An Investigation into the Egalitarian Assumptions of Aid Providers in Women Empowerment Projects and the Lived Experiences of Women within Patriarchal Societies: the case of Zimbabwe
Since the launch of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in 2000, discourse on sustainable development has emphasised the pivotal role of women in the development process. However, development aid channelled through women empowerment interventions has had limited impact than anticipated. This trend has largely been attributed to socio-economic and political dynamics borne of different cultural perspectives and ideologies. This research investigates discrepancies between the egalitarian assumptions of aid providers in women empowerment and the lived experiences of women in patriarchal Zimbabwe. Furthermore, the research seeks to highlight how culture infiltrates into decision-making and policy formulation structures and reinforce patriarchal attitudes and values. In-depth interviews were conducted with representatives from a sample of government ministries, donor agencies and grassroots non-governmental organisations. A critical analysis of the Eurocentric and Afrocentric ideologies of human rights was conducted in order to establish the cultural discrepancies between the government, donor agencies and grassroots non-governmental organisations in Zimbabwe. Data was analysed using discourse analysis methodology. Although Zimbabwe has policies, institutions and practices that enable women empowerment, it lacks policy coordination and coherence measures that promote the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of these initiatives because the social structures remain largely patriarchal. There is need for resuscitating communication and engagement between the three major stakeholder groups in Zimbabwe to ensure a coordinated support to the implementation of women empowerment interventions. The three stakeholders need to create new partnership modalities and strengthen those that are already in existence by using a human rights prism. The research recommends that stakeholders establish partnerships to help synergise policies so that the implementation processes create an enabling environment for development aid effectiveness in women empowerment projects the country.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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