Reducing conflicts within rural women's self help groups in Hwange District, Zimbabwe
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The thesis examines the operations and outcomes of the Self Help Groups (SHGs) in Matetsi ward. It examines the causes of conflicts and consequences of the conflicts in the SHGs. This is achieved by adopting the conflict transformation approach. Succinctly, the theory views conflict as not necessarily destructive, but as a vehicle for change. This therefore, has implications for one’s understanding of the causes of conflicts. SHGs have been adopted by rural women so that they can work collectively to address their socio-economic problems. The study was conducted in Matetsi ward, Hwange District where conflicts within the groups were broadly detected. The information used in the study were produced from face-to-face interviews, focus group discussions, minute books and testimonials throughout field work in the designated ward. The study exposed that conflicts in the study location emanated from delays in loan repayments by SHG members. Individuals’ failure to fulfil their obligations of saving and returning loans on time created tensions which in turn resulted in conflict among the group members. The conflicts became complex and recurred due to unaddressed animosity, fear and anger, resulting in frustrations in the groups. Conflicts in the groups also led to the collapse of some of the groups. The research findings indicated that SHGs were not only sources of income for rural women, but also represented a yearning for self-sufficiency among rural women in spite of the socio-economic strife in Hwange District.