Young women advocacy for gender responsive social service delivery has yielded success in Guruve District of Mashonaland Central Province in Zimbabwe where the Guruve Rural District Council (GRDC) has finally taken action to address the rank public toilet issue that has been topical for the last 5 years.
People’s lives where endangered at the rank terminus where one poorly managed toilet was used since 2013. The situation was worsened this year when vendors who used to sell their products on the pavement areas were evacuated and relocated to the designated market directly facing the health hazardous toilets. With the knowledge and skills on how to push for development initiatives they acquire from the Institute for Young Women Development (IYWD), six young women have been probing GRDC to renovate the rank toilets and put bins to dispose sanitary ware. “We filed up to 6 petitions from 2015 to date but the Council was not responsive”, narrated Catherine Gora one of the 6 young women. She went on to say from 2017 they started to write letters to different stakeholders who they knew were strategic in their advocacy. “We submitted letters to the President’s office, Minister of Local Government, the Minister of State for Mashonaland Central, and we engaged Ministry of Health and Ministry of Women Affairs in our campaign for safe public toilets which are gender responsive”, she elaborated. These engagements proved successful this month as the council is now building new toilets at the rank.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Women Affairs has applauded IYWD for building capacities of young women in Guruve and producing bold young women who can push for change with zeal until authorities respond. “We will also advocate for these new toilets to be gender responsive because we do not want cases when young women end up putting used sanitary pads in their handbags”, lamented Liziwe Kondo who was also part of the young women activists.