Strategically using ICTs to amplify voices of silenced groups

Monday, July 1, 2013

CCCD partners with local school on a SRHR programme

Young people at Thomas Rudland
Primary School
The Creative Centre for Communication and Development is partnering with Thomas Rudland primary school in Queens Park East suburb in Bulawayo to implement a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) programme targeting young people at the school. The training targets 50 children aged between 6 and 13 years. 
The purpose of the training is to promote positive approaches to sexuality and achieve comprehensive sexuality education for young people. Implementation of the programme is done through the school’s Health Club and Scripture Union. This enables us to take a holistic approach and address the heart, mind and soul.
This SRHR programme is in line with the Maputo Plan of Action for Universal Access to comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Africa. The plan of action states that Reproductive Health encompasses the whole lifespan of an individual from conception to old age as such SRH services should be provided to all who need them including young people.
The programme was designed after a realisation that most SRHR programmes in the country use scare tactics to educate and provide SRHR information to young people. Under this programme young people will be connected to SRH services and information to enable them to make informed choices.

Citizen Journalism redefines communication

Participants who took
part in the Citizen
Journalism training
The just concluded Citizen Journalism training has opened new avenues for women and girls in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe to use the power of information and communication technologies to reshape, rethink and redefine communication.
The 21 day training that started on May 6, 2013 and ended on June 21, 2013 availed information and communication technologies, including internet training and access, to disadvantaged women and girls so that they actively participate in setting the global agenda.
The training was attended by 24 women and girls and four men. The average age for the participants was 33 years with the youngest aged 18 years and the oldest aged 65 years. Two participants had tertiary qualifications while six participants had gone to school up to Zimbabwe junior certificate and 20 had gone up to Ordinary Level. The participants were drawn from Kingsdale (19), Queens Park (7), Cowdry Park (1) and Saurcetown (1) within a radius of 40 kilometres from Montgomery Hall where we are located.
Recent strides in the development and diffusion of communication technologies has contributed to the shift in the power to shape local and global views and perspectives from government, opinion leaders, government and trained journalists to ordinary citizen who have access to the internet and have an opinion. The training emphasised on empowering ordinary citizens to report on what is happening around them.
Participants in the training learned how to use a computer, write news and blog on the World Wide Web. All trainees opened new emails, created personal blogs and shared news with a global community of what is happening in their community.
Trainees wrote 36 stories that covered issues related to HIV/AIDS, Gender Based Violence, violence against women, crime, poverty, HIV/AIDS and child abuse. The writers blogged the stories on Pulsewire, an interactive space where women worldwide, including those using Internet cafés in rural areas, can speak for ourselves to the world and collaborate to solve global problems.

New Equipment Augments Sustainability Plan

Resources Mobilisation activities for the Creative Centre for Communication and Development have been enhanced thanks to some newly acquired equipment. The equipment will form a key component in rolling out the organisation’s three year Resources Mobilisation Strategy.
A Canon EOS 40D digital camera and Acer DLP 3D projector were purchased using savings that accrued from a grant awarded to the organisation by the African Women Development Fund. The equipment will be used to improve the quality of services offered by the organisation. This will aid the organisation to deliver its mission, increase the organisation’s financial base and diversify its sources of income.
The organisation’s Resources Mobilisation primary focus is growth while visibility and sustainability form its secondary focus. The strategy details tactics to adopt, priorities to consider and ways to maximise resources mobilisation efforts that propel the organisation toward achieving its strategic goals.
To date the equipment has been used during trainings, to document the organisation’s activities and facilitate fundraising events.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Resounding turn-up for training

The second quarter citizen journalism training roared into life with record turn-out as more and more women begin to understand the nature of our work and see the essence of exercising their communication rights.

Our two previous training sessions had 17 and 19 participants respectively. This time the number has shot up to 28, surpassing our capacity of 16 participants per session by almost half. The sudden increase in participants has had a strain on the limited resources available for the training.
Thanks to the commitment of members of staff who have sacrificed to work overtime, all the participants have managed to take the first step into the journey of generating their own user friendly content, own and control the media and express their legitimate viewpoints in a language they understand and in formats they can use. This training will enable participants not only to seek, receive and impart, but to listen and being heard, understand, learn, create and respond.

