The Zimbabwe Economic Policy and Research Unit (ZEPARU) was established in 2004 with the objectives of building sustainable human and institutional capacity for economic policy research and analysis, conducting needs-based and contextually relevant applied economic policy analysis and research that feeds into the policy making process and to serve as an economic knowledge bank from which stakeholders may obtain information and advice on best practices in economic policy. ZEPARU is registered in Harare, Zimbabwe under the Deed of Trust and operates at national and regional levels. ZEPARU is also governed by a clearly set mission and vision. The mission statement of ZEPARU speaks on undertaking customer-driven research and capacity building activities to promote a culture of evidence-based policy making and implementation processes in Zimbabwe. The long-term vision of the organisation is to become the leading centre of excellence in economic policy research and analysis in Zimbabwe. The vision and mission are collectively set by the whole organisation, including founder(s), Board of Trustees, and senior management.To achieve its set objectives, ZEPARU undertakes:
- research/knowledge generation,
- policy analysis and advocacy,
- hosting and attending convening/dialogue(s), and
- engaging in collaboration/partnership with like organisations.
In place within ZEPARU are policies such as Human Resources and Staff Development, IT, Conflict of Interest and a Child Protection policy. To help the organisation stay on track as well as track internal issues, ZEPARU undertakes financial audits, annual external audits, IT systems audit, skills audit, review of programs.
A Board of Trustees governs the organisation which is run by an Executive Director with supporting staff that include a Finance Director/Manager, Accountant as well as Research Fellows, a librarian as well and an Outreach Officer.
ZEPARU has a laid down strategy jointly developed by the internal team, the management, and an external consultant. Areas of focus as determined by the strategy are Inequality, Economic Justice/Governance, Gender and Women’s rights, Rural Development, Health, and Youth.
1. Social Justice
Social policy focus relates to
- research and advocacy for improved access in respect of social policy in the following areas education; health; and food security. Social policy focus also includes infrastructure, health and education financing.
Under Inequality, focus is on
- Research and advocacy for improved access,
- and development of alternative policy options and models around a wide array of issues, namely poverty and income distribution; models of economic development; government effectiveness; welfare systems; drivers of inequality: trade regimes; drivers of inequality: illicit financial flows; and drivers of inequality: tax regimes.
Under the Democracy theme, ZEPARU’s work is confined to
- research, advocacy for improved access, and development of alternative policy options and models around local government reforms/ effectiveness.
4. Economic Justice
Economic Justice/Governance’s focus is on
- research, advocacy for improved access, and development of alternative policy options and models on public budget analysis; financial inclusion; anti-corruption; natural governance (mining, wildlife, fisheries, forestry); informal sector and SMME development/support; macroeconomic recovery, reform and management, regional trade and integration.
5. Rural Development
Under ‘Rural development’ focus is on
- research, advocacy for improved access, and development of alternative policy options and models on issues of land reforms, agrarian reforms, rural livelihoods, rural associations, local government reforms, and enhancing participation in local/national processes.
In the past two years, ZEPARU has implemented the following programmes: Mining Sector Studies under the Governance and Institutional Strengthening Project (GISP); Development of Training Modules for Parliamentary Committees; and Blending Infrastructure Finance. The first project was funded by a bilateral development partner with a duration of 24 months while the other two projects were funded by private local individuals and had a duration of six months.
