WAG Takes Gender Budgeting To The Grassroots

WOMEN’S Action Group  (WAG), has commenced pre-budget consultation meetings inorder to raise awareness on the importance of mainstreaming gender budgeting in the budgeting process.

By Michael Gwarisa recently in Guruve

Speaking during a public expenditure feedback and budget consultation meeting held in Guruve yesterday (25/09/19), WAG Programs Officer, Fiona Tinarwo said the national budget to be presented by finance minister, Prof Mthuli Ncube in November this year should be gender responsive and also prioritise women’s needs.

For us to advance Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for women, there is need for proper budgeting which looks at all these rights. Pregnant and expecting mothers need waiting mothers’ shelters and proper maternal health friendly facilities.

“Women also need adequate contraception to avoid unwanted pregnancies. As you might have heard, the country is currently experiencing contraceptives shortages. All these challenges can be averted if enough resources are channeled towards the problems,” said Tinarwo.

Some of the women who attended the gender budgeting meeting

She added that they were working together with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) and Guruve District Council in trying to promote social accountability and citizen engagement in the budgeting process to stimulate transparency and accountability at grassroots level.

“There is need for community buy in and togetherness and communities should determine what it is they want to achieve in terms of gender budgeting. It is critical to meet as service providers and communities so as to work together is determining what it is we need for our communities.”

WAG has to date trained community champions whom they have equipped with skills and knowledge around gender budgeting. The program which commenced in 2018 supported by the Global Fund for Women also engages communities whenever there is a new policy or reforms that might need community consultations and buy in for example the marriages bill among others.

Meanwhile, Mrs Mereki Kumbirai Gwatura, Social Services official with Guruve Rural District Council (GRDC) said it was a prerequisite that every budget should be gender responsive.

Mrs Kumbirai Gwatura, GRDC

“As GRDC we budget for 24 wards here in Guruve and as council we start with budget reviews for example looking at the year 2020, we first have to sit down and look at how our budget from the previous year would have performed and also see if we managed to implement all our projects.

“This is what forms the basis of the budget for the forthcoming year. We then go to the wards doing budget consultations. Before a budget is concluded, it must first be gender responsive. Even our government does not allow us to submit a budget that is not gender responsive,” said Mrs Gwatura.

She added that there was growing misconception that gender budgeting was all about men. She said a budget looks at development of critical infrastructure for example health institutions, roads and water and sanitation facilities for communities and not a specific group.

Gender budgeting is a strategy to achieve equality between women and men by focusing on how public resources are collected and spent.

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