Pasichigare Garden Handover Ceremony

Last week Tuesday, Hand in Hand Zimbabwe (HiHZim) officially handed over a two (2) Hectare garden to Pasichigare Self Help group in Ward 7 Chikomba district, as part of the organisation’s desire to equip communities with sustainable enterprises that will in turn improve livelihoods.

This comes after Hand in Hand Zimbabwe has been actively involved in revamping the garden for the 10-member group under the auspices of its Community Upliftment Project (CUP).

Present at the handover ceremony were various stakeholders from Government line ministries and the local leadership, who commended Hand in Hand Zimbabwe for its interventions in the district.

Members of the group could not hide their joy citing that the much-needed help they received from Hand in Hand Zimbabwe through business trainings, the installation of a solar-powered borehole and the erection of a fence, had greatly aided them.

The group members, who previously struggled to earn a decent living in the semi-arid region said their lives changed for the better after getting support from the organisation.

Although the group was originally formed in 2014, their venture only began to bear fruit in 2017 when the members came into contact with HiHZim.

The organisation swiftly erected a fence and installed a solar water pump for the group when the members had completed their trainings.  Within a short space of time, the group increased production as they were no longer reliant on wells and natural rainfall, which has become erratic in the country over the last two years.

“We are grateful for the assistance we received from HiHZim. The organisation has helped us turn a dry patch of land into a viable horticultural enterprise.

“Before we had a solar pump, our production was very low because we had to use drums to ferry water to irrigate the plants from the community well,” said Veronica Mukonza, the group’s chairperson in an interview.

“We used to get as little as USD$10 per month from our produce but to date, we get up to USD$70 per month,” she said.

The group’s blossoming garden has a variety of horticultural crops such as potatoes, beans, chomolia, cucumber, onion, okra, butternut, cabbage, maize and tomatoes among others.

Veronica said on a good month the group receives a profit of USD80 from selling their crops and although they share the returns in December, part of the income is reinvested back into the business.

“Before we met Hand in Hand Zimbabwe, life was hard but now things have changed, instead of incurring costs of trying to sustain the garden, we are now making profits and our livelihoods have improved.

“The organisation has also helped us with market linkages and our crops are on high demand from local villagers, local stores and business centres,” she said.

Apart from helping members of Pasichigare garden, the installation of the solar-powered borehole has also aided the community and a local school as they can now easily access the precious liquid.

Vision beyond eyesight

Whoever came with the old adage disability does not mean inability must have had Tiritose Self-Help Group in mind.

Located in the heart of Chikomba District, Tiritose consists of nine visually impaired individuals, four males and five females, who have refused to be bogged down by lack of eye-sight. In 2019 the group started $10 savings per person every week and used this to boost their individual enterprises and help those without business ideas to come up with one.

Through their consistent savings and hard work, the group ended up having an established market stall where they sell household commodities.

In the same year group members also decided to enhance their enterprise knowledge by forging alliances with Hand in Hand Zimbabwe. The SHG underwent the HIH Zim’s Enterprise Development Modular trainings, which benefited them immensely as they realised growth in their business.

After a few months of savings, on the 8th of December, 2019 the group shared their savings for the year which had accumulated to ZWL$15000. This was after deducting expenses of coordinating an event which was graced by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development.

Having realised huge returns in 2019 the SHG began 2020 with the goal of reinvesting into their business which has resulted in Tiritose moving away from traditional way of savings to ISAL’s – a more modern and effective way of saving.

At the moment the SHG sets aside $100 each week, which is then reinvested into stock for their market. To tackle Zimbabwe’s currency crisis, the group converts their savings into South African Rands, which does not quickly depreciate like the local currency.

Such quick thinking strategy, at a time the Zimbabwean dollar is fast losing its value against major currencies, has helped the group to remain in business despite the current economic environment crisis.

The group’s immediate focus is not only to increase their stock and stay ahead of the worsening economic situation, but also to enhance members’ standards of living.

The SHG says its highly indebted to HiH Zim, for the valuable trainings and lessons.

Mr Tengede, a member of Tiritose, said he used mental and physical skills he got from HiH Zim to survive a difficult period in his life.

“My house and property were destroyed by heavy rains, which left me and my family vulnerable but from the group’s proceeds, I was able to construct a more permanent and strong structure,” he said.

“Vision is not only for the ones with sight, but for anyone who dares to dream,” Mr Tengende said.

