Zimbabwe - Peace Direct



Zimbabwe: Country overview

Since its independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has experienced low intensity conflict marked by periods of escalation and political violence. Conflict today remains rooted in disputes over national power, economic hardship and pre-colonial disputes which have not been resolved.

In 2019, Zimbabwe plunged into its worst economic crisis in a decade. Life became a daily struggle, with all basic necessities in short supply, including fuel, energy for homes, food, cash and medicines. Meanwhile an increasingly repressive, militarised state continued to crack down on the work of NGOs, forcing our partner, Envision Zimbabwe Women’s Trust, to stop their activities during August and September.

Envisioning a better, more equal future

One of the most transformative outcomes of Envision’s work last year was a change in attitudes towards women’s roles in communities they work with, increasing inclusion and participation of women in local decision-making.

In 2019, 53 women received training in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, many of whom went on to participate in violence prevention initiatives in their communities. This includes the Peace Committees set up by Envision, which by the end of the year had over 50% female representation. Feedback revealed that women who participated felt more confident in standing up for their rights during village meetings, and men also stepped up as champions of gender equality as a result of training. Particularly notable were the changes in attitude of the 115 traditional leaders who participated in the training. After discussions on the benefits of female leadership, existing leaders agreed to open up their courts, which are part of the traditional, local justice systems, to women. This important shift saw women not only actively participating in court sessions, where previously they had played a passive, observer role, but also being handed positions of power as judges and jury members in courts that Envision works with.


“We always viewed our women as children and only limited to taking care of the family and their husbands, but now we have new knowledge on women empowerment and we understand that men and women were made equal and they have the same reasoning capacity. It is good for us to know this during our time so that we can encourage our communities to develop in this manner and catch up with the rest of the world in recognising the contributions of women in the society too” – a traditional leader

News from the field

Blogs, stories, reports and opinion

Supporting local leaders in Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, we work with a local organisation, Envision Zimbabwe, whose work focuses on reducing political and gender-based violence, and building community cohesion. Recently, they ran Conflict Transformation Training for Traditional Leaders in Hurungwe, bringing together 70 people. Read more »

Envision's story

In 2020, Envision provided training to 90 local police officers to dispel myths about the pandemic. Their work helped to increase local knowledge about COVID-19 and how to prevent it spreading. Countering rumours and misinformation, they helped the police to share facts and information with local communities. Read more »

Local Peacebuilding in 2020

2020 was a year of unprecedented challenge and change. For Peace Direct and our partners, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to quickly adapt, and respond to the changing environment. Like many organisations around the world, we have continued to deliver our work, in new and innovative ways. Read more »

Research and in-depth analysis

From our website Insight on Conflict