RWI has contributed to strengthening institutional capacities for human rights education and research at Zimbabwean universities since 2016. This has been done through teachers training, curricula and library development, literature, publication support and scholarships.
RWI collaborates with institutions that include the College for Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University, the Faculty of Law at Midlands State University, the Herbert Chitepo School of Law at Great Zimbabwe University, the Faculty of Law at University of Zimbabwe, the Faculty of Law at Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University and the Council for Legal Education.
Clinical Legal Education
As part of RWI’s cooperation with academic institutions in Zimbabwe, clinical legal education (CLE) programmes have been supported since 2016. RWI provides direct and targeted advice to academic partner institutions to strengthen their capacity to provide clinical legal education.
Cooperation with the universities’ law clinics has led to an increased use of clinical legal education, which is an important tool for teaching human rights through experiential learning. Students are given the chance to practically apply human rights at law clinics during the course of their studies. Clinical outreach activities also contribute to access to justice for marginalised and vulnerable persons including women and children.
Mentorship and advise at law clinics have informed the development of repositories that include a first Zimbabwean Law Clinicians Manual, developed in cooperation with partner institutions. This teacher manual provides an introduction to the concept of clinical legal education, how to organise it and how to run a university-based law clinic. Support to law clinics has also resulted in the foundation of the Zimbabwean Association of University-based Law Clinics, a platform for cooperation and exchange between the clinics.
Guest lectures and mentorship by RWI professors and senior researchers at academic partner institutions have contributed to increased institutionalisation of human rights education.
Winter School on Human Rights
The Winter School on Human Rights is a two-week collaborative human rights course for students from Zimbabwe and Sweden. The five participating institutions rotate the hosting of the winter school. The course provides students with an opportunity to study and learn human rights. It has also been designed to cater for development of knowledge and skills among teachers on human rights-based teaching methodologies and course design/implementation.
The methodologies are also relevant for the development of other educational activities at the respective institutions.
Interactive sessions that include panel discussions, study visits, debate competitions and role-plays on human rights contribute to increased understanding of human rights among participating students, reinforcing the theoretical concepts.
Read about James Tapiwanashe Trevor, one of the students receiving a scholarship allowing him to participate in the Master in Human Rights, Peace & Development at the Africa University, Mutare, Zimbabwe.
IHL Moot Court
RWI in cooperation with ICRC supports the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Moot Court Competition to increase opportunities for Zimbabwean students to study humanitarian law.
Africa University Human Rights Master Programme
RWI supports Africa University’s master programme in human rights, peace and development through scholarships. The scholarships to study the master programme increases opportunities for Zimbabweans to study human rights.
National Research Symposium
The national symposium aims to increase availability and accessibility of high-quality human rights research products in Zimbabwe.
From 2016, 63 academically sound individual and joint research papers and policy briefs have been produced and presented at the annual national symposia. During the national symposia, researchers present and discuss with the public the result of their research, highlighting their concrete recommendations to policy-makers regarding the realisation of SDGs and implementation of human rights in Zimbabwe.
The research papers and policy briefs focused on key aspects of human rights namely: human rights and sustainable development; human rights implications of social, political, economic and legal responses to the Covid-19 pandemic; Covid-19, gender and human rights and devolution and the promotion of human rights in Zimbabwe.
The human rights methodology workshop and mentorship of researchers during the course of their writing has improved knowledge on human rights research methodologies, as well as increased opportunities to exchange information, experiences, and best practices and engage in joint research, for Zimbabwean researchers.
Human Rights Research Academies
RWI supports capacity development for Zimbabwean researchers through human rights research methodology trainings in the form of human rights research academies. The research academies have targeted junior academics, as well as human rights practitioners in state institutions, CSO representatives and staff of independent commissions. Participants in these activities have increased their research capacities to plan, design and develop academic as well as applied human rights research.
RWI provides support to library development in the form of acquisition of human rights material, including on gender equality, for libraries and documentation centres, primarily at the academic partner institutions. The literature promotes human rights research and education that is both up-to-date and of sound quality. In 2021, the provision of e-resources to academic partner libraries was particularly important during the lockdowns resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Students, teachers and researchers had access to human rights material electronically and were able to continue with research, educational activities and lecturing despite the lockdowns.
A testimonial from a student of one of the academic partner institutions helps to illustrate this:
“The EBSCO eBooks have been effective in assisting me to access information both on campus and off campus. The eBooks have been instrumental during the COVID-19 lockdown period when I could not access the physical Library. Furthermore, the eBooks have helped to overcome barriers like competition for limited hardcopies of textbooks.”
Selected Aspects of the 2013 Zimbabwe Constitution and the Declaration of Rights
This human rights anthology was first published in 2019, distributed online and in hard copy to a broad range of actors, including government ministries, independent commissions, justice sector institutions, academia, CSOs and participants in RWI’s training activities.
The book has served to inform human rights research and education as well as court decisions and is a tool that is being utilised by many stakeholders in Zimbabwe in their day-to-day work to give life to the human rights provisions contained in the 2013 Constitution.
The Judiciary and the Zimbabwean Constitution
The anthology which was completed in 2021 was spearheaded by three editors from the faculty of law at University of Zimbabwe (UZ), in close cooperation with RWI. The anthology will be useful to a number of stakeholders in Zimbabwe in relation to key human rights aspects pertaining to the judiciary and the Zimbabwean Constitution.