Musasa is a non-governmental organisation established in 1988 response to the high levels of violence against women, particularly domestic violence and the lack of support for women, in Zimbabwe. It has offices in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare. It provides shelter and a temporary place of safety for women who are in crisis.
The word 'Musasa' is borrowed from an indigenous Southern African tree (of the same name) whose bushy leaves provide shade in very hot conditions. The vision of Musasa is a society in which women do not suffer from violence and are able to fully participate in development. Its mission targets groups in society to try change and beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, laws and policies in order to end gender-based violence.
Programmes and Activities
Currently Musasa runs six programmes: Public Education & Training; Counselling/Shelter and Legal Services; Research and Information; Gender Violence & HIV/AIDS; Musasa Shelter Home; and Networking, Collaboration & Advocacy.
Musasa approaches its peacebuilding project from the point of view that Zimbabwean women have borne the brunt of the country’s long history of unresolved political differences. Musasa has documentary evidence of women having been killed, raped, displaced and tortured during political processes.
In its bid to build peace, Musasa engages policymakers and trains women in mediation and conflict resolution skills. Between 2010 and 2013 Musasa conducted a series of peacebuilding workshops in Masvingo, Midlands and Mashonaland Central, under the theme “Increasing Women’s participation in Zimbabwe’s peace-building process”. The project took into account the transitional process the country was going through, in particular the aspect of national healing. The key outcome was to have women rights activists who were trained in peace building and therefore better able to engage policymakers at local and national levels, in order to end politically motivated violence.
Musasa is a member of the Peace-building Network of Zimbabwe, and works closely with all parties interested in resolving the issues which impact negatively on women and girls. It uses UN resolution 1325 in its lobby and advocacy activities.