Tiritose SHG is very grateful to HIH Zimbabwe for the organisation’s continuous moral and technical support.

“We hope to continue helping the disabled in our community and improve their lives through entrepreneurship activities. All things being equal, we would like to recruit more people so that our group can grow and impact society with much more sustained livelihoods,” Mr Tengende added.

Pasichigare group changes the face of Chikomba District

Pasichigare group members in Chikomba District has achieved the impossible, transforming a dry two-hectare piece of land into a flourishing garden, thanks to Hand in Hand Zimbabwe (HiH Zim) interventions.

The 10 members, who previously struggled to earn a decent living in the semi-arid region said their lives changed for the better after getting business training and technical support from HiH Zim.

Although the group was originally formed in 2014, their venture only began to bear fruit in 2017 when the members came into contact with HiH Zim.

The organisation swiftly erected a fence and installed a solar water pump for the group after members completed their trainings.  Within a short space of time, the group increased production as they were no longer reliant on wells and natural rainfall, which has become erratic in the country over the last two years.

“Before we had a solar pump, our production was very low because we had to use drums to ferry water to irrigate the plants from the community well,” said Veronica Mukonza, the group’s chairperson in an interview.

We used to get as little as $80 per month from our produce but to date we get up to $640 per month,” she said.

The group’s blossoming garden has a variety of horticultural crops such as potatoes, beans, chomolia, cucumber, onion, okra, butternut and tomatoes among others.

Veronica said on a good month the group can sell up to 50 bundles of chomolia per week at $2 each and 9 buckets of onions at $60 each per month.

“Our crops are in high demand from local villagers as well as other people from surrounding areas. Some supermarkets in the district have also expressed interest in buying our produce,” she added.

“We are really grateful for the help we received from Hand in Hand Zimbabwe and would like to continue working with the organisation until our operations are self-sustaining. Before we met Hand in Hand life was hard; but now things have changed, instead of incurring costs of trying to sustain the garden, we are now making profits.”

Veronica said the group members are currently reinvesting their income into the business, and are hoping to share bigger profits in the coming months.

Financial independence: Striving as a small business owner

Alice Mugodoki from Dangwa village in Ward 15 Chikomba District is a proud mother as she can now afford to take her eldest daughter to University from the financial independence she has gained through the Hand in Hand Zimbabwe business and Entrepreneurship trainings.

Her life changed when she joined Hand in Hand Zimbabwe under Tashinga B Self Help Group in 2016 and went through entrepreneurship modular trainings.

Mrs Mugodoki then borrowed money to start her business from Tashinga B where 10 members of the group contribute $20 per month.

She started buying products such as soap, cooking oil, blankets and clothes from South Africa for resale in her community.

In an effort to expand her savings base she joined a second group Chika Chika where members contribute $20 per month.

Her business grew immensely and she could now afford to pay school fees for her children and cater for other monetary responsibilities in her home.

“My business has done so well, I now own a beautiful house and I no longer depend on my husband who is unemployed.

“One of the reasons which prompted me to venture into entrepreneurship was the hope of sending my daughter to university but I now do it effortlessly.

Hand in Hand Zimbabwe in its entrepreneurship modular trainings has managed to empower Mrs Mugodoki in her entrepreneurial endeavours. Module 3 on opportunity identification and Enterprise planning has helped her plan for her enterprise well and now she has started going to Harare to acquire some of her products.

Module 2 on managing money helped her to manage her monies well as she now pays school fees for her children and food in the house.

Mrs Mugodoki, attests that the entrepreneurship trainings helped her in getting more income.

“I now earn approximately $500 as compared to around $200 per month which I used to get.

“My dreams and hopes are to ensure that my children get the best education so that they can have better lives,” she said.

Ends///

Putting livelihood thinking into practice

To be successful, you have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart. It is well articulated by the graduation and business expo which was held in Ward 8 on the 21st of April 2017. They were five graduating SHGs namely: Wadzanai, Mukai, Simukai, Kushinga and Shingai. SHGs participated in this event to showcase and sell their products. The main objectives of this event were:
To present certificates of participation to SHGs in OPPORTUNITY IDENTIFICATION AND PLANNING; MANAGE YOUR ENTERPRISE MARKETING; MANAGE YOUR ENTERPRISE FINANCE.

 

Mukai Group posing for a photo after receiving their certificates

 

Shingai group

To motivate entrepreneurs within SHGs on how to market and present their products to the local available market.

