Sweden unveils $420k for Zim women

Harare – Sweden on Monday released $420 000 towards projects aimed at increasing participation of Zimbabwean women in elections as the country heads for polls next year.

Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe Sofia Calltorp launched the project dubbed “Strengthening Women’s Advocacy for Inclusive Governance” which is expected to run for 18 months.

Speaking at the occasion, Calltorp said Sweden had a long history of supporting feminist organisations as it was also the first country in the world to pursue a feminist foreign policy.

“We are here to sign an agreement with the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, Gender and Media Connect and the Social Advocacy Institute and it’s an agreement for $420 000 that Sweden will contribute to this important project which is about strengthening women participation in political processes in Zimbabwe,” she said.

“Sweden is proud to be a feminist government with a feminist foreign policy and we believe that the equal participation of women in all aspects of society is key for the sustainable development of any society. That is why we are very happy to be able to contribute to the empowerment of women in Zimbabwe,” she said.

Calltorp added: “We hope that the project will empower women to be more visible when it comes to governance at all levels from Parliament to local councils.”

Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe chairperson Pamela Mhlanga said the project was about promoting women’s participation in governance processes and ultimately elections.

“This is an 18-month project and we are targeting 2 million women throughout the country. The intervention has a strong focus on mobilizing women within provinces and ensuring that related governance structures incorporate women’s needs as voters and candidates,” she said.

In Zimbabwe, women constitute 52 percent of the population.

According to the Research and Advocacy Unit, more women vote but this does not correspond with the numbers of women in elected leadership positions as they tend to support men than their own.

– New Ziana.

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