Stakeholder Participatory Processes and Dialogue Platforms in the Mazowe River Catchment, Zimbabwe

by Claudious Chikozho


The introduction of water sector reforms in Zimbabwe was premised on the assumption that all stakeholders would be afforded a chance to fully contribute to the reform process. Neutral dialogue platforms were also expected to be put in place in order to afford various stakeholder groups the necessary space to engage with other stakeholders and have their voices heard. The Mazowe catchment was selected as a pilot project area in which integrated water resources management approaches and principles would be introduced and tested. Among other things, the approach emphasizes improved governance of the water sector through increased stakeholder participation and decentralization of water management responsibilities from central government to catchment-based organizational structures. Relying on evidence from the Mazowe catchment and detailed research carried out in the Nyadire and Nyagui sub-catchments, this paper analyzes the stakeholder participation processes initiated and dialogue platforms created to enhance stakeholder interaction. Results of the study show that the participatory strategies and processes implemented have been generally unsatisfactory and the dialogue platforms were weakened by failure of water user boards to function and effectively engage people at the grassroots level.

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Key Wordsstakeholder participation; governance; dialogue platforms; integrated water resources management; awareness

Claudious Chikozho is a Lecturer in the Department of Development Studies at the National University of Lesotho. He teaches courses in the fields of governance, social and economic development, and natural resources management. He has carried out considerable research on community-based natural resources management in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Tanzania. He has also done research work on smallholder farmer water harvesting practices in semi-dry regions of Tanzania and South Africa. In all his research work, he has had a special focus on policies, institutions and resource governance frameworks. He also has a keen interest in issues of poverty alleviation, rural development, public sector reforms and globalization.