Local authorities should craft gender-sensitive budgets

By John Nhandara

RURAL and Urban councils have been challenged to come up with gender responsive budgets to achieve gender mainstreaming at local authority level.

Sixteen representatives of urban and rural councils converged in Harare this Monday for a gender responsive budgeting and mainstreaming capacity building initiative.

The engagement was necessitated by the gap in council budgets and the need to implement institutional policy and constitutional frameworks that address gender gaps at council level.

“As council, we have been lagging behind in gender mainstreaming activities hence coming up with this engagement with selected rural and urban councils,” noted the President of the Zimbabwe Local Government Association, Guy Mutasa.

“As councils, we had these gaps that exist in terms of our budgets especially on financing, but it is something which we are now addressing with our parent ministry to see how best we incorporate the national gender policy in our budgets,” said Dr Edward Pise, national chairman of the RDCs CEOs Forum.

It was noted that there is need for local authorities to come up with gender sensitive policies, action plans and budgets.

Colleen Morna, special advisor with Gender Links noted: “We are now setting up a framework to say councils must come up with budgets as well as policy frameworks for gender mainstreaming.”

“Service delivery especially on issues like primary health care which affects every gender are key in ensuring our mandate as councils is achieved. Therefore, going forward and in line with SDGs, we are going to look into our systems and incorporate our deliberations here,” said Kwekwe City Council Acting Town Clerk, Dr Lucia Mkandala.

Over sixty rural and urban local authorities have developed stand-alone gender policies, and adopted the Zimbabwe local government gender policy in the quest to have balanced gender programming activities and policies.

This comes after President Emmerson Mnangagwa gave the nod for the implementation of the women’s quota system in local authorities.