Testimonies from SHG members
SHGs members thanked Hand in Hand Zimbabwe for their support in entrepreneurship and technical skills they offered them for their development. The groups indicated that the traditional knowledge and talents they had has been developed to create useful skills as indicated above to improve their livelihoods at household and community level.
Mr Kwaramba from Kushinga SHG testified that at first he had a negative attitude towards the HiH programme offered. Later on he then decided to pay a visit on one of the training sessions offered by HiH, by listening attentively he came to appreciate and started practising the concepts to his benefit. He further indicated that if it was not for the trainings received he would not have been to where he is today. To date he managed to invest in his livestock and he managed to build a homestead. He also explained that the programme has lowered domestic violence because their living standards has improved through the equal participation of both parts in financial involvement which reduced dependency syndrome.

Mrs Ruvinga from Mukai SHG thanked HiH team for their support and motivation in improving their living standards in job creation so as to alleviate poverty. She explained that it is because of the trainings she received that made her venture into different enterprises to support her family and not only to wait on her husband’s support. However, she asked the team to come with other refresher courses because she indicated that learning is a process and it will enable the group to advance further.

 

The DA present thanked the organisation on its effort to support the government in helping community people by offering entrepreneurship skills which will advance their lives and improve the national economic blue print “ZIMASSET”. He explained that the method used by the organisation is permanent because it emphasises on individuals to be empowered in their socio-economic capacities.

 


Compiled by: Hazel Mhembere
Chikomba Field officer

The Greening of a formerly defunct garden: Midas touch to mobilization

Ward 17, Chirambadare Village is the centre of attraction for Batanai Garden, formerly defunct, and comprising of eleven members, 8 women and 3 men. The group was mobilized in 2017 and is currently saving as little as a $1-00 a month whilst contributing towards buying inputs for their group project. The nutritious group garden was primarily obsolete, until such a time the Enterprise Development Facilitator was instructed to renew interest with the garden and group by the field officer. Starting as a journey into the unknown waters, the group members indicated gross absence of the core values of group strengthening spelt out in Module 1, Group Formation and Strengthening. Upon mobilization, the group members were taken through an in depth training about the benefits of belonging to a group enclosed within the organization’s model. History has it that the group garden used to produce for the local community beyond to Chivhu township, as well as boarding schools dotted around the district. Life has been restored within the garden and the group members are now proud owners of a greening garden.

Before the re-ignition of the relationship of the garden with the organization, the members used to plant maize on a season basis ordinarily divorcing the garden from its intended function. Being a recipient of the whole security fence from the Swedish Co-operative and Development and sporadically saving and lending within the Hand in Hand Zimbabwe Enterprise Development Model, it became an intricate interest for the district staff to resuscitate the defunct garden. Group members generally had lost hope and interest with the garden and a good number were no longer participants. The few interested only in doing maize farming remained actively planting in an already enclosed garden perimeter that does not allow entry by animals and livestock.

The desire for positive impact, provision of basic nutritious food and the drive towards fortification of food as the major pillars of food security to eradicate poverty within groups and communities prompted the need to re-do and adopt the garden. An intuitive art of re-mobilizing the group was inculcated to the EDF Mrs R Zimbango who carbon copied everything in the quest to bring the members together. The members complied and were taught on the essence of ownership and empowerment by the Field Officer and sporadically agreed in principles. The pursuant visits by the team ignited some hope in some of the group members and they concurred to resuscitating the now defunct garden. With the motherly love, the elderly grannies and uncles started to feel inclined in following what we taught them and agreed to contribute a dollar towards purchasing of seed for the initial planting with the EDF donating some of her own seed to the group for nursing.

To date the garden is now 50% green with members already putting in place plans to cover the whole garden area with plants ranging from butter nuts, potatoes, green vegetables and other garden fruits. Tomatoes and rape vegetables are the major crops so far that the members have put to the ground. Pictures below shows the garden status to date:

 

Above: Part of the garden vegetable

 

 

Above: Chikomba Intern M. Pfumojena inspecting the quality of the vegetables

 

Before engagement with Hand in Hand Zimbabwe.

