Meet Sisasenkosi Mataruse

Sisasenkosi Mataruse
Sisasenkosi is passionate about advocating for substantive and effective women’s political participation. She holds a master’s degree in politics from Rhodes University in South Africa and an honors degree in political science. Through her project Women Engage Community Organizing Initiative, she is currently working with women on combating gender stereotypes faced by women political leaders, women political aspirants and general women and girls’ issues in her community in Seke Rural and Chitungwiza in Zimbabwe. In 2019 she was awarded the Andrew Mellon Scholarship. In 2021 she was awarded a fellowship with Accountability Lab Zimbabwe and successfully completed the 2021 President Obama’s Young African Leader’s Initiative South African Cohort. She aims to be an established force for gender equality in Zimbabwe and beyond.

“Women Engage Community Organizing Initiative is a community-based project in Chitungwiza (Seke Rural) in Zimbabwe launched in 2020 which focuses on women’s civic engagement at the local government level. The project aims to address the underrepresentation of women in governance structures by promoting women’s civic engagement at community levels and influencing policy formulation. The project provides women with safe spaces where they can engage in their local communities in order to inform governance and enhance accountability and transparency while addressing issues that affect women e.g., political representation, healthcare services, and a corruption-free environment where women can thrive in their small businesses at the local level among other key issues, particularly in order to better navigate the covid-19 affected systems.

The project specifically targets SDG goals 1, 3, 5, 11 and 16. Working from grassroots levels, starting from the family unit, and the rest of the social structures through participative civic engagement, the project is changing the traditional beliefs that women who participate in politics are either prostitutes or wayward women. This initiative emphasizes and illuminates that since women are the backbone of society, they belong in political leadership and should be encouraged and supported to participate in decision-making to improve their communities. The project is triggering a broader conversation and acceptance of equality for women and girls”.