Who owns the clinic?

Gundura clinic is located in the Tongogara District of the Midlands Province. The clinic was constructed in the early 1970’s and in 2003 it began to get vandalised. The borehole pump, solar panel, water pump, door and window handles were stolen and subsequently replaced by the council. In 2011, the window, door handles and locks were again stolen. The vandalism was resulting in the deterioration of standards at the clinic, diminishing its ability to deliver healthcare services to the community. In September 2013, frustrated by this state of affairs, the district authorities approached CCMT with a request for intervention.

CCMT project officers held consultation meetings with various stakeholders, including community members, clinic staff, the ward health committee, district council authorities, the police and neighbourhood watch. As the story began to unfold, it became apparent that community members were not taking ownership of the clinic and regarded it as council property rather than their own. Relations within the community were strained as community members felt that the authorities and in particular the police force were not updating them of the results of investigations being carried out following the acts of vandalism. Community members also felt that youth unemployment was resulting in burglaries thus fuelling the conflict.

The intervention consisted of dialogue platforms aimed at repairing community relationships. During the meetings, it was agreed that the community needed to be reminded that the clinic belonged to them and its vandalism would disadvantage the community as a whole. This was done through the village heads and chiefs who held meetings with community members. Police representatives also attended dialogue meetings, which impressed the villagers. A local secondary school held meetings with the youth to raise awareness and discourage them from destroying community property.

Since the intervention began, there have been no burglaries at the clinic. Villagers who had stopped paying levies to the council due to mistrust have begun to do so and the clinic has been able to hire a security guard. An adult education programme aimed at improving opportunities for young people who are unemployed has also been introduced at the school where the youth meetings were held.CCMT project officers will continue to monitor the situation, however for now relationships are continuing to go from strength to strength.