The training borrows from the 2003 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Declaration of Principles which calls for the building of a people-centred, inclusive and development oriented Information Society where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and people to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life premised on the purposes and principles of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For 21 days, participants in the training will embark on an epic journey and encounter new technologies. They will open their new email accounts, a first time experience for a majority of the women. They will also learn how to tell their own stories and how to post these stories on a blog. The participants will produce a community newsletter that contains stories about them by them.
As we take these women and girls on their journey, there has been a flurry of requests by other women, girls and men who want to take part in the training. The third quarter training is almost fully booked and new dates for the fourth quarter training will be availed before the end of the second quarter.


CCCD launches new brand

The Creative Centre for communication and Development (CCCD) has assumed a new face after unveiling a new logo and launching a new website.

The new look logo has already received widespread thumps-up from our beneficiaries who say the logo reflects the nature of our work and is easy to comprehend. The logo features the organisation’s abbreviation; CCCD and two people with heads together to represent CCCD working closely with the community for a common developmental goal. The colour contrast represents our cultural tolerance and diversity. The gold colour shows our warmth, power, love, value, hope and strength. The black represents the awakening of the sleeping giants in the community.
The new website, features in-depth information about our history, our work, projects implemented and images. The website is the window into the plans, hopes, and achievements of the Creative Centre for Communication and Development and a pointer to the journey we have travelled to be where we are today.

Through these developments, CCCD wishes to be more visible so as to reach the local and global community. The impacts of these developments have been instant. We were all excited that soon after launching our Facebook account, we got a message from Sahni Neelam who is based in India. She was interested by our work and requested information on how she can contribute to the development of the organization.
We will continue to embrace new technologies and use them effectively to change the lives of women and girls that we work with.

CCCD winds up a highly successful campaign

It has been 12 month roller-coaster voyage. We emerged from our humble domain with gusto and established ourselves as one of the pillars of support to hundreds of women and girls in Bulawayo North district.   

As the curtain finally comes down on the institutional capacity development support project that was funded by the African Women Development Fund (AWDF) in June 2012, we stand with our heads held high and proud of our achievements.

It all started with a simple email from the AWDF that we received in one of the congested internet cafés in downtown Bulawayo city in June 2012. The email carried the good tidings that AWDF had approved a USD20.000 request from CCCD for institutional development. Since then, we have been growing from one level to another and in the process establishing ourselves as one of the fastest growing community based organizations in the Bulawayo Metropolitan province.

The grant enabled us to secure office space at one of the most strategic positions in our area of operation. Soon after securing the office space, we embarked on a mission to put in place the necessary infrastructure relevant for the exercise that we wanted to fulfill. We also secured a state of the art communication system that has made internet cafés a thing of the past. We have proper office desks, chairs and computers that are coveted by colleagues who visit us.
The funding also enabled us to institute mission-driven staff development, strengthen governance measures, institute appropriate organisational management systems and strengthen gender and Information and Communication Technologies advocacy. The recent re-branding exercise that saw the organization assuming a new corporate logo and launching a website is an icing to the cake. Our presence on the World Wide Web also saw us launching a Facebook account which already has more than 80 likes.
As the curtain comes down on the project, CCCD is now firmly positioned and her impact felt. We are geared to move from our roots in Bulawayo North district to touch the lives of women and girls in the greater Bulawayo Metropolitan province and beyond.

We are proud of our association with the African Women Development Fund and we thank them for their investment in the work that we do.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

CCCD brings limelight on mental illnesses

From left to right: Gertrude Pswarayi,
Soneni Gwizi, Frank Jabson
Issues affecting women suffering from mental illnesses were brought onto the limelight when the Creative Centre for Communication and Development (CCCD) staff members featured on a popular radio programme, Disability Issues.
The programme, which was aired on 22 April 2013, is hosted by one of Zimbabwe’s influential and award winning female broadcasters, Soneni Gwizi on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s Spot FM channel.
Gertrude Pswarayi, the Director of CCCD and Frank Jabson, the Programme Officer of CCCD featured on the programme to highlight the organisation’s 2013/4 Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights programme which targets women and girls suffering from mental illnesses.
The 30-minutes programme focused on the challenges that women and girls suffering from mental illnesses face. Pswarayi highlighted cultural myths, beliefs and perceptions that lead to the marginalisation of women and girls suffering from mental illnesses and the subsequent violation of their basic right to medical support, shelter, food and other services.
Jabson focused on how the organisation is working with one of its local partners, the Noah’s Ark Ministries to alleviate problems faced by patients at Ingutsheni psychiatric hospital in Bulawayo. Ingutsheni hospital is the country’s biggest mental health referral institution.
Spot FM broadcasts mainly in English and is a music, news and current affairs station aimed at a mature audience. The third quarter of the 2012 Zimbabwe All Media Products and Services (ZAMPS) survey shows that Spot FM has approximately 171 984 listeners. The surveys confirms that radio is still the most popular source of news and information in Zimbabwe, especially in rural areas with the country having about a million radio sets – roughly 1 for every 12 inhabitants according to the online database PressReference.  
CCCD will feature again on the same programme to highlight its initiatives of building the capacity of women and girls in the use of Information and Communication Technologies so as to raise their voices on issues that are of concern to them. The organisation strongly views radio as one of the key ICT that that can be used to give voice to the ‘unheard in the zone of silence’.

