Within the context of the Leadership Development for Better and Accountable Governance project, the Community Development Department of Silveira House organized a Capacity Building Workshop for Marondera Rural District Council leadership at Chibanguza Hotel in Murehwa. The major objective of the training was to enhance leadership skills of Councillors and the council secretariat. The training was conducted over two days, 16 to 17 December 2019. In total, 30 participants attended, 5 of whom were women. Of the 30 participants, 23 were councillors and seven comprised of members of the council secretariat and the District Development Coordinator’s (DDC) office. The Council Chief Executive Officer and the District Development Coordinator for Marondera were both in attendence. The former gave the keynote address and the latter, closing remarks. A total of 13 presentations were made by the three facilitators, drawn from Silveira House, the Public Service Commission and Ministry of Local Government. Participants greatly appreciated the organization of the workshop whose contents spanned from strategic planning to service delivery rights
Methodology of the Training
The training composed of interactive sessions led by three experts – Mr Shumba from the Public Service Commission, Mr Chikomo from the Ministry of local government and Mr Madhekeni from Silveira House. The facilitating team used a combination of power point presentations, video clips, case studies and flip charts as training material.
Participants’ expectations and challenges were benchmarked using a flip chart. Through the interactive process, the following expectations were raised:
- To enhance knowledge.
- To understand the meaning of capacity building.
- To get answers to the challenges that councillors face in their work.
- To get to understand how councillors can contribute to the devolution concept.
- To enhance the way councillors work in the wards.
- To know what plans Silveira House has for the MRDC wards.
Mr Gundo, the Chief Executive Officer for Marondera Rural District Council, gave the keynote address. He explained the reason for the workshop, its timing, and why Silveira House was part of the program. Mr Gundo indicated that the council executive had identified gaps in councilors’ leadership and management skills, hence the request to have such a workshop. He explained that Silveira House has a long history with the black majority government of Zimbabwe, which dates as far back as the days of the liberation struggle. In addition, he acknowledged that Silveira House has through the years rendered unwavering support to the District in the form of workshops for councillors and livelihood and development projects for selected wards. The CEO expressed gratitude to the institution for partnering the council in development work and underlined his wish to see the cordial relationship enduring for many years to come.
Mr Shumba exposed the participants to the broader vision of the current government, the government’s Results Based Management Framework, the broad mandate of local authorities, and Marondera RDC’s strategic plan. He also assisted participants with an appreciation of leadership qualities, including, team building, peace building, customer care and general presentation. The specific sessions facilitated were as follows:
- Vision, Mission, Core Values and Terms of Reference of Council
- Overall Functions of council
- Council Departments and their roles
- The Strategic Planning Process
- Clients’ Charter
- Team Building
- Customer Care
- Grooming and Deportment, and
- Conflict Management.
Mr Chikomo’s presentations centred on governance matters, taking the participants through their strategic and executive leadership responsibilities ranging from policy formulation to the management of meetings at district, ward and village levels. He underlined the democratic nature of the governance processes, stressing the need for accountability and transparency. Mr Chikomo touched on the following themes:
- Corporate governance
- Policy Formulation, Implementation and Monitoring, and
- Management of Council Meetings.
Mr Madhekeni’s presentation reminded participants of their huge service delivery responsibility. He explained that council leaders must realise that service delivery issues are no longer simple activities that local authorities can provide within their interests and resource capacity but, are now international and constitutional obligations as most of them are now classified as fundamental human rights. He used the right to water and sanitation as an example, covering the following themes:
- International legal framework on the right to Water and Sanitation
- Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitutional enterprise
- Zimbabwe’s 2012 Water Policy
- State of water and sanitation service in Zimbabwe
- Stakeholder Water and Sanitation service obligations
- Lessons from other countries
The workshop was evaluated using a combination of interactive flipcharts and questionnaires. Participants appreciated the workshop content with some expressing the need to devote more time on issues to do with devolution and the vision 2030 trajectory.
- Gender balance was a glaring issue of concern. Only 5 of the 30 participants were women while none of the facilitators were women. Of the 5 women, none of them were active in discussions. Training sessions and support activities focussing on improving the quantitative and qualitative representation of women in local government are imperative.
- Participants would like to see the MRDC-Silveira House relationship growing from strength to strength especially in view of the vision 2030 and devolution aspects. It is therefore important to clearly locate the role and place of councillors and RDCs in the devolution system.
- Capacity building workshops should be a regular feature of the council ‘s calendar and where possible should be held at least quarterly.
- There is need for follow-up activities to assist councillors in applying the knowledge from the training sessions at a ward level.
The leadership development workshop for Marondera Rural District Council exceeded expectations of most of those who attended. Participants came out of the 2-day training enlightened and empowered as leaders and agents of community development in their respective capacities. Many acknowledged Silveira house as a shining beacon which should continue to illuminate the council with trainings and interventions that will allow them to move with times and remain relevant and efficacious as community leaders.