BY STYLE CORRESPONDENT
Global recognition continues to pursue Zimbabwe’s top property development entity, Craft Properties Zimbabwe, with the organisation joining corporates across the world in the United Nations gender equality programme.
According to an invitation sent to Craft Properties Holdings chief executive Kudakwashe Taruberekera, the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit will be held from June 15 to 16.
The summit will virtually convene leading voices from business, government, civil society and the UN for a global conversation about the converging crises of climate change, the Covid-19 global pandemic, worsening social and economic inequality, and unchecked corruption, offering a roadmap for a sustainable recovery.
Participants and speakers will exchange knowledge, take stock of progress, highlight areas for greater influence, and inspire collective action to make lasting change.
Responding to the latest development, Taruberekera said the invitation was important for Craft Properties because gender equality issues had to be taken seriously for the development of society.
“The invitation is equally important for me as an individual because society needs to understand the importance of gender equality whether in business or our daily lives,” Taruberekera said.
“I am more excited to participate given the fact that here in Zimbabwe I am also involved in programmes to do with women’s welfare.
“I am a board member and advisor to the Padare/Enkundleni Men’s Forum on Gender that works with government and other arms like the Zimbabwe Republic Police to promote gender equality.
“Padare/Enkundleni Men’s Forum on Gender deals with issues to do with gender equality, welfare of girl child and eradication of child marriages.”
He said the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit will empower organisations with tools to engage in accelerated learning opportunities and develop tailored action plans and build a network of peers, UN partners and experts to support gender equality strategies.
Taruberekera said participating in the programme was not only important for him and Craft Properties, but for Zimbabwe as a country as it is an opportunity to tell the world about the country’s gender equality initiatives.
He said the Zimbabwean government has policies ensuring gender equality even in tertiary institutions.
Taruberekera said the private sector had an important role in ensuring gender equality.
“The private sector should work with government to create a national board to deal with issues of child marriages and gender-based violence,” he said.
“There should be a board of coordinators that will be responsible for creating a pool fund that will be supported by the private sector to help alleviate the effects of poverty in affected communities so as to reduce the rate of child marriages.
“The board will also be responsible for dealing with issues concerning tuition fees of children who are unable to attend school and offer them a chance to acquire a decent education.”
He said such a board may be mandated to provide housing facilities to families that are struggling to acquire decent accommodation facilities.
“The private sector should provide the necessary resources to address gender-based violence. The private sector should dedicate appropriate financial and human resources to design and implement a holistic response to build an understanding and a supportive environment,” Taruberekera said.
He also called the private sector and the police to create an improved communication system of reporting and investigating issues to do with child marriages and gender-based violence.
“This system can be created as a two-tier reporting system between the private sector and the ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police). This will enable them to create a track record of all cases that may be reported by victims of child marriages and gender-based violence.
“Some cases that are being reported to the police are taking time to be dealt with as the police maybe overwhelmed with various issues. In the end victims of child marriages maybe discouraged to report such issues to the police as they feel they may not get the justice they deserve.
“Therefore, including the private sector in the barrel will make it possible to quickly deal with issues of child marriages.”
He said the corporate world should assist in addressing gender inequality more rigorously through educational campaigns.
“The private-sector has to also reflect on their communication with all stakeholders on gender-stereotyping and perceptions that influence societal values, norms and attitudes by condemning gender-based violence and child marriages.
“The private sector should assist in creating safety nets that safeguard children from the harsh economic factors to increase community coping mechanism and resilience.
“This will definitely decrease the marrying-off of girls for economic resources and also decrease eloping among girls as there would be participants and beneficiaries in these projects.
“The private sector should also work on adopting disadvantaged children, for example, those from child-headed families, orphans and the vulnerable. This should be preceded by identifying these children in the society for possible assistance.”
Taruberekera said the private sector should initiate programmes that may address structural barriers to girls’ safety, such as marriage-related legal structures, laws, and policies.
“Improving birth and marriage registration processes, which are vital for civic access to services, enacting or enforcing minimum age of marriage laws, and closing legal loopholes around parental consent and customary laws can all work together to decrease impunity related to child marriage,” he said.
Laws which criminalise under-age marriage are not the only legal structures which can prevent and respond to child marriage-related violence, he said.
Craft Properties International is a property development company based in Kadoma, Mashonaland West province, where in 2008, it registered and grew into a giant in real estate, land and housing development to become an important stakeholder in the sector.
It has also, in the past 13 years, grown in leaps and bounds setting sights on consolidating its dominance by spreading across Zimbabwe where they have offices in Harare, Masvingo and Kadoma.
To satisfy its quest for success and development, Craft Properties International is now found in Zambia, Botswana and Namibia, with future plans set on the South African market before they cover the whole region.