The Centre for Research and Development’s (CRD) Civic Education Programme (CEP) covers the Province of Manicaland in Zimbabwe.CRD embarked on this programme in 2005 and carried out several workshops in the following districts of Mutasa South, Mutasa Central, Mutare central, Mutare South and Makoni west. In 2009 CRD expanded this outreach programme to include Nyanga and Chimanimani districts.The program mainly targets rural communities with the objective of helping to reduce political violence and build sustainable peace in these communities. The programme’s target groups are Traditional Leadership Institutions, Community leaders, Church leaders, Councillors, Political parties, Government representatives, women, youth and other Non Governmental Organizations or developmental partners working in these communities.
The political and social environment in Manicaland Province is segmented. The environment is characterized by conflicts which manifest itself from national to community level instituting a culture of violence, intimidation, intolerance and fear. Competition for political control among political parties has polarized communities and incidences of abuse of power at community level by community leaders have become the order of the day.CRD observed for the past years that the jostling for power by political parties at grassroots level has resulted in the abuse and harassment of women by political agencies and hooligans. Political parties continue to use youth to perpetrate violence against members of the communities without fear of reprisal. Thus political competition has not only instigated direct forms of violence on the communities but has also brewed both cultural and structural forms of violence as well.
Violence has impacted negatively on the communities in Manicaland. People have lost their sources of livelihood in the form of cattle, land dispossession and resource deprivation on political grounds; some have lost their homes and have been forced out of their communities and driven to neighbouring countries like Mozambique in the case of victims of political violence in Cashel Valley in Chimanimani District in 2008. Others have become prisoners in their own communities as they are forced to pay protection fees for their continued stay in those communities by dominant political groups. Political clashes between political parties in the communities continue unabated and have caused loss of lives and in some cases leaving victims with permanent injuries.The failure by the inclusive government to undertake the national healing process in order to heal victims and perpetrators of violence that occurred in the 2008 presidential runoff has made the situation much more deplorable creating deep seated hatred and respite among members of the communities. Political polarization has also impeded developmental projects and as result the province is lagging behind in terms of development. Against this background the CRD decided to embark on a civic education program in order to educate people on peace, conflict resolution, political tolerance and human rights. The programme also aims to boost the communities’ knowledge and understanding on peace building mechanisms vital to reduce all forms violence and promote sustainable peace and development. read more
Research and Advocacy Programme to Promote Management of Natural Resources for Sustainable Development
Sustainable development is the harmonisation of economic, social and environmental factors in resource management. It contains the critical elements needed to fight poverty and reduce conflicts in the developing countries. Zimbabwe is endowed with natural wealth such as platinum, gold, diamonds and wildlife but management of these resources has systematically alienated communities creating resource deprivation, scarcity, poverty and conflict. More than 50% of the Zimbabwean population lives in the rural areas where they survive on utilizing natural resources in their communities. Ironically it is also in these communities where parallel commercial exploitation of these resources by both local and foreign companies is taking place at a grand scale with devastating effects on the people, livestock and their environment.
The Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe in Manicaland Province is home to commercial timber plantations and the Province is rich in diamonds and gold. Despite their existence, management of these resources has failed to translate into sustainable development in the communities. The continued use of inappropriate policies in the exploitation of natural resources in the mining sector continues to wreak havoc in communities. For example communities in Marange, Penhalonga, Chisumbanje and Chimanimani continue to lose sources of livelihood as a result of mining activities by foreign companies. Mineral exploitation in these areas has accentuated poverty in communities, caused massive environmental damage, amidst corruption and politicisation of resource allocation.read more