ZEPARU has produced numerous knowledge products. In the last three years, the organisation has produced a regular newsletter, monographs, book chapters, books, and blogs. Between one and 12 of these were produced over the three-year period. In addition, over 12 policy briefs/insights and more than 24 reports were also produced. ZEPARU carries out desktop research, field surveys, and policy research. These are mostly conducted internally, by research fellows who are not full-time staff members of the organisation. The organisation disseminates its research through the website, official launches, circulation through email list servers, exhibitions and conferences, social media (Facebook and Twitter alerts), and engagement meetings. In the last three years, ZEPARU has held more than 5 convenings with CSOs, NGOs, embassies, business sector, government, political parties, and donor agencies. Over the same period, ZEPARU staff attended more than 20 workshops organised by CSOs, embassies, business sector, government, political parties, donor agencies, general citizens. In addition, ZEPARU convened more than 15 dialogues, held 10 book launch events, and made more than 15 presentations at public meetings with CSOs, NGOs, embassies, business sector, government. It also had more than 20 targeted memos/meetings with policy makers as well as CSOs, NGOs, embassies, business sector, and government; over 20 public written media (newspaper posting); five to 10 TV appearances on policy-related research; and between one and five radio appearances on policy-related research.ZEPARU carries out policy advocacy, seeking to influence policy at the local (community/municipality), national, and sub-regional (e.g. SADC, COMESA) levels. Advocacy actions include the preparation of policy briefs to support policy positions, analysing and communicating policy gaps and suggestions on new models, engagements with policy makers, and mobilising network(s) seeking policy change. The Executive Director oversees all advocacy engagements.
Constituency, Movement Building, and Collaboration
The work that ZEPARU does benefits
- the local community,
- local NGOs
- international NGOs,
- social movements,
- government departments,
- think tanks with technical expertise,
- multilateral agencies (e.g. UN agencies), and
- specific special interest community such as farmers, business, SMEs, and the disabled.
Benefits realised by the beneficiaries include training support, use of evidence that ZEPARU generates for policy advocacy, preparation of alternative policy positions by ZEPARU, and use of ZEPARU’s online materials in developing their programs. ZEPARU’s work beneficiaries contributed to the organisation’s strategy or focus areas by helping in the establishment of the organisation, participating in the strategy making process, suggesting areas of focus, and being involved in mapping the problems the organisation focuses on. Some of the beneficiaries also fund ZEPARU’s work.ZEPARU collaborates with other organisations in joint implementation in similar projects, providing research-based evidence to advocacy focused partners, receiving research-based evidence from research organisations, receiving and providing technical assistance. Organisations that ZEPARU collaborates with include CBOs, local NGOs, international NGOs, government departments, think-tanks with technical expertise, and multilateral agencies such as UN agencies.ZEPARU is also part of an existing network of organisations engaged in similar work. Its engagement with like organisations is at the community/local, national, sub-regional, and regional levels. Such engagements have helped ZEPARU increase the visibility of its work, enhance its effectiveness, access vital platforms, benefit from training, have access to information, as well as access to resources.
Measure of Effectiveness
The impact of ZEPARU’s work is measured by its management. The effectiveness of interventions is measured through ongoing internal monitoring, promoting feedback from partners, and the adoption by government of recommendations proffered. Documented evidence on the effectiveness of the organisation’s interventions includes external reports citing its work, written/recorded affirmation by beneficiaries, and independent evaluation reports.Through its website, ZEPARU reaches more than 10 000 people. In addition, it has 1388 Facebook followers, 382 on Twitter, and twelve YouTube subscribers. ZEPARU also engages with the media through TV appearances, radio features, newspapers, and YouTube.
|Digital Channels/Platforms||No. of People Reached||Effectiveness|
The organisation engages in fundraising and consultancy to fund its work. It also receives grants from the Government of Zimbabwe and development partners. ZEPARU has a finance/funding strategy and owns immovable assets/property. It has been focusing on reducing operational costs by adopting cost containing strategies, in case it runs out of funding.
ZEPARU ranks government policies, information technology, and government legislation as the top factors that affect its work. A new business model has been adopted to respond to changes in the environment.
|Research surveys, publications/ journal articles/ Policy papers||Pathway to formation of artisinal mining|
|Books and Book Chapters|
|Policy Briefs||Fiscal trasparency and accountability policy brief|
|Blogs/ Vlogs/ Newsletters||Financial sector development and resource mobilisation as economicgrowth drivers|
|Reports (e.g. annual, bi-annual, quarterly)||The ZEPARU economic barometer Volume 20|
|Training (including training manuals)|