Rejoice Matanga – International Volunteer Policy and Governance

Rejoice is a Policy and Governance Advisor from Zimbabwe, with a background in social studies. She worked with the women miners to stand for their rights, and with the interactive theatre and radio plays addressing womens rights, land ownerships issues, compensation,  ways for people to file complaints about human rights violations or pollution, raising awareness on the danger of empty pits and how to regreen them .   

Social Accountability Committees 

Rejoice supported the work of the social accountability committees, that were set up by Clarity. These committees consist each of 15 people from 15 different villages. During meetings in each village, people who were affected by large scale mining appointed one delegate to be the watchdog for their community and be part of the social accountability committee. People with different expertise took place in the the committees, and came together regurlarly to discuss complaints and find support by the paralegal volunteers. The committees were formalised by the governement. They commit to continuing after the end of the project, but there is no funding for transport.  

Community Scorecards assessing a health facility

Rejoice also assisted in the community assessment of the health services. One of the hospitals in the project area was lacking facilities, not transparent in charging their costs, and the only ambulance was broken. Many miners are using this facility when accidents happen in the pits, and without an ambulance it’s very difficult to get help in time.  The Clarity team trained community volunteers to engage users of the hospital in scoring the facility and its services. After publication of the results, the hospital adopted a digital registration system for bills, what makes the billing less vulnerable for corruption. With financial support from some mid-scale miners electricity was reconnected and the ambulance was repaired. They are still waiting for regional budget that was promised for freezers for the mortuary.  

International volunteering 

Rejoice has a long lasting career in the development sector, working for many different organisations. This is the second placement she is doing for VSO, and she likes the team and the program a lot.  

She sees the advantages of bringing in experts from abroad, who bring in new ideas and look with different eyes. The mining sector in Zimbabwe is comparable with Tanzania, but small scale mining is better regulated and taxed. On the other hand, she experienced that the Tanzania  governement is more open to dialogue with civil society compared with the government in Zimbabwe.