Programmes related to gender and social development should never be looked at as being consumptive in nature during the budgeting process, Members of Parliament from Zimbabwe have cautioned.
“The picture is not that different back home. The budgets for gender programmes are meager because the issues are considered consumptive, which is very wrong because these issues have crosscutting implications,” Hon. Chido Madiwa, the Chairperson of the Zimbabwean Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Community and Small to Medium Enterprises Development, said.
She was speaking after holding a meeting with officials at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development in Kampala on Tuesday.
Hon. Chido is leading a team of her committee members on a benchmarking visit in Uganda on best practices with regard to how Parliament and other State actors are collaborating to prevent and respond to Gender Based Violence.
At the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the visiting MPs met with a team led by the Assistant Commissioner, Gender and Women Affairs, Mrs. Maggie Kyomukama.
They shared experiences on how the two countries compare in terms of the efforts to end Gender Based Violence.
“One thing I have discovered in terms of paying attention to gender issues like curbing gender based violence, they get the least budgets because they are considered consumptive,” Hon. Chido noted adding: “You may look at investing in agriculture and infrastructure projects as more important but the women in those areas are adversely affected when issues like GBV arise.”
She observed that there is need to change perceptions on funding the sector if African countries are to realize accelerated and inclusive development.
She commended Uganda on running a specialized interest-free credit programme for women for entrepreneurship.
“We have a similar programme back home in Zimbabwe but we have a challenge of repayment unlike in Uganda where the repayment rate is over 70 per cent. This is quite impressive and an indication of the how women in Uganda are committed to entrepreneurship.” Hon. Chibo noted.
The Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP) has been running since the 2015/2016 Financial Year and has to date directly benefited over 200,000 women.
The visit by the Zimbabwean MPs is coordinated by the Parliament of Uganda and the Parliament of Zimbabwe with the aim of strengthening ties between both Parliaments and gaining valuable experience through exchange programs.