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Silveira House works to address structures and practices that undermine justice, peace and development in Zimbabwe. It is a Jesuit Social Justice and Development Centre, and a Catholic church-based organisation named after the first Jesuit priest to come to Zimbabwe in the sixteenth century - Gonzales da Silveira. It was founded in 1964 by Fr. John Dove SJ.
In its early years, the Centre provided a forum for discussions of strategies to counteract the social and political oppression of the colonial government. After Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, Silveira House focused more on civic education, promoting the political and economic participation of black people who had hitherto been marginalised. It also started carrying out various projects on skills training, sustainable agriculture, trade unionism and community development. In the early 2000s Zimbabwe faced a notable collapse of the economic, social and political situation which led to high unemployment, an increase in politically motivated violence, abuse of human rights, hyperinflation, shortage of basic commodities and a general dysfunction of social services and infrastructure.
Thus, Silveira House responded by initiating peacebuilding and advocacy as well as lobbying projects. It has also strengthened its civic education and vocational skills training projects.
Today, socio-economic research and political analysis are rapidly becoming the backbone of Silveira House's work. The House sees these as vital tools in identifying the problems affecting Zimbabwean communities. The research and analysis program focuses on gathering facts and evidence of the people's vulnerability to conflict as a direct consequence of the ever-falling socio-economic environment. The organisation continues to explore effective ways of addressing structures and practices that undermine justice, peace and development in Zimbabwe. It seeks to address specific problems and needs, in particular concerning democratic ideals, unemployment, poor social services, and a general uncertainty about the future.
Last updated: October 2015