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Connect Women: Break the Isolation

2010 VOF Week 1

Connect Women: Break the Isolation

Zimbabweans have lived through extraordinary times. Our crisis has been analysed from every conceivable angle. People know that at the height of the crisis Zimbabwe had the record for the world’s highest inflation, 5 billion percent. There was no food in the shops. Long queues were the norm. You saw a queue and joined it, only asking later what the queue was for. A queue meant there was sugar, or fuel or corn-meal or perhaps salt.

Stories that captured the lived reality of women’s lives were few; their struggles over the last 10 years, their triumphs, their hopes and their dreams. These stories of needed to be told by women. Web 2.0 means that we can start telling the stories and shaping the news about my world, as experience it not as decided by editorial policy or limited by repressive legislation. This is what l find exciting about Web 2.0

The story for the media was that unemployment was at 80%. What it meant for women was that there was no money for maternity fees and therefore you had to give birth at home. The equivalent of 5, 75 seater bus loads of women were dying each year as a result of preventable complications. This information should have elicited outrage. It did not. I am hopeful that Web 2.0 will provide a platform for me to share, the reality of our different lives as women in Zimbabwe.

In March 2008, people voted, tired of the sewage, the bone dry water taps and the humiliation of fighting over bread. The vote was crucial. The result was violence. The beatings were called “re-education”. People had the temerity to demand change. How wrong! How unthinkable! International media covered the violence. UNTOLD were women’s experiences of violence. How rape was used to punish women in politics. They were punished for being daughters, wives and sisters of opposition “enemies” of the government. Later the stories came out, when it was too late for many to receive the emergency treatment to prevent HIV infection. Months later the pregnancies started showing. Homes and hearts are still breaking. The displacement continues as wives are chased away for having been raped. UNTOLD is the isolation and fear.

Women responded. Their advocacy organizations evolved into humanitarian agencies. We tried to reach out to sometimes nameless and faceless women in the outside world who could stand in solidarity. We desperately brainstormed on women in the UN, international media and international NGOs we could tell of our need. We needed material support, solidarity and an end to the deaths of women and children.

We are bracing ourselves for more elections in 2011. How do we multiply our capacities beyond Zimbabwe? How do we mobilize support to ensure that organizations of women are empowered to serve and save women? This is where my new community of women on World Pulse comes in to mobilize support and solidarity for women in Zimbabwe. Connecting women’s capacities.


Noriah Ismail's picture

Strong and Inspiring Post

Hi Catherine,

I am totally in awe of your inner strength and determination! I cannot imagine living in such a condition-where so much injustice occurs towards women and children as in your country. Indeed there are many parts of the world where women are subjected to such plights and it is up to them to strike back and to try to change their destiny as best as they can. People like you are an inspiration to others who suffer the same fate. Voicing out your intention and reaching out for women solidarity throughout the world through Web 2.0 can help open the eyes of others to act out and provide their support!

Dr.Noriah Ismail
Senior Lecturer
Academy of Language Studies
UiTM Segamat Johor

efe's picture

the 'curse ' of womanhood

why are women always the victims in conflict? thanks for reminding us

Carri Pence's picture

I love how you represent

I love how you represent Zimbabwe. Your voice brings solutions to Africa placing importance on the power of people and the power of unity. I am excited to hear the future for Zimbabwe where a positive outcome is on the horizon. I hope you become a part of the Zimbabwe Cafe, where your presence is much needed. Here you can connect and share with other people you vision for a better future and how it has to be done.

-Carri Pence

Tina's picture

Connecting Women;s capacities

Dear Catherine,
This is a powerful post that demonstrates strong leadership and the capacity to draw in great numbers to your cause. You show clear vision and direction for the women of Zimbabwe and I am in awe of your courage and tenacity. Keep up the great work.

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