The Civic Education Network Trust (CIVNET) is an organisation working for an empowered and responsible citizenry in Zimbabwe.
It was born out of a Church and NGO voter education campaign that was instituted in March 1994 as a civil society initiative to address the national problem of voter apathy. The founders saw a lack of participation in voting as a potential source of conflict. After the 1996 election the ensuing evaluation recommended the establishment of a long-term civic education campaign to educate Zimbabweans on their rights and obligations as citizens with specific reference to issues of citizen participation, development and democracy.
Its mission is to empower Zimbabwean citizens and promote peace through participatory civic education and leadership development. The bulk of its work is in rural areas, farming communities and mining sectors.
CIVNET conducts its work through three main programmes: the Citizen Participation Programme, which incorporates the Constitution and Constitutionalism project and the Voter Education Project, the Leadership Development Programme, and the Peacebuilding Programme (PBP).
The Peacebuilding Programme helps people and communities divided by conflict reach out to each other and mend broken relationships. This is done through creatively designed workshops that provide security and safety to both victim and offender. The main focus is on political violence. The organisation trains mediators to assist in addressing local conflicts. The result is conflict transformation, which is demonstrated by improved dialogue and relations in previously divided communities. Unlike other organisations and mainstream society which follow the retributive justice system, CIVNET adopts international restorative justice systems, and incorporates them into its programming.