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Christine Musisi, ESARO's Regional Director fields a mission for a special Functional Analysis of the Zimbabwe UN Country Office

Christine Musisi, UN Women ESARO Director

The UN Women ESARO Director Christine Musisi yesterday led the UN Women Zimbabwe CO staff into the first day of the CO’s Functional Analysis process. Using feminist popular education methodologies to ground the team into space, she expertly demonstrated the relationship between the RO and the CO, the role of the RO in providing guidance in programming and operations, while highly emphasizing the need for the CO to have home grown solutions to local problems, and to also look up to the RO for oversight and expert guidance in programming and operational issues.

Popular education, or more specifically, feminist popular education, has long served as a conceptual and methodological foundation for gender activist training, learning, organizing, and action, and is slowly taking root in most organisations that are serious about bringing lasting transformative and inclusive change to development work, especially to women’s lives. This methodology of learning provides a road map and tools for going beyond tactics to prioritize approaches and strategies that change hearts and minds, and thereby transform the norms and beliefs that disempower women and perpetuate inequality and violence. UN Women has a separate and special mandate of the UN General Assembly to deliver for close to 3.5 billion women of this world for the attainment of gender equality and women’s empowerment. For Christine Musisi, given the agency’s special mandate, engaging with practical and ground breaking strategies is the only way to successfully manage the reversal of the accelerating negative dynamics that debilitate against the execution of this mandate.

The ESARO 5 member delegation arrived in Harare this week fielding expertise in policy, programming, finance and operations. Their mission is to undertake a functional analysis with a view to enabling the Zimbabwe CO to prioritize its work for maximum impact in promoting Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment; developing a progressive capacity development plan for the office and crafting a relevant organizational chart for the UN Women CO that is relevant to today’s Zimbabwe. As part of the oversight and support to the country offices in Africa, and in line with the UN Women Regional Architecture, the Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa based in Nairobi carries out missions to country offices to provide oversight of programmes, country level policy engagement, operations management and the provision of technical/policy advisory services. In Eastern and Southern Africa, UNWOMEN has country offices in Burundi, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa (Multi Country Office), Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

As part of this mission, the RO will provide training to the CO staff and partners. Training is being managed at two levels, with operations experts comprising Alka Guti, ESARO Operations Manager and Junias Thara, ESARO Finance Specialist facilitating sessions on operations and finance to both UN Women operations staff and UN Women partners drawn from across the country. Themba Kalua, ESARO Coordination Specialist, with the support of the RD Christine Musisi and the RO Policy Adviser Governance and Leadership, Florence Butegwa leads the programme staff through an expertly designed mapping of the Zimbabwean country context in relation to the UN Women strategic priorities, with the aim of strategically and effectively positioning the organization within the current context for effective and life changing programming together with fellow UN agencies, Development partners, civil society and government.

The delegation’s first port of call was the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development which is the CO’s main partner in Zimbabwe by virtue of its special national mandate on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The mission has also successfully held a meeting with members of the Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG) to share inspiration and new ideas on how the Group can be strategic and dynamic, and also to map out strategies on how to link up the local CSAD to the regional CSAG for learning and exchange of strategies. The delegation also paid courtesy calls on UN Women donors, in particular the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Swedish Development Cooperation; firstly to show appreciation for the existing partnerships and financial support to current UN Women programmes, to update them on the progress with programme implementation currently taking place, and also to share ideas on progress going forward for effective programming.

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