Once an economic powerhouse, Zimbabwe has suffered from years of misrule, corruption and endemic violence. Our local partner, the Envision Zimbabwe Women’s Trust, has been working in Murewa and Hurungwe districts since 2008 to address the deeply embedded culture of violence by training local traditional leaders and engaging the police force in conflict transformation.
In 2014, we continued to support this vital work, even though the political context remained extremely volatile and internal security risks limited staff movement and some activities.
An internal evaluation of this work in 2014 showed that 80% of people reported a significant reduction of violence at a community level, in places where local Peace Committees had been established by Envision as part of the training for traditional chiefs. 70% of police officers interviewed confirmed that they are trying to handle conflict differently, by reducing the use of violence in their day-to-day policing.
‘I would like to thank Envision,’ said one police officer. ‘The trainings have empowered us to respond to conflicts in a non-violent way.’ And a local chief said of Envision’s support: ‘My people would use violence to solve conflicts over land, water, fields, witchcraft and scorcery. However, after the trainings, my local court is receiving very few cases per month. This marked reduction of cases of violence, I believe, is because my people have now been empowered to resist violence and to solve conflicts in a more peaceful way.’