Activities achieved in 2003 and 2004
This process started in November 2003, with meetings with members of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and the Womens Coalition. Some regional inroads – contacts - were made during the Southern African Social Forum held in Lusaka in December 2003.
Following the decision relating to the budget in early 2004, and responses from the various sectors met with (including labour, the local governance and local authorities sector, and media organisations), it was decided that the principal form of activity for the period covered by the 2004 budget would be to initiate the production of a local resource based on the Charter. This would consist of a community-based response to the Charter and its concepts and principles, together with translations of the Charter into three local languages.
This decision was based on a number of considerations: the political climate of the closure of space and the restrictions on events and meetings; the political sensitivity of the concepts of responsibility and in particular accountability in the Zimbabwean context; the sensitivity to authorities in Zimbabwe to ’external’ and ’foreign’ influence and interference; the importance of a community-centred and grassroots based process.
Towards the production of the Community book on responsibility: negotiations were entered into with ACPD, an organisation specialising in community publishing. A process was designed to introduce a research and writing process through the network of community researchers, writers and artists with which ACPD works.
A report-back workshop was held in November 2004, and draft research reports from the five areas were presented, which included local artwork and poetry.
It is expected that work to finalise the book will require about six more months and that it will be published in about July 2005.
In addition to the production of the local versions and a community response, the Charter has been introduced in workshops within Zimbabwe in the following sectors:
It is expected that the introduction of a locally appropriated (Zimbabwean) version of the Charter (and reflection on the concept, the themes and principles) will enable much deeper processing of the principles and the theses by sectoral organisations, and become generative in the formulation of sectoral responses or versions.
Regionally, the Charter has been presented and discussed at the Southern Africa Social Forum, December 2003, and the Africa Social Forum, December 2004 (both held in Lusaka, Zambia), as well as at the Zimbabwe Social Forum, October 2004. It was also presented and discussed at the Civicus World Assembly, held in Gaborone, Botswana, in March 2004, where it formed part of discussions on peace and human rights, reform of the global governance system (with the Ubuntu initiative) and the Global Ethics Initiative.