THE government is set to set up at least 25 women projects in Matabeleland North Province with funding from the Women Development Fund meant for the empowerment of the fairer sex in rural areas.
Speaking at a belated women’s commemoration event on Thursday in Nkayi, Small and Medium Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni said women were exposed to numerous vulnerabilities hence the need to capacitate them.
“My ministry intends to fund 25 women projects in all the seven districts in Matabeleland North under the Women Development Fund.
“These funds will boost women’s small businesses because women are less able to confront climate change. During extreme weather such as droughts, cyclones and floods, women tend to work more to restore and secure household livelihoods.
“This leaves less time for women to access training and education, develop skills or participate in the economic mainstream, thus gender equality remains low,” Nyoni said.
She added: “The difference between men and women’s interaction with the environment and natural resources implies that their vulnerabilities differ. It is therefore imperative to make gender considerations in climate change, disaster risk reduction and environment conservation strategies because women have negligible participation in decision making and are not involved in the distribution of environmental management benefits.”
Speaking at the same event, Action Aid country director Joy Mabenge said globally, women were more vulnerable to climate change as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor.
“Women also depend on natural resources which climate change threatens the most. In all these challenges that women face we are supporting women with agro-economic alternatives as opposed especially to the use of chemical fertilisers. We are also pushing for gender responsive public services,” Mabenge said.
The event was organised by Health Education Food Organisation (Hefo) in partnership with Action Aid Zimbabwe as part of the initiative to empower marginalised women in the country.