CCCD visibility growing in leaps and bounds

Strategic networking and outreach initiatives by the Creative Centre for Communication and Development (CCCD) are now yielding positive results. From its epicentre at Montgomery Hall in the northern suburb of Kingsdale, CCCD is now drawing beneficiaries from some of the eastern, western and southern suburbs of Bulawayo metropolitan province in Zimbabwe.
The organisation’s structured approach to community mobilisation has availed opportunities for the organisation to reach out to more women and girls locally and internationally. The strategy was adopted in 2012 after a realisation that there were more women and girls in need of the services offered by the organisation.
In 2008/09, CCCD was working with community members in the northern suburb of Queens Park. In 2010/2011, the organisation extended its reach in the northern suburb by reaching out to women and girls in Kingsdale, Woodville and Saurcetown. In 2012/2013, the organisation extended its reach to beneficiaries from western suburbs such as Nkulumane, Mpopoma, Cowdray Park and Makokoba, southern suburbs such as Hillside, eastern suburbs such as Waterford and other northern suburbs such as Trinance.
Meanwhile, CCCD is also making her presence felt on online. Our blog, has attracted readers from as far afield as the United States of America, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Canada, India, France, Ghana, and South Africa.
We are getting better and smarter at gathering and analysing relevant data that allows us to track the social impact we are making as we touch the lives of women and girls in Zimbabwe.

Wanted sex, good sex and the right to enjoy sex!

Adolescent girls and boys in Bulawayo north district, who have been bombarded by scare tactics in HIV prevention, sex and sexuality education for a long time, are set to benefit from a programme that seeks to promote positive approaches to sexuality and achieve comprehensive sexuality education for young people.

The sexuality education campaign has been launched to safeguard adolescents’ right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, in line with the 1995 Beijing Programme of Action, paragraph 96.

The campaign is part of our Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights programme which has been designed to allow teenagers to talk about sex, life and relationships in a healthy way. 

The Creative Centre for Communication and Development began the programme the first week of April 2013 and the programme is expected to run for 12 months. Teenagers are meeting once every week for knowledge and skills building workshops that encourage frank and non-judgemental conversations for participants to have correct information about a range of Sexual and Reproductive Health and gender issues.

Challenges facing women come under scrutiny

Women in Bulawayo north district of Bulawayo metropolitan province have decried some cultural practices in Zimbabwe that have relegated women and girls to the periphery of society.

The women, who had gathered at Montgomery Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe for a workshop facilitated by the Creative Centre for Communication and Development, said women and girls continue to be side-lined on issues such as inheritance for the mere reason that they are women. They said such challenges have impoverished women and further exposed them to other challenges such as HIV/AIDS and sexual abuse and exploitation.   

To alleviate the daily challenges facing women and girls, the Creative Centre for Communication and Development convened the one-day workshop to empower women and girls with knowledge and information about their rights, particularly on issues such as HIV, inheritance and reproductive health rights. The workshop ran under the theme: Becoming a woman of influence.

