Tendai Rupapa in Tehran, Iran
First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa said her charitable arm, Angel of Hope Foundation, is ready to work with sister organizations and companies in Iran to travel the country advocating for programs that help educate women to achieve their empowerment goals.
She made the remarks during a meeting with Iran’s Vice President for Family and Women’s Affairs Dr. Ensieh Khazali and her delegation made up of women from the private and public sectors.
Dr Mnangagwa is in Iran at the invitation of the First Lady of the Islamic State, Dr Jamileh Alamolhoda.
To kick off the proceedings, Dr Khazali introduced her delegation to Dr Mnangagwa and said she felt honored to meet her.
“In the name of God, first and foremost Madam, First Lady of Zimbabwe, it is an honor to have you here. Islamic Republic of Iran and we have discussed very important issues.
“Today I have asked my friends and colleagues including those in my department to be here and discuss different issues with you so that we have a concrete outcome and agreement on women empowerment and girls,” she said.
Dr. Mnangagwa expressed her gratitude to her hosts for inviting her and for the hospitality she and her delegation receive from the Iranian government.
She chronicled the various interventions she was carrying out across the country to alleviate the plight of vulnerable members of the community.
“As the First Lady of Zimbabwe, I work hard to improve the lives of our women and girls. I encourage women to work hard and lead the way they want their families to go. All the women in my country have integrated the advocacy and the training that I provide to them through my foundation.
“Given the relationship between the two countries, as women, we should have strong ties between us and have training and empowerment exchange programs for these vulnerable groups.
“Iran is advanced, so I wish my people in Zimbabwe to receive knowledge and skills from you thanks to the good relations between the two countries.
“In our country we say ‘if you educate a woman, you have educated the whole nation’ because women are hard workers, women want to see results, women don’t give up on their children. I am training young children from an early age to know that if you are a girl and you become a woman, how do you take care of yourself? How do you dress? How do you communicate? she says.
Amai Mnangagwa said she empowers women and intends to ensure they exercise financial discipline.
“Yeah, they’re fine, but we’re saying we need to see more projects come out of the projects I’m starting for them. They must exercise self-discipline in managing their finances.
“Last night when I went to dinner in my honor, I saw beautiful rugs hand-woven by women here. By working together as women, they create relationships and that brings unity and development in the communities, so that good working relationship between them is very important,” she said.
Assistant Vice President for Strategic Programming at the Ministry of Women and Family Affairs, Dr. Leila Zaferanchi spoke about the status of women in Iran and their experiences.
“We have women who have succeeded in the academic, economic and political fields. We still have a long way to go to reach the optimum level as women. I believe that the experience over the years in some countries, especially our country, can help our two countries to have synergies,” she said.
One of the women, Dr Sayyedeh Fatemeh Mousavi, spoke on the issue of oppressive sanctions imposed on Iran and Zimbabwe and how they affect women.
“These sanctions mainly affected the institution of families. In my opinion, women and children suffer the most. The sanctions affect them heavily,” she said.
One of the women said she was willing to help Zimbabwe in designing, manufacturing and producing products of interest to women.
“We can organize workshops to help your women who produce goods and find markets for them to export their finished products,” she said.
“We can help them with state-of-the-art equipment to use during value editing. We should actually find ways to work together. We need to help women in different areas and identify the social prejudices women face.
“They need to be self-sufficient, hence the need to create safe working environments for them. We are happy that you are doing a lot in Zimbabwe through your foundation to protect and empower women.
Ms. Chipo Zishiri from the Zimbabwean Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development (Department of Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services), who is part of the First Lady’s delegation, told the Iranians that women in Zimbabwe were very involved in agriculture. .
“Women in Zimbabwe are very involved in agriculture and they are doing very well in this field. They have so many success stories to tell. She works with various women in the field of agriculture that they help in particular former ladies of the night so that they live a normal life.
However, they have a challenge where they only depend on rainfall, but due to climate change, there are erratic rains, so there is a need to put irrigation systems in place,” she said.
Dr Mnangagwa chimed in, giving a detailed account of what she was personally doing on her Angel of Hope Foundation farm to increase production.
“We got into horticulture at Angel of Hope Foundation Farm. I want to set an example and show women that we can also do it and get involved in the agricultural sector.
“I want to express my willingness to work with sister organizations and businesses to strengthen the foundation and help our women and youth so that we achieve our goals,” she said.
Ms Mantissa Mazoyo from the Agricultural Engineering Mechanization and Rural Development Department of Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development said Zimbabwean women were hard working and producing crops and livestock in different agro-ecological regions.
“Our statistics show that women have a higher production per unit area than men. So in terms of crops, our country has been affected by climate change and variability and so in terms of production, I see an opportunity between Iran and Zimbabwe in the areas of climate proofing technologies, in areas of crop varieties that are drought tolerant so that we can increase production and also animal species compatible with our environment and also in irrigation areas like drip irrigation to counter the effects of climate change “, she said.
Iranian businesswomen also shared their success stories.
Dr. Mahnaz Arablou, a businesswoman, said she has businesses in many countries.
“I have 28 years of export experience. I have one of the best companies teaching women skills in different fields. I mentored and educated women.
“We also export traditional Iranian medicines to other countries, this too can be done in Zimbabwe after training women there in traditional medicine production and providing the necessary equipment and machinery to be able to extract the medicine.
“Zimbabwe and Iran are under sanctions and importing drugs can be difficult and expensive, but if we learn how to make our own, we will succeed. We can have more synergies with Zimbabwe,” she said.
Similar sentiments were shared by Mrs. Raziyeh Jalili, goldsmith, who has won a gold medal in jewelry design internationally.
“I participated in international jewelry platforms. I am the first woman to win this medal because I wanted to show my fellow Iranians that they can do it. I want to transfer my skills to my compatriots in Zimbabwe.
“We can teach and educate young people. Vocational training is important for women to be empowered. We will certainly support our friends in Zimbabwe. There is great potential in Zimbabwe.
“We can also provide women in Zimbabwe with equipment for gold exploration so that after teaching them about value addition, they can export and support themselves. We are ready to cooperate with Zimbabwe,” she said.
Among the women was Mrs Atefeh Musuvi, who makes equipment to detect climate change and said she was willing to set up a factory in Zimbabwe.
“We can set up a factory in Zimbabwe and set up a satellite so we can see your weather and build models to predict frequent weather conditions so that women in agriculture can plan their farming based on those models because rainfall in Zimbabwe is erratic,” she said.
“We are in IT and we have the best security software products that can help women in various fields as the world goes digital.”