The independent resource on global security

Case study: Zimbabwe

Organization: Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA, member of the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, WCoZ).

Title: Assessing the Efficacy of the Participation and Strategies of Engagement of the Women’s Coalition in Post-Conflict Transformation in Zimbabwe

Over the past decade, the deterioration in Zimbabwe’s governance and security landscape has been accompanied by an increasing awareness in the global arena of the need and utility of women’s perspectives and participation in peacebuilding. In 2000  the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), calling for the active engagement of women in peace and security. In 2008 the Southern African Development Community (SADC) passed a protocol on gender and development to reflect the need for women’s perspectives and engagement in peace, security and development.

The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) was formed in 1999 as a coordinating network for the empowerment of women and girls, in order to enable them to speak with one voice on every issue affecting their rights. Since then, the WCoZ has been the coordinating coalition for all women’s rights initiatives in Zimbabwe. 

The formation of the WCoZ was inspired by the constitutional reform processes in Zimbabwe in the 1990s, which ended in failure in 2000, when a majority of citizens (51%) rejected a draft constitutional reform proposal in a referendum. Since 2008 the WCoZ has been actively engaged in the post-conflict transformation processes in Zimbabwe, especially in bringing women into the ongoing constitution-making process, ending gender-based violence, and in peacebuilding.

The purpose of this study is to assess the efficacy of WCoZ's strategies of engagement to enable women’s participation in the post-conflict transformation processes in Zimbabwe. It covers the period from the height of political violence following the harmonized elections in 2008–2009 until 2011. The study assesses WCoZ's strategies in four main post-conflict and peace-building processes: the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed in September 2008, which formed the basis for the coalition government and set out a process for writing a new constitution; the formation of the Government of National Unity in February 2009; the economic reconstruction process; and the ongoing constitution process.