The workshop, which was attended by 115 grassroots women and adolescent girls sought to build women’s capacity to create, access, utilise and share information and knowledge that enables them to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life premised on the purposes and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The workshop was also attended by several other civil society organisations that included Self Help Development Foundation, Hope for a child in Christ, Susceptible Iyanai Chinoda OVC Care, Heal Makokoba Trust and Emthonjeni Women’s Forum.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Press Release: Women's Workshop

Conference seeks to assert women’s position

Women and girls from Reigate district and other areas of Bulawayo metropolitan province are set to converge at Montgomery Hall, in Kingsdale this Saturday for a conference that seeks to promote their sustainable development and improve their quality of life premised on the purposes and principles of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The workshop will run under the theme: Becoming a Woman of Influence and is expected to attract more than 100 women and girls and other developmental organisations in Bulawayo. Participants will scrutinise the underlying root causes fuelling the crises that women and girls are dealing with today such as HIV/AIDS, rape, sexual abuse, and violence.

Recent statistics published in the Quarterly Digest of Statistics produced by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency in January 2013 reveals the plethora of challenges facing women and girls. For instance, the third quarter of 2012 recorded 25 808 cases of newly HIV infected men against 42 296 cases for women. The report also reveals that there were 5017 cases of rape reported, including attempts between January 2012 and November 2012.

Gertrude Pswarayi, the Director of the Creative Centre for Communication and Development says the event will expose women and girls to a variety of services and information on challenges they face on a daily basis.

“This workshop will allow us as women to engage in dialogue that will help us to challenge the myths, beliefs and misconceptions that perpetuate inequalities between men and women. We will demystify a woman’s nature, potential, role and unique contribution to the world. Failure to understand this means that women are misunderstood, held back from fulfilling their potential, and abused,” says Ms Pswarayi.

Ms Pswarayi added that the challenges that women face is exacerbated women’s inability to use their Influence Power for self-realisation. She said the workshop is critical for women as they would have an opportunity to get information and services from a wide range of organisations that are taking part in the workshop.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Women empowered to protect themselves against digital dangers

Zimbabwe is faced with increasing cases of violence against women and girls and the scourge has not spared women and girls living in Bulawayo North district. New Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are creating new ways for crimes against women and girls to be committed.

In an effort to challenge the menace, the Creative Centre for Communication and Development facilitated a Citizen Journalism training programme in Bulawayo North district aimed at increasing the voices of women and girls who are challenging violence against women and girls in the public domain using ICTs.

The training which started on November 20 and ended on December 10 saw each participant receiving an average of two hours per day of training.

Of the 19 women and girls who participated in the training, all of them owned a mobile phone, 18 did not own a computer and 1 woman had access to a computer at home shared among six family members. 12 women and girls had never used a computer, 6 women had basic computer skills and all of them could not use the internet although 5 could access the internet using their mobile phones. All of them had no knowledge of digital dangers and ways to protect themselves from ‘cyber pigs’ once they land on the super highway. 

The participants were trained to use computers and mobile phones to access the internet and challenge Violence Against Women while staying safe online.

A visual artist facilitated a two-day visual art session to allow both literate and semi-literate women to express their personal experiences on Violence Against Women.

Sazini Ndlovu, 37, one of the participants, a vegetable vendor and a single parent says she has communicated with strangers on Whatsup, a mobile software that allows people to send SMS at very low costs.

The training raised awareness on issues such as cyber-stalking, digital pornography and online harassment. 


Community observes Intrnational Women's Day

The Creative Centre for Communication and Development showcased digital stories produced by women and girls to engage the community in discussions aimed at curbing violence against women.

The digital stories were produced during a 21-day training workshop aimed at empowering women to use information and communication technologies to express themselves, make their voices heard and participate in issues that affect their lives.

Screening of the inspiring digital stories was done during the commemoration of the International women’s Day on March 08, 2013 at the Montgomery Hall, in Bulawayo North district.

The commemorations run under the theme A promise is a promise. Time for action to end violence against women.

CCCD records growth

When CCCD was founded the organisation had no offices. A make shift training centre was established on a veranda to avail ICTs to women and girls. The training centre had two computers, a digital camera and a device called a mobigator that allowed the organisation to use Free and Open Source Software and a mobile line for advocacy.

In June 2012, CCCD was awarded a grant by the African Women Development Fund (AWDF) for institutional development. The grant enabled the organisation to secure office space, recruit additional staff, purchase additional equipment and furniture and establish communication infrastructure.

The investment from AWDF has seen the organisation recording phenomenal growth. The organisation now has a three-year strategic plan, fundraising strategy, organisational holistic context which acts as our magnetic north in decision making, a structured training programme and a community mobilisation strategy.

There has been an increase in the number of people visiting the organisation for services.

From June 2012 to December 2012 we were using a participant list to record the number of people involved in our programmes.

