THEME: ONLINE ORGANISING Fiona Gandiwa Magaya

Fiona Gandiwa Magaya is the Coordinator of the Gender Department for the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Zimbabwe

Where are you working at the moment?

From home in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Has your work been strongly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic?

Yes, very strongly.

How has it been impacted?

I am working from home and cannot do certain work that requires face-to-face interactions with workers, like workshops and workplace education and study circles.

How have you managed these changes?

We are having meetings and communications via Zoom and other social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Twitter and Facebook.

What are the challenges?

A significant part of our membership cannot afford the data or Wi-Fi to connect to these platforms.

Also when communicating online the time is limited because of data costs, hence the discussions have to be precise.

Does this change the way you operate and plan, and how? What are you doing differently?

We are doing everything to ensure we get information to our members through all the social platforms, and also through radio programmes, so we can reach many people.

Can you give us some examples of positive aspects of your work at the moment? Are there good things that have happened?

We have more of our members now, at least those who have access to the internet. We have also joined online education programmes offered by such institutions like the ILO and IFWEA. This is positive and a good foundation for ZCTU to introduce its own online education programmes.

Our campaign against GBV and for the ratification of ILO C190 has been powerful through radio programmes and lobbying. Communities are reaching out to us and people are beginning to show consciousness, with many reporting violence.

What advice and support do you have for others?

My advice is that as organisations we need to embrace change and adapt to new ways of doing things which is now the “New Normal”.  Let us enhance our skills on how to conduct online meetings, practice online education, and adapt to new technology.

Let us also share best practices and experiences on issues affecting us as workers. And above all, let us inform our people on the pandemic and prevention measures and let us stay safe.