EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Philippe Van Damme

EU to engage civil society, women and youth in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second capital on current affairs in the country

By Wallace Mawire

EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Philippe Van Damme
EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Philippe Van Damme

The Ambassadors of the European Union and its Member States in
Zimbabwe will meet with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), female
politicians, young entrepreneurs and key opinion makers in Bulawayo
this week to discuss current affairs, hopes and concerns.

The engagement with CSOs will assist the EU Delegation towards
updating the “EU Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society”. Initially
developed in 2014 as a dynamic and flexible tool that guides the EU
and its Member States in their engagement with Civil Society, the
Roadmap now needs to be strengthened operationally for the period
2018-2020.

The consultation in Bulawayo is one of several currently undertaken
in a number of major cities and towns in Zimbabwe in order to listen
to the challenges and opportunities identified by Civil Society, and
to incorporate their views into the updated version.

The meeting on Wednesday in Bulawayo will also provide an open
platform for exchange on current affairs with the Ambassadors from the
EU Member States.

Ambassador Philippe Van Damme, Head of the EU Delegation, said he
was looking forward to the engagement in Bulawayo: “The European Union
is a partner of people, and civil society organisations play a
fundamental role in shaping our actions. We promote and support
inclusive approaches and an open and enabling space for civil society
to play its full role as advocates and implementers of rights-driven,
pro-poor policies. This dialogue with civil society is also enshrined
in our Partnership Agreement with Zimbabwe. We will engage with local
communities and local authorities, with trade unions, with faith
leaders, with the private sector, with associations and charities.”

The European diplomats will also use the occasion of international
Women’s Day on 8 March to meet with about fifty women from all
political parties during an inter-party dialogue forum, organised by
the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development.

The Ambassadors will have the chance to engage with the female
politicians’ on the preparedness of women for the upcoming elections
and the challenges they face.

In addition, a meeting with young, digitally connected entrepreneurs
is meant to increase exposure for and awareness of Bulawayo-based
talent to the diplomatic community. The work session will be concluded
by a meeting with the local media and culture stakeholders.

The Ambassadors can be followed virtually under the usual hashtag
#EUonTour and on their respective social media accounts.

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