The organisation we support in Zimbabwe, Envision works with Zimbabwe’s chiefs and village heads – those with great influence over their people, both to incite violence and to prevent it. Envision has been training 22 village heads to understand conflict and to set up peace groups in their areas. Peace Direct funded three workshops with the village heads.
The groups set up by the village heads act as impartial peace committees. Men and women, elders and young people, are all beginning to turn to them as a way to air their grievances. It is early days but already the groups are reporting that violent young people are beginning to calm down, and that women are talking openly about domestic violence. In one village the peace group brought a peaceful end to a conflict between family members who had threatened to stab each other.
The project has come to the attention of other chiefs and other villages, and interest is growing in the scheme. As Zimbabwe prepares itself for elections, Envision’s work is more critical than ever.