The Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust (Culture Fund) is a non-partisan catalytic Zimbabwean arts and culture service not-for-profit institution founded in 2006 with an initial endowment from the Swedish Government. It has supported over 1,000 projects targeting cultural agents from all over Zimbabwe serving as an active transformative agent for the creative landscape; strengthening capacities to improve livelihoods and fostering new perspectives; re-imagining the representations of Zimbabwean lives, places, institutions and cultural practice.
The Culture Fund envisages societies where there is harmonious coexistence, respect and the upholding of the fundamental human, cultural and socio-economic rights. Diversity, freedom of expression and association underpin an inclusive society that is a precondition for the full development of the human capacity to realise its true potential. Society has to embrace gender differences and work to foster gender equality by addressing the relations between men and women. The Arts and Culture medium are a viable instrument to contribute to the attainment of the vision of transformation as it is a great influencer of mindsets, beliefs and behavior. In realising this approach, the Culture Fund has identified 3 pathways that work and will aid in realising the desired outcome; Free Expression; Gender Equality and Rights & Freedoms.These 3 pathways are essential to facilitating lasting social cohesion, peace and poverty reduction.
Free Expression Pathway
Culture Fund believes that citizens who are free to express themselves enjoy full life and enhance democracy and development. Building and strengthening creative platforms provides artists with opportunities to act as progressive agents by influencing debates and dialogue on pertinent issues. This process engages the broader society to reflect on issues and act on them. The underpinning rationale is that broad participation by Zimbabweans foments the creation and sustenance of a cohesive and peaceful society. Platforms for expression assist the development agenda and are not an end in themselves within this particular intervention. Free Expression is a fundamental and democratic right as enshrined in the Zimbabwean constitution through the Bill of Rights. Essentially, the Arts become a vehicle for the attainment of societal progress.
Gender Equality Pathway
The Expression pathway only delivers true meaning when women find a voice and space to explore their full potential. The Gender Equality pathway is first and foremost a matter of human rights. The Culture Fund subscribes to the United Nations premise that views Gender equality as a goal in itself and as a vehicle for accelerated sustainable development. This pathway advocates for equal rights for both women and men, combating discriminatory practices and norms that perpetuate such and entrench stereotypes. It talks to addressing structural inequalities and empowerment. The Culture Fund believes that the other gender notion of equity helps to level the playing field by acknowledging the differences between men and women, taking into account historical and social imbalances. The underlying assumption is that empowered women play a significant role within communities. When women fully participate and control their destinies they contribute to lasting development and reduce poverty in the process.
Rights & Freedoms Pathway
For the Free Expression and Gender Equality pathways to be possible, effective and sustained, a culture of human rights is critical. Realistic and sustainable change is buttressed by ensuring that all fundamental rights are realised. This facilitates the full participation of people especially women in political, economic, social and cultural life. The intervention is predicated on the full translation of paper rights into lived experiences of which,a full complement is provided for in the Zimbabwe. This is evident when people know their rights, assert and exercise them as they contribute to national development.The Arts are an important vector for ensuring that rights based development approaches are better able to influence national development processes. Because the Culture Fund and its implementation associates work within society and communities, they use the Arts to facilitate broader rights awareness and freedoms in Zimbabwe.
In the new Culture Impacts Programme, the Culture Fund partners with the Swedish Government through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Danish Government through the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the European Union (EU) Delegation in Harare.