Fiona Mwashita, Progressio’s Southern Africa Regional Manager, explains how socialisation, a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behaviour, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position, worsens the level of violence against women and girls in Zimbabwe.
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It has been a quarter well spent in 2016. Volunteering under ICS has had a huge positive impact in my life and to the youth I worked with. It has touched our economic, private and social lives. It has been a long but short journey altogether. Facing the departure of our UK volunteers made the journey longer, but weighing the benefits attained at the end of programme makes it shorter. At the end of the day, one may wish the programme to be longer than three months.
Soon after writing my final year social work exams, I applied for a Progressio ICS volunteer place, which had been advertised by a local organisation. Aware of the fact that Progressio ICS brings together young people to make a difference in their communities, I was extremely excited to finally put theory into practice through working on community projects and responding to local community needs.
In June 2016, I was given the opportunity, along with around 30 other UK volunteers, to spend 10 weeks in Zimbabwe doing HIV and AIDS related work with Progressio, under the ICS programme. We were all assigned to different areas and organisations with different projects; mine being ‘Team M.A.C’, where I worked with the Matabeleland AIDS Council, six other UK volunteers, and seven Zimbabwean volunteers, throughout Bulawayo.
Having been blessed with the amazing life changing opportunity to work with ICS in Mutasa for 12 weeks, has helped me develop so much and changed my perspective on life. I feel like I have gained so many more skills, from learning Shona to learning about Zimbabwe culture.
It all started with an enthusiastic feeling as I was so keen to meet my volunteer partners from the UK. The feeling of cross-cultural networking through working together was something I was really looking forward to. Little did I know that my ICS placement was bringing a lot of goodies with it? As a young and ambitious national volunteer, I embraced the opportunity to do well and inspire to change the world under the Progressio ICS programme.
Yooh…….it was a blazing hot Saturday morning in the heart of Cowdray Park township, right here in the City of Kings and Queens. The Themba Youth Centre was the place to be for the Annual Action Zone, a sports tournament that caters for young people from in and around Cowdray Park, and it is hosted by the Nehemiah Project (Cowdray Park Club).
Before joining ICS, I was sceptical about applying for the programme because I did not think I could work cross-culturally and in a team of different people from different backgrounds. But doubts are traitors because they make us lose the good we often might win.
Having returned from my ICS placement in Zimbabwe, I'm cycling speedily through the streets of a busy English city, surrounded by people occupying themselves with the daily rush of this urban jungle. People brush shoulders, overtake each other, their eyes glued to mobile phones and earphones securely in place to drown out the noise of the outside world. I'm left wondering how it could be that I felt so alone, when being surrounded by so many people. Perhaps it was reverse culture shock kicking in.
At the start of the year, I went to Zimbabwe with Progressio ICS for three months. Myself and five other UK volunteers lived in the village surrounding St. Matthias Primary and Secondary Schools in the Mutasa district. While there we not only worked with the students of the schools but with the people in the rest of the Mutasa area, and we did this with the help of the national volunteers, our Zimbabwe counterparts.