In January 2013 we developed a traffic flow system to enable us to track who was seeking our services, what they wanted, their sex, age, location and contact details. The traffic flow system has been developed to gather data to inform our strategic thinking and for programme development while building a database of our primary beneficiaries.

Between January and March 2013, data gather reveals that we reached more women and girls. It also shows that men are interested in our programmes. Both women and men visiting our offices are seeking information regarding our trainings, participating in our activities and registering to take part in upcoming trainings.

AWDF visits Zimbabwe

Three officials from the African Women Development Fund (AWDF) - Capacity Building Officer, Finance Manager and Monitoring and Evaluation Officer visited Zimbabwe to meet grantees.

The AWDF team had scheduled to visit CCCD offices to get an update on progress made to date. Due to unavailability of flights on scheduled dates the trip by the AWDF team to Bulawayo was cancelled.

Thanks to new information and communication technologies, the meeting with Bulawayo partners was conducted online using Skype.

CCCD shared its successes and challenges. The AWDF team gave a thumps up to the developments at CCCD and pointed out aspects that needed to be addressed for the organisation to further strengthen its systems.

CCCD is one of the AWDF grantees. The organisation received USD20, 000 to implement institutional development processes that will enable the organisation to put in place systems that support its growth.

New voices of women emerge

Women’s voices in the public domain in Zimbabwe are constrained because of excessive male dominance in all aspects of life including the media. Women’s opinions and concerns are expressed in the media through the eyes of men and this has contributed to the trivialisation of women’s issues.

For women in Bulawayo North district, such a situation is set to change. The Creative Centre for Communication and Development (CCCD) is empowering women and girls not only to seek, receive and impart information but also to listen and be heard, understand, learn, create and respond to issues that affect their lives.

Recently, CCCD facilitated a 21-day training programme that targeted 18 women and girls who are disadvantaged. The training which took place three times a week started on January 21 and ended on March 6. Its goal was to produce relevant content for women, by women, in a language they can understand and in formats they can easily access for the purpose of advocacy aimed at advancing their rights.

The technology skills transfer programme empowered women and girls to tell personal stories using a computer, Free and Open Source Software, an audio recorder and digital camera.

The training took place in a conducive environment where each woman chose to share her personal story of hope, pain, survival or courage. Of the 18 women and girls who were trained, eight chose to share their digital stories publicly. The stories ranged from abuse, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancies, forced marriages, unemployment to alcohol abuse. Sharing of these personal stories was therapeutic for the women and girls. By end of the training, they regarded each other as a pillar of support.

After the roller-coaster training, the women felt confident to share their personal stories with the entire community when the community commemorated the International Women’s Day on March 08.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Grassroots women call for an end to violence against women

digital storytelling viewing
The Creative Centre for Communication and Development (CCCD) hosted the commemorations for the 2013 International Women’s Day amid cries by concerned community members over escalations of violence against women. 

The commemorations drew participants from all sections of Reigate district in Bulawayo, including the District Administrator, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Mother’s Union members of the Methodist Church and Noah’s Ark ministries, the media fraternity, women’s groups and young people.
The commemorations were held under the United Nations theme, A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women. The theme seeks to strengthen international community’s commitment to put an end to violence against women.  

Speaking during the commemorations, Pastor Febbie Chuma, who is the Chairperson of the Creative Centre for Communication and Development, attributed the increase in violence against women to some negative cultural and religious practices that relegate women to subservient roles.
“There are some religious people who seek to (mis)-use the Bible to oppress women by saying that God created a woman just to be a man’s helper yet God created man and woman equal,” said Pastor Chuma.

The commemorations were marked by discussions based on digital stories produced by grassroots women narrating their personal experiences on issues such as HIV/AIDS, unemployment, alcohol abuse, disability and teenage marriages and pregnancy. Officials from the District administrator’s office read the speech by the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Kimoon.
CCCD director, Ms Gertrude Pswarayi said that her organisations seeks to bring voices of marginalised women and girls to the fore.

We firmly believe that these digital stories will inspire both men and women to work together as equal partners in ending violence against women and girls,” says Gertrude Pswarayi, CCCD Director.
The UN Women estimates that up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under the age of 16, 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime, up to 70% of women in the world report having experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime and that over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18.

It is against such shocking statistics that the organisation was adding the new voices to challenge violence against women.