Access to decent housing for young women is critical in gender responsive public services

In a conversation stirred by a young artist by the name of Tariro Gurure during the commemoration of the International Women’s Day 2021, different stakeholders in nation building agreed that access to decent housing is a critical need for young women in Bulawayo towards progress for gender equality goals. The commemoration held under the Youth for Innovation Trust banner marked the launch of the Loziba Festival 2021 edition running under the theme #LozibaInLocalGovernance. The event was a hybrid of a Fashion Exhibition focusing on shoes and a conversation about walking the talk for gender responsive public services.

Well renowned accessories designer and founder of Sinini Collections, Lorraine Sinini Ndlovu exhibited a collection of recycled shoes covered in African print. Her collection symbolised the need for young women to actively participate in the pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal 13 on Climate Action. The exhibition of shoes preceded a conversation bringing multiple stakeholders to talk about efforts towards enhanced participation of young women in local governance. These included the Honorable Member of Parliament Jasmine Toffa, Ward 17 Councillor Skhululekile Moyo, and a youth leader in the civil society Sindiso Dlaamini.

The conversations touched on quite a number of dynamics including enhancing participation in leadership, creating a culture of constitutionalism as well as advancing mentorship of young women. Most importantly their practical needs were addresses as Cllr Moyo agreed that property ownership will give young women a louder voice. The use of art in voicing out was also echoed by all stakeholders considering the shrinking civic space. It was also agreed that working together for progress will actually bring forth the required change in communities.

Cleo Dube (National Arts Council), Rumbidzai Makoni (Action Aid Zimbabwe) and Elsie Masava (Plan MESSA) also came through to offer their solidarity and urge young women in art to carry on with seeking gender equality and social justice.  The Loziba Festival Continues throughout the month of March and will continue to engage artists and different stakeholders in meaningful conversation through arts.

Article by Thando Gwinji

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