Zimbabwe

Developing a critical political consciousness is at the core of JASS’ feminist movement building strategies. Popular education, or more specifically, feminist popular education, has long served as a conceptual and methodological foundation for JASS’ activist training, learning, organizing, and action.
Self-care and wellbeing have made a welcome comeback in feminist politics. They have been around for decades, but drifted out of focus and out of favor around the early 1990s as the dominant trends in women’s rights work took other turns. In some respects, the focus on policy and legal rights advocacy, important as that has been and continues to be for fighting inequality and advancing women’s rights, also came along with an unhelpful disconnect and hierarchy between needs and rights.
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“Are you homosexual?” was the question Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity asked minutes before he disbanded a young LGBT activist leadership workshop in Kampala. JASS’ Hope Chigudu, who was there supporting a workshop of young activists, says, “Fear and rage. I’ve never felt such fear and rage as I did when Lokodo invaded our space at that workshop.
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“How has the political crisis of the early 2000s --- along with increasing violence and economic insecurity -- demobilised and divided women’s organising efforts in Zimbabwe—or has it? What kinds of innovative, brave organising have emerged in Zimbabwe in a context of violence and political repression?” As Zimbabwe approaches elections, fanning fears of renewed violence, these are just some of the questions 16 women activists grappled with at The Changing Face of Women’s Activism and Feminist Action in Zimbabwe held in Harare (March 28th – 29th 2012).
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A JASS founder and former board member, Hope has gone on to play a huge role – on the ground and on the page – in shaping the power of JASS’ program in Malawi. Always alive to the potential for creativity to shake things up, Hope asks unexpected questions, shattering the mold of mainstream-NGO workshops and inviting HIV-positive activists into holistic processes that have healed, empowered, and galvanized them.
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Dudziro’s experience ranges from King College, London, to a market stall in Harare, and from editing fiction to researching political violence. The feminist spark that unites all this disparate energy was first lit at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town where Dudziro went for post-graduate studies. A six-month Kings College research fellowship on peace and security then fanned the flame and today Dudziro is passionately committed to ending discrimination and violence against women.
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(November 25 – December 10, 2011) All over the world, young women are taking to the streets to protest gender-based violence. According to the United Nations, up to 70% of all women experience gender-specific violence in their lifetime. In countries like Zimbabwe and Honduras where governments routinely crack down on democratic expression, women are taking a stand, often risking their lives to demand a halt to militarization, corruption, impunity and economic injustice that fuel violence against women.
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Women activists from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe are reclaiming and using ICTs to amplify women’s voices for rights. From July 18th to 20th, JASS Southern Africa and Women’sNet hosted a Southern Africa Regional Feminist Tech Exchange (FTX) in Johannesburg with nine activists to build ICT skills and strategies to support their organizing.
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In April 2011, JASS Southern Africa and Musasa Project launched the Heart-Mind-Body initiative in Zimbabwe, gathering 26 women activists, each with diverse experiences and perspectives, united by a common anxiety: how to sustain themselves and their work in challenging and often violent environments. Putting self-care at the center of sustained women’s organizing, the circle was a space for reflection, relaxation, and dialogue. Over two days, women shared experiences of insecurity, trauma and violence and exchanged survival strategies.
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Looking back at JASS' Movement Building Initiative in Mesoamerica, Southeast Asia, and Southern Africa
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