Over the past decade, Zimbabwe has been facing a number of political, socio-economic and developmental challenges. Civil Society Organisations have and are continuing to play a key role in engaging various stakeholders as well as duty bearers on the advocacy of human rights and legislative reform. The Human Rights and Governance programme at NANGO has a number of initiatives aimed at further promoting human rights and engaging various stakeholders. For example, in 2012 NANGO coordinated various stakeholders on important processes such as the constitution-making process and mobilised various platforms to contribute. In 2013, NANGO, also worked with SADC-CNGO to organise and coordinate the observing of the July 31 electoral processes by regional and local observers throughout the country.
The Human Rights and Governance portfolio at NANGO also works on the monitoring and assessing the operational space of CSOS. Currently, NANGO has produced a report on the Capacity Gaps of Civil Society Organisations in Zimbabwe that is an assessment of the capacity needs of NGOs operational in the country. It is expected that the recommendations from the report can facilitate more meaningful engagement of the NGO sector in national development initiatives and effectively harness the potential of NGOs in supporting the transition towards recovery and development.
Baseline Assessment of NGO Regulations
In addition, given that the difficulty of CSOs in coordinating their activities and regulating their behavior, as they fall under a number of legislative instruments and parent Ministries, NANGO has conducted a Baseline Assessment of the Current Legal and Regulatory Framework Regulating The Operations of Civil Society Organization’s in Zimbabwe’. The report reviews the legislative environment affecting and identifies institutional/administrative structures within the relevant Ministries and at local level responsible for CSO regulatory management, including current practices regarding the implementation of existing legislation. Based on this report, a PVO Amendment Bill advocating for self-regulation of civil society organizations to improve the operational environment of CSO was developed. An advocacy strategy was also developed to outline engagement with various stakeholders that include government, funding partners and political parties. The advocacy strategy also seeks to strengthen the relationship with Government institutions.
Platforms for National Dialogue
NANGO is also currently working on the creation of platforms that seek to promote national dialogue that is supported by UNDP. At the Annual NGO Expo, NANGO hosted a dialogue conference on the operational space of Zimbabwe which focused on engaging the New Government and planning for the way forward. NANGO also conducted a CSO Consultative Dialogue Meeting focused on the need for an establishment of a National Human Rights Platform.
Furthermore, NANGO works with five implementing partners, that is Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, The National Council of People with Disabilities, Law Society of Zimbabwe and Legal Resources Foundation, to strengthen the role of CSO in Human Rights reporting, monitoring and advocacy, a programme that is supported by UNDP. The partners are focused on various aspects of human rights, ranging from the environmental rights to rights of people living with disabilities.