The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum is a coalition of twenty human rights organisations that was formed in 1998 as a mechanism to react to the many human rights violations that arose from the food riots. The coalition over the years has become a strong network with organisations working in different human rights fields all with the aim of promoting the human rights agenda in Zimbabwe.
The vision of the Forum is pursued through three integrated pillars of human rights advocacy namely, research and documentation, public interest litigation and transitional justice. Over the years extensive research and documentation has been carried out on key thematic human rights issues, publishing of human rights violations, and production of tool for human rights education and advocacy that empower citizens with knowledge. Over the past two decades, over 240 reports have been published, over 160 human rights bulletins have been published on various human rights themes with an average circulation of 5 000 copies every month and 6 000 downloads from our website.
The Forum has also managed to reach out to marginalized communities through mobile legal clinics, pushed for reform of institutions and worked towards strong regional mechanisms for the protection of human rights. Realizing that Zimbabwe’s legacy of violence goes beyond the daily violations but goes to the roots that hold the pillars of social trust, in 2008 the Forum launched the transitional justice advocacy programme to motivate for more comprehensive redress of the root causes of violence. Through this programme, the Forum has mobilized citizens to demand transitional justice. The initiative managed to reach out to over 3189 households in the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe, opened dialogue with over 68 stakeholder organisations who went on to campaign for the establishment of independent commissions that support democracy through the constitutional reform process.
Ruwadzano Patience Makumbe is a 26-year-old human rights lawyer based in Zimbabwe. She holds a bachelor of laws honors degree from the University of Zimbabwe and the joint Erasmus Mundus Master’s degree in Human Rights Policy and Practice from universities in the Uk, Spain and Sweden. She is a Strategic Impact Litigation Specialist for the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. Prior to this Ruwadzano was a Senior Legal Researcher to the Judges in the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe. She is passionate about women and youth empowerment and is a Change Maker under the African Leadership Institute’s Project Pakati which aims to create spaces and opportunities where young people can identify synergies and collaborate, resulting in the execution of collective agendas and activities that drive the African developmental agenda forward. She is a facilitator and mentor under the Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust’s flagship Women Rise and Excel Program. Ruwadzano is a board member of Youth Engage a network for young people from the ages of 15 to 35 who are living with, affected by and/or wanting to be involved in the response to HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe. Her areas of expertise are law, human rights and development policy in Africa. She has authored and published peer reviewed articles on international human rights law. Ruwadzano has been an influential voice in various spaces shaping the African agenda including the SOAS Governance for Development in Africa Initiative, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Next Generation Forum and Common Purpose Future Leader Experience, London. She implemented various projects under the Ford Foundation’s Young Women’s Leadership Project in the SADC region, which focused on promoting young women’s agency on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues particularly in tertiary institutions. Following the huge impact of her advocacy work and engagement with various stakeholders she was selected by SAYWHAT Organization and the African Women’s Development Fund to be a Sexual and Reproductive health rights Defender in Southern Africa (2014/2015). Ruwadzano has also worked in law firms and research institutions in Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom which experience has motivated her passion to strategically develop solutions for pressing societal issues.
Thobekile Matimbe is a human rights lawyer working at Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum as an Advocacy Specialist. Her passion is transforming communities through impactful policies that uphold human rights. Thobekile is the Board Chairperson at Emthonjeni Womens Forum which promotes a gender based violence free society. She is also a Regional Advisory Board Secretary for the Mandela Washington Fellowship. I am looking for growing my networks in empowering communities and being of meaningful contribution.