The sorry state of the garden was generally an eye-sore to all and sundry with some interested local people wanting to evict the sole beneficiaries. Almost about to lose grip of the garden, group members held onto it primarily doing a parallel to the garden’s intended use. Local people around raised concern that the permanently secured garden was hardly in use, hence, should be given to self-driven hardworking individuals willing to improve the community’s problems of acquiring vegetables and other garden products. Their argument held water due to the fact that the desolate piece of land differed in other bush and branch fenced garden which were better used unlike a secured one not hardly made use of.

 

View from the whole garden area

The whole garden area is approximately close a hectare of arable land in wetlands. This enables the group to easily draw water from the shallow wells they have dug for watering. These shallow wells are placed in the middle of the garden for easy access of all the garden members. Although the water sources are not perennial, members intimated that they hardly lack for their crops but were of the opinion that if they get a permanent source of irrigation water, then it will be a very good positive to the group.

 

 

Challenges

The major challenges the group is facing currently is of establishing a resounding market where they can sell their vegetables. Plans were afoot with the organization to try and link them with Supermarkets such as Spar, Pick n Pay as well as vendors from within Chivhu Township. To date, they have not made any significant inroads towards establishing a one stop market, rather, they rely on the common market where all and sundry just come and buy for the day. More so, the absence of money in circulation and liquidity crunch has worsened the group’s quest for maximizing on their garden returns. Rather, the group is mooting an idea to resort to barter trade but with no significant backing on where to market proceeds from the barter trade exercise.

With the water table rapidly fluctuating, the only sources of water for their garden is dwindling at a very fast rate and will prompt to a catastrophic situation if a lasting solution is not put in place. Further to the above, the knock on effects of absence of a secure source of water made the group to fear utilizing the whole garden area with fear that their crops won’t reach maturity.

Recommendations

  1. That the group be assisted through the Community Upliftment Fund and secure a permanent source of water for their garden
  2. That market linkages be put in place where the group can easily supply and replenish the supplies with time
  3. That the group be trained in Technical skills, namely Food Processing, as a value addition concept to easy the market problem
  4. That the group members be handheld by the organization for a prolonged period to easy chances of losing interest with the Horticulture project and the organization’s Saving and Lending model
  5. That expertise in the Horticulture calendar be brought about to assist the group members have a wide range of crops that suits the market all year round.

 

Compiled by Hazel Mhembere

‘’SUCCESS AT MY DOOR STEP ‘’

NameZorodzai Bhengedza
Age38 years
SexFemale
Marital StatusMarried
District ,Ward ,VillageChikomba , 15,Maseva village
Number of HIH members9
SHGMavambo
Individual enterpriseTake away

 

The road to success is often so long and tiresome. In the world many people became business persons in order to escape from the jaws of rampant poverty.  Entrepreneurship has become the answer  and only alternative to improve the lives and livelihoods of the people. Mrs Zorodzai Bhengedza is a good example of such people who are fighting poverty through creating their own enterprises.  She has established a TAKE-AWAY business in Maseva village of ward 15. Years passed as she ignored her talent of preparing best meals. In 2017 she was visited by the HIH team, which brought good news to her and she managed to join other women and formed a SHG named Mavambo meaning To Begin. The SHG consist of 7 females 2 males. As a group they were trained on Internal savings and lending,  how to start, develop and sustain a business. They started contributing $10 per member which they loan to start their various enterprises and return at an interest of 10%. As one of Mavambo SHG group member she managed to secure an internal loan of $80 which she combined with her personal savings and started the canteen.

 

Zorodzai’s Take Away

Zorodzai at work in her Take away. Life has never been the same for her and her family

After receiving trainings from Hand in Hand  she then married theory (what she was taught by the Hand In Hand team) with practice by starting her own enterprise. At the age of 38 she realized there was so much she had not done. One thing she realized, was she could cook and she could do it better than everyone else around her. Now she realised that she has what it takes to be successful and it’s never too old to dream as she is making a difference and enhancing people’s lives. As she has now created employment for two individuals who assist her in fetching water and cutting firewood for her business.

The Picture below shows Mrs Bhengedza’s take away and people enjoying their delightful meals served at the Take Away. Her meals coast $1 per plate and on average Zorodzai’s total sales amount to $10 per day. Thus $300 per month. She sales a variety of dishes which include chicken roast, chicken stew, beef bones, vegetables, potatoes roast, coleslaw, rice and sadza.

