Source: The Zimbabwean
"We take pride in being one of the first few voices for women and we can safely say the latest development where women are slowly being recognised and elevated to higher posts in media houses gives us hope that the newsroom is being responsive to female journalists."

These poignant words come from Patience Zirima, the Acting Chairperson of the Federation of African Media Women Zimbabwe.

Zirima says Famwz has not only been a platform for journalists to network, but has also provided marginalised rural women with a chance to access information and discuss critical issues relating to their advancement. "The organisation has over the years been key in providing an opportunity for rural women to discuss developmental issues. We also facilitated a radio project as a way of giving rural women a voice in the mainstream media," she said.

The project, entitled Development Through Radio, targeted the grassroots women as beneficiaries.

Zirima said Famwz was awake to the reality that prominent members of society, the majority of whom are men, claim the larger chunk of media space, thereby pushing women to the sidelines.

Established in 1985, the organisation has consistently championed the rights of women, and has been a strong advocate of the Domestic Violence Bill, until it was passed into law.

Rutendo Chirimuuta (35) from Dzandura communal lands in Seke said her community had benefitted much from Famwz initiatives. "There are many disadvantages when you reside in the rural areas. Information is not readily available and the majority of us cannot afford newspapers, let alone access electronic or social media," she said.

"The government enacts new laws that are supposed to benefit us as citizens, but we are ignorant of them because no information cascades to us. It is through organisations such as Famwz that we get to know of them," she said.

Even students are testifying to the efforts by Famwz to boost access to information in marginalised communities.

"When FAMWZ visited our school, many students confirmed that they had been capacitated. They brought with them brochures on how we can improve and develop our area as youths," said, Tendai Shenguro, a student at a school in Seke communal lands.

He lamented the exclusion of rural youths from programmes that promote access to mass media and other sources of information.

"The assumption that once an issue has been discussed or communicated in the mainstream media, everyone has been notified or has participated, is wrong because the majority of rural youths do not have access to the mainstream media," he said. 

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