AWEPA’s activities of support and assistance in Zimbabwe started in 2012 and feature two main components. On the one hand, AWEPA facilitates capacity building of parliamentary members and staff; on the other hand, AWEPA capacitates a Zimbabwean-based civil society organisation, the Southern African Parliamentary Trust (SAPST) to offer domestic support in terms of legislative analysis and drafting and the enhancement of oversight in regards to human rights and gender equity. AWEPA’s assistance to parliamentary staff takes the form of study exchange visits to gain further knowledge about best practices concerning facets of parliamentary business such as research, dissemination and storage of information, public participation, drafting legislation and improved oversight and monitoring. AWEPA understands its contribution to strengthening the parliamentary democracy of Zimbabwe to be difficult not only because of the overt political issues facing the country but also because of the lack of sufficient resources facing the Parliament of Zimbabwe. AWEPA’s contribution, although small, is thus greatly appreciated by the participants. All involved in the project understand that strong parliaments are the engine room of democracy, economic sustainability and poverty alleviation not only in Zimbabwe but also for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African continent.
The objective of the AWEPA programme in Zimbabwe is to support the development of an open and participative Parliament that excels not only in the discharge of its duties of oversight, law making and representation, but also in anchoring peace and good governance in Zimbabwe. The programme provides capacity building support both for parliamentarians and the staff. A number of activities involve visits by the staff and parliamentarians to other Parliaments in Africa, in order to share experiences and best practices.
- Enhanced capacity of the Zimbabwean Parliament to recognize the dangers associated with climate change and its adverse effects on sustainability. Enhanced regional coordination to better mitigate the impact of climate change;
- strengthening of mechanisms aimed at supporting Zimbabwean parliamentarians in protecting human rights and enhancing gender equity;
- enhanced levels of cooperation between parliaments of Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa, as a result of study exchange visits of Zimbabwean parliamentary staff to the parliaments of Zambia and South Africa;
- enhanced knowledge of parliamentary staff in the areas of research, dissemination and storage of information, public participation, drafting legislature and improved oversight and monitoring.