Stories about IYWD's involvement with young women in the community

Bounty harvest of courage, hope, pride and confidence

More than fifty young women sat facing each other. The young women set out to honestly reflect on the work and journey they had travelled since 2009 when Institute for Young Women Development (IYWD) was formed. This was a commitment to remind themselves of their roles and purposes in life, challenges they continue to face, the progress they championed and call to document their experiences and push the dialogue further.  

The  young women shared the stories of hope, of defying social-cultural norms, amplifying the voices of resistance and marching on with conviction, resilience and strength. 
They testified that the seeds of courage, confidence and hope planted by IYWD carried the young women throughout their daily struggles and embracing the positive change.

 I could not speak in front of the public; today I have confidence to that.  After going through transformative leadership training sessions, I was equipped with different skills on leadership.

 I have come to know about etiquette and grooming. I also value that as part of self-care and wellbeing, I need to love myself and support my sisters.  We build our strength on the sisterhood concept; I am my sister’s keeper.

Eights years and still going the different   testimonies of the progress made by IYWD were heard.  Today IYWD women have received multiple international awards, they are representatives in council, and churches, School Development Committees and they continue to pursue their academic and professional careers. This is a cause of celebration and a bounty harvest of courage, hope, pride and confidence.

The structural and systematic barriers are still in place and continue to remind us of the marginalised place of young women from rural and mining communities is forced in. The levels of women’s participation in politics and decision-making processes remain a major concern.  In spite of the fact that women constitute on average, 52% of the nation’s population, they remain under-represented in most parliamentary and decision making positions.  Women’s representation in parliament was at 35% as of 2013 elections (UNDP Report, 2013). The imbalance are more rife in rural areas  as statistics show that women comprised 19% of urban councilors and 18% of rural councilors.  Mashonaland Central remains the leading province with high rate of child marriages in Zimbabwe.   

Young women have come to the realisation that just by their numbers, they have the capacity to influence decisions in local and national processes. They have therefore set out to push the boundaries and defy the odds. They persistently talked about how they can nurture an enabling environment towards the status and perception of women in society.

Their key strength is engagement and dialogue about different topics and even the uncomfortable issues in society.   They prepare the ground, plant and their harvest; going through everyday is a testimony of their courage, resilience and commitment.