Zimbabwe—Transparency, Responsiveness, Accountability, and Citizen Engagement (TRACE) Fund

Client: U.K. Department for International Development

Duration: 2014-2019

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Zimbabwe

Solutions: Governance Fragile States

Now might be the time for Zimbabwe improve on its record of access to justice, human rights, and responsiveness to citizens’ needs. A constitution approved by referendum and parliament in 2013 provides a framework around which civil society can advocate for change. It includes a Bill of Rights and elements so the country can decentralize through the establishment of provincial councils. Similarly, the stated aim of Zimbabwe’s new Economic Development Plan (ZIMASET, 2013-2018) is “towards an empowered society and growing economy.”

But the relationship between the ruling party and civil society is highly polarized: civil society organizations (CSOs) such as the media, trade unions, and student and neighborhood groups are accused of being political and self-serving, particularly those dealing with governance, electoral processes, and human rights issues. Any programme seeking to support CSOs will have to contend with this soured relationship.

TRACE seeks to design, build, and implement a civil society support programme where the CSOs look at government in a less adversarial way and forge relationships to promote constructive dialogue and partnership. The ultimate aim is to empower citizens to hold the Zimbabwean state to account for its use of resources and its respect for human rights and democratic principles.

Sample Activities

  • Manage the programme Secretariat, including the design and implementation of grant windows and grants to capable, qualified awardees.
  • Oversee contracting, monitoring and evaluation, coordination, and dissemination of lessons learned.
  • With partner Jimat Development Consultants of Zimbabwe, identify, contract, and manage mentors and other Zimbabwean technical experts.
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