By Fadzai Nyamasve, Joy Mupariwa and Vimbai Kanyonganise
Infrastructure development in Zimbabwe remains under strain to meet growing demand and the much needed investment is lagging. In most African countries, only about a third of women participate in economic activities, and yet research shows that when women are actively involved, there is significant improvement to GDP is better governance and improved performance within organisations.
As DIDG women our objective is to mobilise the diaspora to partake in the process of funding and transforming infrastructure development, we strongly believe our diaspora women are catalysts to drive this change
As women, we have crucial role in the development of our country’s infrastructure and for the sub-region, focussing on areas that will improved continental discourse, and in harnessing the women diaspora’s contribution to positive social and economic change
It is challenging for women to excel in male dominated industries in their own country, and in our own opinion it is even harder for women in the diaspora – our own personal life journeys are telling- we have to work twice as hard to equate to men for us to prove that we are of remarkable value or to be recognized.
As women in the diaspora we all had various reasons for leaving our home countries but we still remain connected regardless and this connection is marked by varying degrees of responsibility.
Zimbabwean women in the diaspora tell a compelling African diaspora story, making up a large percentage of active economic participants in Zimbabwe’s Economy. Many women both young and old have left their families (close and extended) for the diaspora and are key economic contributors to the families at home.
Over the decades women in diaspora have acquired top skills ,knowledge and value with the intention of escalating social and economic development or change in their home countries
Whilst the women in the diaspora’s economic participation is recognised, we still need to see a meaningful change in infrastructure development – our diaspora women need to become more representative in the key spheres that drive this change, specifically in the infrastructure sector, with the focus on the ownership, decision-making and planning of infrastructure projects and programmes.
Why ownership, decision making and planning one would ask? In our experience apart from the glaring funding and revenue generating gap and there is a fundamental women engagement gap that needs to be filled in order to successfully deliver upgrade local infrastructure and improve services.
One could phrase it as this ‘owning, planning and designing of infrastructure programmes that prioritise gender-specific issues’, this will ensure that Zimbabwean women are able to carry out their societal obligations, productive work and participate fully in our community life.
Creating opportunities that promote women’s economic participation is a prerequisite if we are to see the results in the next decade.
The DIDG women are mobilising to see a realization of this vision. As the saying goes , ‘A woman is like a teabag you won’t know how strong she is until you put her in hot water’. We are all in the forefront on making DIDG a success story. No struggle can succeed without participating side by side with women’.
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