International Journal of Innovative Social Sciences & Humanities Research 3(1):31-49, Jan-Mar. 2015 (ISSN: 2354-2926)



© SEAHI PUBLICATIONS, 2015 www.seahipaj.org

WOMEN AND YOUTH EMPOWERMENT ISSUES: A CASE STUDY OF EPWORTH PERI-URBAN AREA IN HARARE, ZIMBABWE


Ignatius Isaac DAMBUDZO* & Jane JURU
Zimbabwe Open University, PO Box, MP1119, Mount Pleasant, Harare,
Zimbabwe
*Email of Corresponding author: idambudzo@yahoo.co.uk


ABSTRACT
The purpose of the baseline study was to identify the needs and strategies for the empowerment of women and youth. The development of any country depends on its women and youth. Women in rural and urban areas are marginalised from the mainstream economy. Lack of empowerment is one of the barriers to more active involvement. Standards of living are low and poverty is widespread. Yet empowerment by allowing the women and youth to lead the way would enable sustainable development due to ownership. Any attempt to raise the standards of living of women, youth and their families should incorporate empowerment as a key strategy. It was against this background that RWEI conducted a baseline study to gain a deeper understanding and knowledge of local communities with regard to empowerment. Questionnaires and focus group discussion were used to collect data from women and youth. Questionnaires provided quantitative data to determine the prevalence of respondents’ views on empowerment. Focus group discussion provided in-depth information about the experiences, aspirations, strategies for empowerment, barriers and solutions for empowerment. Results showed that lack of capital, low level education, dearth of skills, cultural factors regarding gender equality were key barriers. The people had entrepreneurial mind-sets. The study concluded that successful empowerment required provision of capital and training. Further research is required to evaluate the effectiveness of empowerment interventions such as training and capital provision.
Key Words: empowerment, women, youth, development, poverty, gender, strategy, training, education, skills, sustainable, baseline, entrepreneur.