STRATEGIC PRIORITY 3: Economic justice and youth empowerment
In this strategic priority the program seeks to address:
- The generally high level of unemployment, unemployability of young people.
- The sense that the current economic situation is a result of mismanagement of the nation’s natural resources as well as the lack of accountability around the whole public finance governance
- The general lack of understanding of climate change and how this affects the livelihoods and economic prospects of the citizens
This program intervenes by
- Working with young people so that they gain the sense of vocation as well as the entrepreneurial skills so that they can create employment as much as seek employment
- Working with churches, civil society and other government agencies in supporting efforts towards transparency and justice around the extractives as well as campaign for just and transparent in public finance governance
- Working with churches and identified communities to develop resilient to mitigate the effects of climate change
This program intervenes by
- Raising awareness and interest among member churches and identified communities to the need to embrace active citizenship for nation-building processes
- Working with churches, civil society and the relevant agencies of the state to raise awareness of the 2013 national constitution:
- Carrying our voter education and general orientation of churches and identified communities to register and vote.
Global Protest Against #FightInequality
The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), through its member churches and as a member of the Fight Inequality Alliance, is mobilising and raising awareness on growing and pervasive inequalities during the Global Week of Action Against Inequality, beginning 18th until the 25th of January 2020. The purpose of this global campaign is to raise awareness on various forms of inequality in our society, to challenge the power relations that shape them and advocate for policies to reduce all forms of inequality.
Inequality refers to the state of not being equal, especially in status, rights and opportunities within the social, economic and spheres. It is about unequal access to opportunities and unequal outcomes that have become a global phenomenon, manifesting in different forms that include economic opportunities, incomes and wealth, healthcare, education, social, environmental, political participation and representation as well as freedom of speech. Among the fundamental drivers of these unequal outcomes and access to opportunities are political power, gender, religion, culture, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, and class.
In Zimbabwe, similar to the global patterns, inequalities are pervasive and growing. Growing welfare inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient has been declining substantially after independence but has risen again since 2011/12 from 0.42 to 0.44 in 2017. Inequality is slightly higher in urban areas as shown by the Gini of 0.398 compared to 0.361 for rural areas. More so, by 2011, the lowest 20% of the population owned only 5.8% compared to the highest 20% who owns own 49.70% of the wealth. This shows a very huge disparity between the rich and the poor. Furthermore, the Zimbabwe Human Development Index (HDI) value of 0.563 ranks the country 150 out of 189 countries and territories, putting the country in the medium human development category. If adjusted for inequalities, Zimbabwe HDI falls to 0.435, a loss of 22.8% due to inequalities in life expectancies, incomes and education. Moreover, women are lagging in development as shown by a Gender Development Index (GDI) of 0.540 for females compared to 0.584 for males.
Poverty is rampant in Zimbabwe and is a rural phenomenon as 86% of people in rural areas are poor compared to 37% in urban areas. In addition, 40.9% of people in rural areas are extremely poor compared to 4.4% in urban areas. Among the key drivers of inequalities in Zimbabwe is rampant corruption, political dominance, reliance on neo-liberal economic framework, greedy, unresolved past hurts and religion among many others. In relation to economy, there is also a gap between the young and the old age group as shown by the PICES 2017 which indicate that the economically inactive persons are mostly made up of those in the 15-19 years age group constituting 45.6%. Gaps between males and females are shown by differential literacy rate of 94.0% for males compared to 89.0% for females, 55.9% of adult women have reached secondary level education compared to 66% of adult male. Furthermore, female participation in the labor market is 78.6 percent compared to 89.0 for men.
The differential access to social and economic resources in Zimbabwe are clearly manifesting in poor access of the majority of citizens in general to food, health, education, land, social protection, transportation as well as credit and financial services for the poor, the marginalized and vulnerable groups. As the majority of citizens struggle to access a basic meal for a day, water and health services, the rich and political elites have amassed wealth through corrupt and unfair policies enabling them to access the highest quality of life, including access to expensive private health services abroad. Thus, inequality is a question of power dynamics and policy.
During the week of this global action, we recognize and call for actions and progressive measures for redressing the historical exclusion of communities such as the Doma people in Kanyemba, the Mola people north of Zimbabwe, Tonga in Binga, and the San in Plumtree among others. Those in the Diaspora, despite sending significant remittances that have become the sole source of livelihood for many families and national sustenance, are not able to participate in the country’s national processes such as elections.
Inequalities are a direct attack on human dignity. They are drivers of mistrust in government institutions and among people; hence they hurt our society as they sow mistrust that disorient cohesion. As a result of persistent historical and emerging forms of inequalities, the Zimbabwean society is becoming lethal as characterized by greedy, corruption, deepening mistrust, increasing vulnerability and totally collapsed public services sector (education, housing, sanitation, health, social protection, etc). As opportunities for women and youths continue to dwindle, there are increasing social ills including sexual immorality, drug abuse, violence and crime rate among others. Due to political dominance, the few political elites and the rich are now defining the direction of the whole society in their own interests. Policies and power dynamics matter in addressing inequalities. However, individual behaviors, norms, values and practices are equally important.
Thus, as the Church, during this Global week of Protest Against Inequality, faith leaders and the laity are calling for progressive policy actions for economic empowerment, transparency and accountability, stewardship of national wealth and increased public financing of social services. During the week, the nation is called to deeply think about the imperative of an inclusive and comprehensive national dialogue that will usher a social contract for unity, peace, justice and prosperity of all Zimbabweans. Churches are called for direct and indirect interventions to address all forms of inequalities. Our call is for action to end all forms of inequalities.
Social media campaign anchored on short and insightful videos of faith leaders, policy makers, citizens; short messages and info graphics,
A National Dialogue on Inequality that will deliberately include faith leaders, policy makers and participants from vulnerable communities such as Tonga and Tshwawo,
Mobilize our Local Ecumenical Fellowships to convene meetings to discuss issues of inequality in the society,
Prepare sermon guidelines that infuse issues of inequality. To encourage our faith leaders to deliver sermons focusing on inequality on the 26th of January 2020.
Mobilize participation in activities of the Fight Inequality Alliance Zimbabwe,
Production of a Statement that will be popularized in local languages