This programme was launched in Harare, where ZimRights invited sixteen chiefs and several headmen from the Mashonaland provinces. These traditional leaders are the drivers of this programme. This was done based on the knowledge that chiefs, by virtue of being the custodians of the people are in a strategic and better placed position to influence participation and peace-building in their communities. The chief's programme was also held in Bubi and Tsholotsho in Matabeleland. Meetings under the project were aimed at empowering traditional leaders to take the initiative in creating, building and promoting peace in their communities.
Participants during the workshop
In the Bulawayo region, peace building workshops were held to capacitate youths to stop being agents of violence and refuse to be manipulated or lured into violence by politicians. The chiefs' constitution programme was evaluated and five information resource centers were established in Hwange, Lupane, Tsholotsho, Bubi and Mtshazo.
Other peace-building initiatives involving villagers, traditional leaders, youths and the police were conducted in seven districts, namely, Buhera, Chimanimani, Chipinge, Makoni, Mutasa and Nyanga. Various methods were used to embrace all age ranges and interests. Youths sports galas and road shows, workshops and public meetings, civic education and documentation captured high attendances, much to the benefit of communities. These programmes reached a total of 8000 people of which 2500 were youths and 3000 were women and the rest male adults. ZimRights held a training programme empowering as well as encouraging people to initiate peace building projects and encourage working together.
Results from most of the activities proved beyond doubt that communities are keen to make, build and maintain peace, tolerance and co-existence. The people revealed that they have the capacity to resolve their differences if allowed opportunity to exploit their traditional wisdom and experiences. However, there are some ambitious politicians and their loyalists who continue to employ violence in their communities.
Working hand and hand with traditional leaders, ZimRights held peace-building workshops (partivipants pictured below) in the three Mashonaland provinces. These were aimed at educating communities on peace-building and non-violence tactics for them to appreciate the need to live in a peaceful environment and to provide skills for people to become peace-builders.