Plumtree Development Trust (PDT) is a Community Based Organization (CBO) registered as a trust and was formally founded in 2010. It works in Zimbabwe in areas of peace and conflict, governance, human rights, media and development, youth development and empowerment.
PDT uses gender inclusive human rights based approaches in its programming and works in Matabeleland South in Bulilima, Mangwe and Plumtree town communities. It has been working collaboratively with organisations such as Heal Zimbabwe, Ecumenical Churches Leaders Forum of Zimbabwe (ECLFZ) and Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation among others in the areas of peace and conflict. It is affiliated to and a member of the National Association of NGOs in Zimbabwe (NANGO).
From 2015 to 2016, PDT implemented a project called "Media and Peacebuilding". This project included a series of trainings and workshops in collaboration with ECLFZ on conflict sensitive reporting and journalism. The main target group were mainstream media institutions and practitioners, these being reporters and editors. This project was informed by a realisation that media in Zimbabwe exacerbate conflict through the way in which they report.
PDT believed the media often sensationalised stories and push sales through stories that lead to or worsen conflict. Such stories and reports can destroy communities and the nation instead of strengthening it. Through trainings and workshops, media practitioners understood that they can strengthen as well as destroy communities through a pen.
They realised that by penning insensitive stories, news and articles about conflict, they were contributing to hate speech, sowing seeds of division, polarising and destroying communities. After this project, the way of reporting and handling issues of conflict in the media improved. Media practitioners now understand their role regarding peace building and conflict resolution.
In 2015, we implemented a project to establish local peace committees. These are ward based community structures which are mandated by communities themselves to deal with issues of conflict at a local community level. Today, there are 40 of these committees in Bulilima, Mangwe and Plumtree town.
Since their inception, the relations within the communities across the political divide improved. The polarisation that characterised our communities has subsided and there is more cohesion and unity. In addition to this, communities now work together despite religious, political and ethnic differences as they are now valuing and appreciating diversity.
Also traditional leadership in Zimbabwe recognises this project as cases of conflict at grassroots level have drastically declined. Communities are now more determined to work towards building and sustaining peace and avoid marginal differences that lead to confrontation and conflict.
Plumtree Development Trust runs a Community Radio Station called Getjenge Community Radio which works with communities to build and sustain peace through celebration of diversity, respect of rule of law and human rights. Above all, PDT serves as community space and platform in order to articulate and amplify community voices.