Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN) Calls for the Prioritisation of Women empowerment financing in the 2016 National Budget

The month of November is traditionally known by Zimbabweans as the month in which the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Chinamasa, makes the budget statement for the following year. A series of budget consultations by various stakeholders were held in the month of October in order to highlight the issues that the people of Zimbabwe needed to see financed in the 2016 National Budget. The Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN) takes this opportunity to call for a gender sensitive national budget that prioritises women’s empowerment.
Following a Women Budget Indaba convened by the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) on 21st October 2015, and supported by ZWRCN, at which over one thousand (1000) women working in all social and economic sectors participated and identified their 2016 budget priorities, we join them and other women empowerment advocates in reiterating the following issues prioritised at the Indaba for financing in the 2016 National Budget:

Agriculture
1) 10% of the national budget to be allocated to agriculture, and a quota to support women farmers
2) Agricultural subsidies for women to produce viable crops on a minimum of 2 hectares
3) Tillage support - mechanisation through rehabilitation of existing irrigation equipment, or new equipment and training for women to use the equipment.

Mining
1) Financing of women in mining to be more productive in this sector
3) Government must strictly regularise payment for services and licensing

Tourism
1) Access to finance for women to participate in this sector
2) Incentives policy – duty free imports for tourist purposes
3) Delay in the implementation of the 15% VAT to be charged in the sector to give time for the industry to recover

Trade and Business
1) By laws should be revisited to be more responsive to the needs of informal traders
2) Access to financing, which does not require stringent collateral requirements
3) The establishment of affordable market stalls and in environments conducive for business

Women with disabilities
1) Invest in infrastructure in schools for girls and boys with disabilities
2) Infrastructure in other areas such as transport must be improved
3) 10% of any funding directed at women must go to promoting programmes for women with disabilities

Social protection
1) Decent housing for women is critical
2) Build schools in resettlement areas
3) BEAM must go to children who most need it, and it must be adequately financed

Gender Based Violence
1) All police must be sensitised to be victim friendly in matters related to gender based violence (GBV)
2) Counselling is a key area of investment for survivors of violence
3) Backlog of cases and corruption in courts must be addressed – justice is being denied

Young Women Empowerment
1) Invest in providing young women with comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information
2) Cadetship programme must be made available to cater for girls’ education
3) More night schools to accommodate girls who cannot be integrated into the regular education system (for example, victims of early marriages)

Health
1) Allocate 15% of the national budget to health in line with the Abuja Declaration; of this funding must go towards reducing the high maternal mortality rates
2) Investments to increase access to quality public services - cancer screening; female controlled family planning; water and sanitation; mental health facilities
3) Investments to increase availability of qualified health personnel – unfreezing posts; address high incidence of home deliveries; increased incentives for health based workers including those at community level

Education
1) Improve infrastructure to reduce the walking distance to schools
2) Stop chasing children away from schools due to non-payment of fees – alternative approaches are needed
3) Grade 7 school fees should be abolished

Sports
1) Importation of sports equipment duty free, including sports kits
2) Establish a Sports Development Fund
3) Establish community recreation centres that foster sports

Arts and Culture
1) Investing in anti-piracy initiatives to protect intellectual property for the artists
2) Funding to support upcoming artists
3) Establishment of an Artist Development Fund

For more information contact: Martha Mlambo on 252388/89/90 or
zwrcn@zwrcn.org.zw, alternatively Pamela Mhlanga on pamela@zwrcn.org.zw