In Zimbabwe specifically, a centerpiece of our work is the Heart-Mind-Body (HMB) initiative – a three-fold approach that rebuilds, rejuvenates, and retools women’s activism with self-care, shared political analysis, and new ways of working together for influence. Specifically:
- HMB recognizes women’s bodies are the first site of resistance and violence and therefore critical that we centralize their women’s wellbeing in order to sustain their organizing capacity and efforts.
- HMB repairs and consolidates formal and informal networks, allowing diverse women and movements to build effective collective strategies for safety and support.
- HMB provides a space for critical analysis of the shifting context to ensure that our strategies for protection minimize and mitigate risk, allowing women to continue their organizing work.
HMB puts women’s wellbeing at the centre of women’s organising and movement building.
I believe strong healthy institutions are built on every individual within an institution having a deep sense of value, being respected and an individual sense of responsibility. —Rudo Chigudu
Prioritising the wellbeing of individual women is essential for nurturing stronger organisations and catalysing movements for real, sustained change. JASS convenes wellbeing circles of diverse women activists as safe spaces to think through issues of self-care for women who have been battered by the violence and burn out, security and safety planning, as well as solidarity as women work together to build strategies and mobilise collectively.
We can only change men’s mindsets by firstly changing the way we relate with each other as sisters, activists and feminists and also by changing our modes of activism for better partnerships, for creating safe spaces where we can meet and brainstorm and strategize on how to influence court process, laws and policies that work, then we can begin to talk about changing mindsets. We can invite young women and girls to this space and give them an avenue to speak and voice out what they do not normally talk about, and we will be shocked to discover that a lot of girls have been bottling up cases of abuse for not knowing what to do and who to tell. This space can also be strategic for simply checking in on each other as women, sharing problems, discussing them and giving each other hope, whilst renewing our bodies for the next day. —Dudziro Nhengu, Women Mediators across the Commonwealth (WMC)