Women's Self-Promotion Movement

Women's Self-Promotion Movement

Harare

WSPM's leadership and economic empowerment programs, micro-lending, and employment skills trainings serve poor and disenfranchised women in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including widows, single heads of households, and refugee women and girls.

Partner Focus Areas

Income-generating activities and economic self-sufficiency
Information technology for women entrepreneurs
Youth and women's leadership for citizenship
Raising public awareness about women’s rights issues

Partnership Highlights

Partner since 2002
Training of women and girls in Tongogara Refugee Camp
Leadership and political participation training for women
Adaptation of WLP materials in Swahili and Shona
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Youth Participants WLP Leadership Training 2017
Zimbabwean youth participate in a WLP Youth Leadership training workshop in March 2017.

About WSPM

WSPM was founded in 2001 by a network of women from several countries in southern Africa. Headquartered in Harare, WSPM implements women’s economic empowerment, leadership, and capacity-building programs. WSPM’s clients are poor and marginalized women from all over Zimbabwe, as well as refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and refugees in Tanzania and Zambia. Through basic business training and small grants, WSPM helps women entrepreneurs establish and grow small businesses. Its IT center offers computer training to low-income women who would otherwise have little or no access to computers and the worldwide web. WSPM participates in women’s rights campaigns; in particular it has supported research and worked to educate the public about traditional practices that harm women, such as child marriage and domestic violence. WSPM participates in national and regional mobilization around implementing the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Gender and Development Protocol, and the Zimbabwe Domestic Violence Act.

Since WSPM joined the WLP partnership in 2002, it has integrated WLP’s curricula and leadership methodology into its programs, translated and adapted curricula, and hosted Training of Trainers Institutes. WSPM works primarily in English and French.

Zimbabwe WSPM March to End Child Marriage 2016
Advocates assemble during a march to end child marriage organized by WSPM in Harare.

Recent Accomplishments

  • As of 2017, WSPM has assisted over 200 women entrepreneurs launch income-generating activities including poultry and cattle penning, mushroom farming, sewing, brick molding, health station attending, beekeeping, and hairdressing. WSPM’s clients are from Manicaland province including the Tongogara Refugee Camp, Matebeleland province, and other African countries. With an over 80 percent success rate, WSPM is poised to expand this program.
  • In January 2016, WSPM celebrated the Constitutional Court’s declaration that child marriage is unconstitutional. WSPM’s frequent public awareness-raising on this issue with the support of the Ministry of Women Affairs and other women's rights civil society organizations helped to pressure the government to enact a new law that set 18 as the minimum age for marriage. Because child marriage directly limits girls’ access to education and employment, this advancement has been critical to WSPM’s work to reduce poverty for women and boost women's literacy rates.
  • Over 5000 women, and some men, have participated in WSPM leadership and entrepreneur trainings and services since its founding. Participants in WSPM’s trainings come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia, as well as from Zimbabwe.
  • WSPM has trained approximately 500 women and girls in computer literacy since 2004. At present, the WSPM operates one ICT training center located in Harare, and is looking for additional funding to update and expand its computer training offerings.
WSPM leadership training in DRC 2013
Participants collaborate during a WLP leadership training held by WSPM in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Organizational Programs and Activities

Women's Leadership

  • In collaboration with WLP International, WSPM conducts leadership capacity building trainings to enhance women's skills in political participation, gender equality, and women's human rights in Zimbabwe and other countries in the region. In addition, WSPM offers workshops to women and girls living in the Tongogara Refugee Camp, which is home to approximately 9,000 refugees, most of whom are from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda. WSPM facilitated the translation and adaption into Swahili and Shona of WLP’s Leading to Choices manual, and is using WLP’s curriculum in its Yes I Can! leadership institutes for teens. WSPM has facilitated Training of Trainer Institutes whose participants have gone on to train other women in their communities.
Young Leaders on International Day of Girl Child
Young leaders from WLP’s partner in Zimbabwe, WSPM, march for women’s and girls’ rights on the International Day of the Girl Child.

Women's Economic Empowerment

  • WSPM’s program increases income and food security, especially for women heads of households and widows. WSPM provides manufacturing, business bookkeeping, and marketing training to low-income women. It secures small grants and loans through a revolving loan facility to help its clients invest in micro-business ventures, such as poultry and goat husbandry. With the funds, WSPM has helped its clients with start-up kits, animals, feed, vaccines, and cold storage facilities to launch their businesses.

Information Technology Training

  • WSPM provides computer training classes to women to help bridge the digital divide, giving women in Zimbabwe access to information and social, economic, and political communities across the globe. WSPM’s IT training center is located in Harare, where dozens of women, and some men, have gained computer skills that have allowed them to secure employment.
If you really want to see qualitative change in the area of women’s rights, there is a need to involve men in the process, especially at the grassroots level. Men should understand that women’s leadership does not mean men’s loss of leadership; women’s power does not mean men’s loss of power. We have to work hand in hand to complement each other.

,Executive Director, WLP Zimbabwe/Women’s Self-Promotion Movement (WSPM)

About Zimbabwe

  • Population: 16.8 million
  • Landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered by Zambia in the north, Mozambique in the east, Botswana in the west, and South Africa in the south.
  • Zimbabwe’s progress in reproductive, maternal, and child health has stagnated in recent years; contraceptive use, the number of births attended by skilled practitioners, and child mortality have either stalled or deteriorated since the mid-2000s.
  • The country’s HIV prevalence rate dropped from 29% to 15% since 1997 but remains among the world’s highest and continues to suppress Zimbabwe’s life expectancy rate.
  • Mixed legal system of English common law, Roman-Dutch civil law, and customary law.
  • Religions: Protestant 82.7%, Roman Catholic 6.7%, other Christian 4.6%, traditional religion 0.6%, Muslim 0.4%, none 4.9%
  • Citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Zimbabwe; in the case of a child born out of wedlock, the mother must be a citizen.
  • Seats held by women in national parliament: 33%
  • Labor force: 49.2% female
  • Female literacy: 84.6%
WSPM Leadership training for teens 2017
A group of teenage girls work together during a WSPM Yes I Can! youth leadership training in Harare.
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