engaged with the Committees Department, gaining an overview of its functions. The delegation paid a courtesy call to the Zimbabwean Clerk of Parliament, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, the President of the Senate, and the South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe, exchanging notes on various issues affecting women. They also met with the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, where they learned about the commission’s role in advancing women’s rights in Zimbabwe guided by the country’s constitution. Another important engagement was the meeting with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, where the KZN Multi-Party Caucus was apprised of its role in economically capacitating women in the country.
Aside from meeting key government institutions, the KZN Women’s Caucus also met with key civil society actors in Zimbabwe who are advancing the women’s cause. They visited the Musasa Project, an NGO focused on Gender-Based Violence in Zimbabwe and were apprised of the state of GBV in the country. They also toured the Musasa project building, which provides facilities to assist GBV victims, including counselling rooms, a clinic, and a call center. Additionally, the women visited Talia Women’s Network, which empowers women and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease, and social injustice. They learned about Talia’s interventions aimed at developing large-scale, positive changes through economic and social programs that enable women and children to realize their potential. The KZN Women’s Caucus was warmly received at the Women’s Coalition in Zimbabwe offices in Harare, where they met with the staff and learned about the organization’s role in collective activism and policy advocacy on women’s issues. They were also informed about the organization’s networking efforts and its involvement in developing alternatives to the current political environment. The delegation concluded their visit at UN Women Zimbabwe, where they were apprised of the organization’s work in enhancing women’s issues in Zimbabwe.
The exchange visit between the Kwazulu-Natal Multi-Party Women’s Caucus and the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus not only served as a platform for knowledge sharing and empowerment but also highlighted the importance of documenting the impactful work done by women in their respective societies. By documenting and showcasing their efforts, we can recognize and celebrate the significant contributions made by women in driving positive change.
KZN Multiparty Women’s Caucus and Zimbabwe Women’s Caucus Members
Throughout the visit, the delegates shared their stories of empowerment and progress, providing inspirational narratives that challenge stereotypes and demonstrate the leadership qualities of women. By documenting these stories, we can inspire others and provide tangible examples of women making a difference. Furthermore, the visit shed light on the advocacy work undertaken by the caucuses and their partners, emphasizing the need to document their efforts in promoting gender equality, women’s rights, and empowerment.
This documentation raises awareness about the challenges faced and the progress made, serving as a comprehensive record of their tireless efforts to bring about positive social transformation. Moreover, documenting the collaborations and partnerships formed during the visit encourages further networking and knowledge sharing among women’s groups, NGOs, and government agencies, enabling a stronger collective impact.
By amplifying the voices of women through publications, documentaries, and social media platforms, we ensure their stories are heard and their achievements recognized. This documentation also serves as a vital tool for preserving historical contributions and inspiring future generations to pursue their own dreams and make a significant impact on their communities and societies.
Ultimately, by documenting the work of women in their societies, we celebrate their contributions, inspire others, and foster a more inclusive and equal world.
The exchange visit between the Kwazulu-Natal Multi-Party Women’s Caucus and the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus has played a significant role in breaking down barriers, sharing experiences, amplifying voices, and inspiring future generations. It has emphasized the importance of empowering women and girls, advocating for their rights, and creating an enabling environment for them to thrive. To achieve gender equality, sustained efforts are necessary, including increased investment in education, healthcare, and economic development. By working together, these caucuses have demonstrated that women are strategic and progressive leaders, ready to make a positive impact on their communities and societies.