Huairou Commission / Ray of Hope: The Progressive City of Chitungwiza Women Want 2017 Urban Thinkers Campus

Huairou Commission / Ray of Hope: The Progressive City of Chitungwiza Women Want 2017 Urban Thinkers Campus

The City of Chitungwiza is located about 40km South of Harare, the Capital City of Zimbabwe. The City of Chitungwiza is one of the Oldest Towns in Zimbabwe having been founded in the late 1950s by Colonial Government. The City was founded as the dormitory Town of Harare, meant to accommodate the low income earners working in Harare. The low income earners would commute to work and back on a daily basis. As a dormitory Town, Chitungwiza did not benefit a lot in terms of Industrialization and Infrastructural Development during pre and post the Colonial Era. The City has seen a rapid population growth both in Pre and Post-Independence Period due to a combination of factors including the perceived low accommodation rates, connectivity to Harare, perceived employment opportunities during the Post-Independence period, the rising informal trading in the City and also to a greater extend the decade long failure in the agricultural sector particularly in surrounding rural farming communities in the wake of Climate Change in Zimbabwe.

To-date Chitungwiza is the 2nd largest City in Zimbabwe in terms of Population number with a population estimated to be around 1000 000, thus second from the City of Harare which has an estimated Population of about 2000 000. The rapid population growth was not complemented with infrastructural development, industrialization, service delivery and critically sustainable strategic planning. Chitungwiza has a developmental deficit gap of about 50years compared with the City of Harare and the situation is worse if the City is compared with World Class Cities such as New York, Paris, Dubai and London amongst others.

The City of Chitungwiza has over 90% formal unemployment rate with about 50 Companies in its Industrial Site have either closed or facing viability challenges. Most of the working population of Chitungwiza are employed in Harare and most of them are low income earners. The City has a thriving Entrepreneurship and informal trading sectors which resonate well with the Government’s Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Policies. However a close look at the status of the informal traders reveals another sad story, they are ideas reach but resource poor. To date Chitungwiza rely on the City of Harare for major Services Delivery including the supply of water, quality health services, tertiary education, transport and communication, employment, emergency services, energy, production, commerce, sport nurturing and international exposure amongst others services.

Women in Chitungwiza turned out to be the biggest victims and survivors of the poor services delivery and poor infrastructural development.  Chitungwiza has been affected a myriad of crisis for the past 2 decades however the crisis have always turned out to be gendered Epidemics. Ray of Hope has deemed it necessary to institute a gendered response through the Hosting of a Women Centered 2017 Urban Thinkers Campus. Ray of Hope regards the participation of women in all decision making, policy making, budgeting, planning, leadership and resource distribution panacea to create a Safer City of Chitungwiza for all. Ray of Rope recognizes that whenever a crisis situation like Cholera manifest, it is women who constitutes the greater percentage of those involved in the risk primary care giving responsibilities, bereavement activities, Orphanhood care and support, divorce, exposed to domestic violence and will walk long distance in search of safe water for domestic chores. Women in particular have experienced the most impacts and the related challenges of the deteriorating quality and quantity health services, economic displacements and environmental degradation in Chitungwiza henceforth; women are better placed to contribute generously towards finding the lasting practical solutions to issues that concern them, their families and their communities. In this regard, Ray of Hope is targeting to reach out to at-least 80% women participation during the 2017 Campus; however men are included in line with our participation methodologies. It is also recognized that men have been the major part of the problem and have to be part of the solution as well, so they are considered equal partners.

Ray of Hope Zimbabwe will host the 2017 Urban Thinkers Campus from the 25th of September 2017 to the 27th of September 2017 at Kingdom Power Ministries in Unit A, Seke, Chitungwiza. The Urban Thinkers Campus will run under the Theme: ‘The Progressive City Women Want; Moving from Ideas to Practical Action’. The Campus will be held with the following set of objectives:

  1. To provide a dialogue platform for different urban players and key stakeholders to come together and explore feminized urban challenges and collectively develop practical solutions in line with provisions of the New Urban Agenda and SDGs.
  2. To mobilize locally driven and external resources critical for the successful implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
  3. To explore and establish strategic partnership opportunities for urban development players in Chitungwiza and beyond.
  4. To establish action oriented New Urban Agenda Implementation Teams and Committees.

The 2017 Urban Thinkers Campus will be attended by all important urban development practitioners particularly grassroots women, women pressure groups, cooperatives, policy makers, budget makers, law enforcement agencies, city planners, local authority, government, donor organizations and NGOs operating in Chitungwiza. Campus delegates will be divided into various Plenary Sessions arranged along 10 Drivers of Change outlined in the Manifesto for Cities that is:

  1. Governance and Partnerships
  2. Planning and Design
  3. Finance
  4. Land, Housing and Services
  5. Environment
  6. Health and Safety
  7. Economy and Livelihoods
  8. Education
  9. Technology
  10. Monitoring and Evaluation

During the Plenary Sessions, delegates are expected to engage in progressive debate    on practical solutions to be implemented, resources required and time frames. Delegates’ will share best practices, models, strategies and information. All the Sessions are expected to adopt their resolutions and action plans. The adopted action plans will be reported back to the Campus for further debating and adoption.

Adoption of the New Urban Agenda Road Map – On the 3rd and final day of the Campus, all the Plenary Session Groups will make their presentations on the adopted actions plans developed with the active participation of women. Further debate will be allowed before adoption of the strategies and action plans. Each Plenary Session Group will as well be required to second one person to the New Urban Agenda Implementation Committee/Forum expected to be set at the Campus. The New Urban Agenda Committee will be mandated to implement all the adopted working strategies and action plans while giving on going stakeholder’s feedback.


 In persuasion of the Campus mandate, the adopted Committee will:

  1. Develop a Collective Road Map for the City of Chitungwiza to achieve the Modern Gender Friendly City Status.
  2. Mobilize sustainable and strategic resources for the funding and financing of projects, developments and actions plans.
  3. Establish key networking and working partnerships amongst key urban development players in Chitungwiza who will commit the time, resources and expertise in advancing the New Urban Agenda.
  4. Establish the New Urban Agenda Implementation Committee which will be mandated to ensure the full implementation of the Campus resolutions, recommendations, proposed action plans and long-term strategies.


Article by Regis Manjoro
Photo Credit: Pamela Shora