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Between the 18th and the 21st of September 2017, with support from Diakonia and Dan Church Aid, the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN) in partnership with the Women's Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) organised an exchange visit between the Harare and Bulawayo Gender Champions (ZWRCN), and the Mzingwane Gender Champions (WILD). It is important to note that the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA) and Habakkuk Trust also supported during the proceedings. The goal of the exchange visit was to promote sharing of knowledge, information, best practices as well as creative ways of advocating for good social service delivery. The participants learnt a lot from each other and really appreciated the efforts that the aforementioned organisations made in bringing them together. It was such a great learning experience for many including the host organisations. The participants were able to share ideas as well as learn from their colleagues on how best to advocate for good social service delivery in their respective communities.

The exchange visit was held concurrently with the Bulawayo pre-budget consultation meeting which was specifically held on the 19th of September 2017. Most of the Gender Champions who participated in the exchange visit had the opportunity to attend the pre-budget consultation meeting. During the Bulawayo pre-budget consultation, the Gender Champions had the opportunity to interface with the Bulawayo City Council technocrats and Councillors. It was during this pre-budget consultation meeting that the technocrats presented the Bulawayo City Council proposed budget for 2018. The participants had the opportunity to analyse the proposed budget to check if it was gender responsive and were able to identify gender gaps and also proposed possible solutions to close those gaps. Great lessons were drawn from this process where the host organisations, the Bulawayo City Council and the participants learnt that using the engagement approach as opposed to the confrontational approach has the capacity to yield positive results.

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