 

 

 

Hand in Hand Team enjoying a meal at Zorodzai Take away

Technical Skills Training marinated with a productive exchange visit

The desire to be fish farmers by Self Help Groups in ward 7 prompted the Chikomba district staff to pencil training for the concerned groups on the 14th September 2014. The training, however was facilitated by the organization district resource person, being a member of one Cyborg group in ward 22 Dambatsoko. The aquaculture training was a one day activity and in was graced by different government department staff that work in the ward. Represented groups included Manhize Farmers co-operation group, Manhize Bee keepers group, Pasichigare, Simukai A and Top Twenty. Independent members of the community also came to receive the knowledgeable trainings. One week after the training, an exchange visit was later carried out to the Cyborg group where representative members from the two Manhize groups, Top Twenty and Simukai were taken for a tour of the aquaculture training done by the group in ward 22.

The training commenced with the variety of fish that the farmers could farm, commonly referred to as Tilapia breams and the easiest to rear in the dam-lined fish ponds. Interestingly, the training implored certain characteristics that this kind of fish is known of, being mouth breeders and that their eating habit is temperature related. Of importance to the Tilapia bream that came out of the training is the aspect that their egg laying ratio is equivalent to their weight, with each fish gram equalling four eggs. The facilitator maintained that Tilapia breams can have up to a thousand eggs that are all sure to be hatched, in nests that the male fish could have prepared. On this front, the facilitator explored that the male fish can have as many as four nests that attracts female fish to come and lay eggs into the for fertilization.

 

The participants were given a choice of fish to exceptionally rely on during the training, where they could realise returns. The two varieties, breams and ornamentals can be farmed together but in separate ponds but all having the capacity to give returns that are pleasing to the farmers. Of importance to the breams is the fact that the male bream is specific for meat, hence, a sex reversal exercise has to be done in order to improve on consumptible variety. The sex reversal exercise is done in such a way that every female fish that would have consumed the sex reversing medicine. Only fish for breeding purposes can be left as mixed, and the sex reversal exercise controls the fish population in a pond sine there would be no more breeding.

Last item given to the participants was on the types of fish ponds and how they are to be made with the facilitator encouraging on the dam-lined ponds that are easy to construct. Here, the facilitator urged that ponds should have the deep and shallow ends that save different purposes with the deep end being a fortress to hide from predators and the shallow end as a playground, feeding and breeding area. Farmers realized that the capacity of a fish pond lies within its dimensions, with a square meter being able to house only 10-20 fish.

 

 

 

An illustration pond by one member who hosted the training was toured where corrections and lessons were to be given to the attentively and probing participants present. The lesson learnt underscored the initial belief farmers have that any pit dug can be a fish pond and from the tour of the pond site they learnt the essence of the deep-shallow kind of ponds.

THE EXCHANGE VISIT

The trainings extended to the group members were followed up with a look and learn exchange visit to the site where the facilitator is doing his fish-farming project from. Representatives of the groups that attended the initial training had the advantage to coin everything they learnt with seeing what was on the ground, the actual happenings. The day started with a rundown of how the project started, membership and its relationship to the Hand in Hand Model. Members of the Cyborg saving group took turns to answer the various questions brought up by the visiting team. On issues of co-operation in doing much of the work that solely required labour, the chairperson of the group Mr Liberty Magwenzi intimated that group members understand the values of Unity and Strengths mirrored in Confidence underscored in the lessons they received from the Hand in Hand Zimbabwe trainers. This, he said is the basis of a project going concern with members driven by interest and the desire to succeed. One member Mr Piason Choruwa had it that the labour intensive looking activities of the project were far from being realised by the group members since they worked together all the times in making fish ponds. Hardly did the group hired external labour since they are so entwined that they don’t have conflicts when working.

After all questions were asked and answered, the visiting team were taken for a tour of the fish ponds that comprised both the Tilapia breams and the ornamental gold fish ponds. What started as a world of make belief during trainings became reality to the team with the trainer doing exactly what he said he does when feeding the fish. The bond and relationship he created came into being when he called the fish out of water through playing his hand in the waters and the fishes floating and coming to him.

 

Pictures above shows floating Gold fish awaiting to be fed by their master.

Below are pictures of the Fingerlings and Tilapia bream breeding pond as well as the not yet used commercial pond that will carry 20 000 Tilapia breams.

 

 

 

Plans to go Commercial by the Cyborg group are already underway as they have already constructed a much bigger fish pond that accommodates up to 40 000 Tilapia breams. The pond only awaited spreading of the dam-line and filling up the pond with water since the fish seed is already there in the breeding pond.