Institute for Young Women Development (IYWD): Who She Is

The Institute for Young Women Development (IYWD) is a vibrant young feminist organisation whose approach and work is informed by the voices and experiences of young women in marginalised communities. Operating in four districts in Mashonaland Central Province, the organisation is committed tomobilising and strengthening the voice and power of young women through developing their capacity on human rights and equality so that they organize themselves, demand accountability and challenge systems, structures and all forms of discrimination.

Further, the IYWD has created a niche in using young women grounded experiences with discrimination and oppression to influence, demand and push for policy and institutional changes.

Envision a society in which every young woman and girl has Her Right of Way IYWD’s interventions are aimed at achieving the following 3 strategic goals:

1. Strengthened Political Engagement

Under this thematic area, IYWD uses a 2 a pronged approach which respectively seek to:

a) Mobilise and strengthen young women’s voice and power to Inform and Influence socio-economic and political processes- This involves conducting various training; knowledge and skills sharing and learning processes using a Human Rights Based Approach and Feminist Tools.

b) Engage governance and leadership institutions and facilitate dialogue so that young women can inform and influence decision making processes and outcomes. This involves facilitating dialogue spaces among young women and governance and democracy promoting institutions which include but not limited to Traditional Leadership and Courts, Local Government, relevant line Ministries, elected officials such as Councillors, Members of Parliament and Independent Commissions.

2. Strengthened Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Livelihoods

As a means towards strengthening young women’s voices and power IYWD conducts livelihoods projects to support young women in order for them to have food sovereignty and security.

In addition IYWD also conducts business and skills, connect young women to institutions where they can seek funding for their entrepreneurial activities, connect them market and also conducts advocacy to influence the policies aimed at creating conducive business environment for young women.

3. Strengthened Self-Care and Well-Being

Grounded in feminist analysis and understanding, IYWD acknowledges the socio-cultural, economic and political structures that marginalise and perpetuate young women’s non-participation. In the same line the organisation also acknowledge how activist work increases young women’s vulnerabilities, physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Hence Self-Care and Well-Being is pivotal to IYWD’s work to share coping mechanisms and support systems that can enable young women to sustain their ability to speak out, and reclaim spaces and constitutionally provided civic roles.

Below are some of the organisation’s to date:

· Mobilising and registering a movement of 3 000 young women in Mashonaland Central Province, among some who are now actively participating by electing and being elected into School Development Committees (SDCs), Clinics Committees, and generally speak out to hold local authorities accountable on service delivery issues.

· Successfully developed a necessary support system that provides young women with a sense of safety and positive energy necessary for sustaining our movement through Self-Care and Well-Being

· Successfully lobbying for young women to play para-legal roles in traditional courts and contribute towards conflicts resolutions and peace processes for young women’s effective participation in public and political spaces

· Successfully advocating and lobbying for institutionalisation of inclusive and participatory democracy in Local Government processes of decision making such as public consultations, planning processes, budgets tracking and review processes. This has seen 4 Rural District Councils (RDCs) adopt Full Council Resolutions for young women to be deliberately invited to and participate in full council meetings.

· Have facilitated the establishment of 4 Fish Farming projects where 23 young women are currently conducting organic fish farming for sustainable livelihoods

Key to all the achievements has been our ability to create a safe space for young women’s effective participation through Self-Care and using locally accepted Zimbabwean traditional rituals to depolarise our operational environment which is generally characterised by partisan sensitivities and violence especially on issues of public participation. Such rituals are in accordance of the African Ubuntu value system of community, respect for humanity, human dignity and unity of purpose

For more information about the organisation visit their website or call +263 (271) 6289, +263772 481 273 OR +263 718 290 301

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