Women Build their Collective Power by Pen and Paper in Buhera

By Vimbai Njovana

The period from the FTX till now has been something of a whirlwind tour for me and an exhausting one too. As I reflect on the skills gained and the time spent at the FTX and how it has impacted my work, I can really see how I have been building women’scollective power in my organizing. A few months back, I, along with my colleagues, visited a growth point in Zimbabwe called Buhera to set up Anti-Domestic Violence Clubs. On our most recent trip this November, we visited Buhera again to conduct refresher courses on local level advocacy and build women’s skills in basic counseling.
 
The idea behind these clubs is that even though Musasa Project has offices in Harare, Bulawayoand Gweru, the three major towns in Zimbabwe as well as an office in Chiredziwhich is a town in the Lowveld, it is important for us to establish ‘little Musasas’ in as many areas as we can. Musasa has worked in Buhera for a numberof years now and the growth point is among the first to have Anti-Domestic Violence Clubs.
 
Writing, a tool for women to build colllective power
During this most recent visit to Buhera, I realized the impact we have begun to have on the lives of the women in those clubs. In the reports they submit to Musasa, they tell of interventions they have made in their rural districts to create communities that are free from domestic violence. For women who could probably write before but really had nothing to write, I saw what those short reports could mean for them. Being able to sit down and write about something may not seem like much of an achievement to many of us, but for these women it means a lot. As I came to this realization, it dawned on me that although we have not reached the level of working with ICTs like computers or mobile phones, ordinary pens and paper can be tools for women in Buhera to build their own collective power.
 
Vimbai Njovana participatedin JASS’ Feminist Tech Exchange in Johannesburg earlier this year. She is Programme Manager at Musasa Project, an organizationthat addresses violence against women in its many forms in Zimbabwe.