BULAWAYO CITY CENTRE – The Zimbabwe Development Democracy Trust (ZDDT)’s on-going group discussion, known as “conversations”, have been hailed by participants as a step in the right direction towards bringing together communities.
The informal conversations, which started early March, are designed to encourage discussion where participants freely air their views on what they think and what should be done to enhance community mobilisation for development and democratic transition.
Facilitated by independent consultant, Leonard Mupezani, participants are drawn from different wards across Bulawayo every week and freely exchange notes in a relaxed atmosphere, which allows them to easily speak out.
The special conversations are a follow on to training on citizen mobilisation and conflict management conducted by ZDDT last year.
This time around, participants have control over the conversations as they engage with one another.
At one of the two-hour meetings, participants discussed team building, the need to build trust among community members as well as the significance of communities working together in a well-organised way.
The need to involve youth in community programmes also came up in the discussions.
There were also concerns to the effect that residents value attending funerals more than public meetings.
Participants also freely discussed how politics was affecting community mobilisation as well as mitigation measures.
One of the participants, Ndabenhle Khumalo from Ward 3 in Woodville, said he learnt a lot on leadership.
“This has been a very important meeting as far as I am concerned because it dealt with almost all the facets of human development,” said Esther Sigoba, Romney Park Residents Association chairperson.
“We learnt so many things from one another which may help us to unite as a community. The meeting was very informative and fruitful.”
“When you are doing something for the community, you do not need to do it alone but you have to engage the community,” said Khumalo.
“We must always strive for unity and, where there are conflicts, we should properly manage them. This meeting has been indeed an eye opener.”