By Br. Alfonce Kugwa
Ruwa Local Board represented by Councilor Justice Gukwe of Ward 9 recently handed over a piece of land to St. Dominic Parish in Ruwa that will be developed into a sporting arena for the youth in the area. The grounds which will be used to promote unity and social cohesion in the Ruwa through sport, are owned by the local community but managed by the parish.
The official opening of the grounds took place on 20 November 2022 in the presence of St. Dominic Parish Priest, Fr, Peter Paul, Zimbabwe Olympics Official, Mr. Mapondera, and Ruwa Local Board Chairman, Councilor Kizito Chivafa. After the ground was cleared, Fr. Peter Paul had to do some rounds blessing the place.
The issue of the sporting arena came to light during one of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) Archdiocese of Harare’s workshops where the need for recreational facilities was raised. The community engagement highlighted that there were no recreational facilities in the whole area and this also contributed to the rise of drug and substance abuse among the youth.
The parish is one of the 20 parishes in the Archdiocese of Harare which was chosen to implement the MISEREOR-sponsored project on mitigating gender-based violence, sexual violence, child abuse and child marriages. The project is being implemented by CCJP with the approval of Archbishop Robert Ndlovu and will run for three years from 2022 to 2024.
CCJP Archdiocese of Harare Lead Programs Officer, Vimbai Chiweshe, said the development is a result of the organization’s thrust to strengthen social cohesion and empower vulnerable and marginalized groups through community participation.
“The project titled strengthening social cohesion through community participation in development processes aims at getting communities actively involved in promoting social cohesion and empowering vulnerable and marginalized groups,” said Chiweshe
Chiweshe stated that the project works with different community leaders including pastors, councilors, local police and traditional leaders among others.
She said: “It was through this engagement that the Ruwa community mobilized for a meeting with stakeholders including councilors to share strategies that could be taken up to promote cohesion and create a conducive environment for all groups.”
The project’s components include training women to establish savings groups at community level and conducting workshops on the participatory production of guidelines for protection against sexual violence and prevention of early marriages.
CCJP focal person for St. Dominic in Zimre Park/Damofalls, Mr. Narciso Tevedzai said CCJP Archdiocese of Harare has been very active in educating people on the need to promote gender mainstreaming at all levels of society as well as championing the fight against all forms of violence and child abuse.
“Sometime this year, we had a workshop organized by CCJP where Catholics, non-Catholics, and different stakeholders including two councilors attended. The workshop deliberated on issues to do with drugs and substance among the youth and it was after this workshop that Ruwa Local Board decided to give a piece of land to the church so that they can develop it into a sporting arena that the youth will use for recreational purposes and for promoting social cohesion,” said Mr. Tevedzai.
Other parishes participating in the project are St. Dominic’s Seke Rural, St. Antony Gandachibvuwa, Holy Cross Budiriro, Holy Family Bindura, Holy Cross Murewa, All Souls Mutoko, St. John Paul 2 Mutoko, Assumption of Our Lady Rhodesville, St. Charles Lwanga Ruwa, Uganda Matrys Mufakose, St. Francis Xavier Breaside, St. Michael Mhondoro, St. Joseph Sanyati, St. Matiya Kalemba Norton, St. Francis Chegutu, St. Mary Hwedza, St Alphonsus Tafara and Our Lady of the Rosary Marondera.
Some of these have already received different trainings to date and have different community-based initiatives that they are working on.