The workshop entitled “Building national consensus on SST: Ensuring a gender-based strategy” was the third of a series of six workshops in a project entitled “Building and managing consensus for peace and security in Zimbabwe” aimed at facilitating the establishment of an inclusive national security sector transformation (SST) process by both state and non-state actors. The workshop was held in Harare at the Rainbow Towers from 27 to 29 May 2015. The workshop is a continuation of a series of engagements, including workshops, which the ZPSP has been holding with gender-based organizations since 2011 under the project entitled “Gender Mainstreaming in the Security Sector (GEMASSET)”. This workshop marked a step further towards the development of a concrete gender-based strategy, which is expected to be an integral input into a national SST strategy for Zimbabwe. The project entitled “Building and managing consensus for peace and security in Zimbabwe” is developed by the Zimbabwe Peace and Security Programme (ZPSP) in collaboration with, and supported by, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Human Security Division. The Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich is also partnering in this project and gives technical support in the implementation of the project.
The specific objectives of the workshop were:
1) To provide participants with in-depth knowledge of gender and SST and its relevance and application in the civil society sector.
2) To provide participants with knowledge and appreciation of means and ways of engaging with regional and continental institutions on gender and SST.
3) To enable consensus-building (mediation) skills to be learned and applied to the development of a gendered approach to SST.
4) To develop and refine the existing Gender and SST Action Plan into an Operational Plan with clear priorities and an implementation structure.
The workshop included of the following learning components:
1) A panel discussion giving an overview of the challenges faced by the gender, peace and security agenda in Zimbabwe.
2) Highlights of gender, peace and security issues within the Sothern African Development Committee (SADC) and African Union (AU) context.
3) Discussion on the new constitutional dispensation with regards to gender, peace and security in Zimbabwe.
4) An overview of the concepts of mediation and consensus building and how they relate to gender, peace and security in Zimbabwe.
5) An exploration of gendered perspectives of community security in Zimbabwe.
According to the feedback to the workshop evaluation, the workshop achieved its objectives and met participants’ expectations.