Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) recently organized negotiation skills training sessions held from March 27 to 29, 2019, in Chegutu, Zvishavane, and Mashava. These training sessions were led by the ZCIEA Secretary General with the aim of empowering local leaders and members to effectively engage in lobbying and advocacy efforts with local authorities, governmental bodies, and other key stakeholders at the community level. Participants were equipped with the necessary skills to address pertinent issues in a proactive manner.

A total of 100 participants (71 females, 29 males) underwent training on various aspects of negotiation, including principles of effective negotiation, negotiation procedures, strategies for overcoming obstacles in collective negotiations, negotiation tactics, and post-negotiation documentation. Notably, Councillors from Chegutu and Zvishavane, who are also active ZCIEA members, participated in the training sessions. Their presence is expected to significantly contribute towards achieving the set goal for 2019 of establishing at least forty-two Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with local authorities across Zimbabwe by the end of the year. These MOUs represent agreements between ZCIEA and all local Authorities in Zimbabwe aimed at improving the lives and working conditions of informal workers at the local authority level, including initiatives such as infrastructure development, provision of working space, reducing local authority arrests, and facilitating low-income housing projects, among others.

Participants expressed their appreciation for the training, highlighting the relevance of the skills learned and their intentions to apply them in advocacy work, businesses, and personal endeavors. Mr. Malunga mentioned the ongoing efforts to have a Person With Disability (PWD) member represent ZCIEA in the city council committee, citing a recent meeting with the Zvishavane Town Secretary, who was the acting District Administrator (DA). Mr. Malunga also acknowledged that they are awaiting feedback on this matter. Meanwhile, Mr. Sigauke emphasized how the training equipped them with negotiation tools to successfully engage with local authorities while applying these newfound skills confidently and without fear.