Climate Smart interventions, A ray of hope for Progressive garden

The great strides made by Progressive garden members in Ward 14 Gwanda District, bear testimony to the fact that indeed Hand in Hand Zimbabwe is transforming livelihoods through Climate smart interventions.

The 43-member group which is being supported by Hand in Hand Zimbabwe under the Green Enterprise Project (GEP) has established a flourishing garden and a tree nursery since its inception in 2018.

Prior to intervention, members say they were living in abject poverty for years as a result of poor harvests induced by drought in the district, but upon meeting Hand in Hand Zimbabwe their fortunes quickly changed.

After members had completed their trainings, on business management, horticulture management, natural resources management and tomato production, the organisation swiftly erected a fence and installed a solar water pump for the group.

Within a short space of time, the group increased production as they were no longer reliant on wells and natural rainfall, which is erratic in the region.

To date, group members boast of having planted and sold an array of crops such as butternut, tomatoes, sugar beans, chomolia and onion. The group has also planted 63 types of fruit trees that include mango, banana, orange, guava, lemon, grape and pawpaw which are a refreshing sight in the garden.

To complement the crops, members of the garden also planted Vetiver grass as the plant helps to stabilise soil, protect soil against pests and has favourable qualities for goat and cattle feed.

From the crops and fruit tree seedlings they have sold so far, group members have received an income of ZAR4,300 and have channelled some of the money towards starting a poultry and goat project.

Apart from selling their produce to community vendors and restaurants, schools and a nearby hospital, the group sets aside a small percentage of their produce for family consumption and this has aided in providing basic nutrition for their families.

One of the group members Getrude Ndlovu (45) said the garden project has greatly transformed their livelihoods.

“Hand in Hand Zimbabwe has empowered us with knowledge on how to run a good business and provided for us with technical support.

“Through the garden project, I now have financial freedom and can take care of myself and my four (4) grandchildren.

“We used to live on food hand-outs but we now have a sustainable source of income,” she said.

Green Enterprises Project is one of the economically and environmentally viable projects that has been adopted by Hand in Hand Zimbabwe as a pilot venture in Gwanda district. The project was incepted in September 2018 and is expected to run until August 2021. The project seeks to achieve improved sustainable economic activities and strengthen resilience to climate change for the resource-constrained communities – particularly women and young people

Bizani successfully establishes business with Hand in Hand aid

 

Bizani Moyo is a 43-year-old man who lives in Makwe village in Ward 20 Gwanda. The married father of four, 3 boys and a girl, joined Hand in Hand Zimbabwe (HiH) in September 2016 under the auspices of Thokozani SHG – a group made up of 10 females and three males.

In January 2017, Mr Moyo was chosen to lead the group and has been instrumental in ensuring that members put aside $40 per month, which is then stored in a savings fund. Under the Internal Savings and Lending Scheme (ISAL), group members can loan each other money at an interest of 25%.

Before joining HIH, Mr Moyo earned a living as a sole trader. He had a small business stall outside Makwe business centre, where he sold a variety of goods, including food.  After being trained on Opportunity Identification and Enterprise Planning, Mr Moyo then realised that there were several business opportunities in his community.

Makwe area has numerous small and medium scale gold mines. He saw an opportunity to meet clothing and food demands for the ever-busy miners, who are not keen to venture out to the nearby town to buy clothes and food stuffs. He took it upon himself to travel to South Africa to purchase clothing items for resale to miners in his area.

Mr Moyo used profits from his buying and selling enterprise to religiously contribute towards group savings. In December 2017, Thokozani group decided to share their profits and savings.

The budding entrepreneur received USD$2 700 as his savings share plus ISAL profits, which he used to purchase a tractor with a trailer in February 2018. Using his newly acquired assets, Mr Moyo did not waste time as he immediately established a new transport service to cater for miners in his community. The transport business, where he carries gold ore from the mine pits to the stamp mill at a $40 per load, is flourishing.

On average, he carries three loads per day and makes an average of $2 000 per month form his transportation enterprise. In June 2018, Mr Moyo used part of his profits to purchase an electrical generator and a water pump. He hires out the water pump and generator to miners who wish to drain water out of their mines for $400 a month.

Ever since his new business venture as a mining service provider, Moyo and his family live happily. He pointed out that all his children are in school.  One is at primary school while three are in secondary school. All his children’s school fees are fully paid up and he even affords to pay for their children’s educational school trips. Furthermore, Mr Moyo has extended his home stead. During the time of visit, he had just completed building a stone wall around his homestead. It is clear that Hand in Hand Zimbabwe has positively changed the life of Moyo and his family.

Although business is going well for him, Mr Moyo said he is not spurred by various challenges affecting the country’s economy.

He noted that cash shortages that the country is facing are also affecting his operations as mobile money payments affect his ability to order spare parts for his assets in neighbouring South Africa as they are not readily available locally.

Recent fuel shortages and the ban of fuel containers by some fuel stations has greatly affected his business as he needs to carry diesel and petrol for his tractor and generator in fuel containers. As a result, he at times goes for days without working because of fuel shortages and he is now forced to purchase fuel in South Africa though that increases his expenses.

Moyo pointed out that he plans to purchase a mine compressor so that he can also hire it out to miners.

He is also planning to diversify into cattle pen fattening as a way of increasing revenue streams, spreading risks and hedge himself against inflation, cash and fuel shortages.  Moyo is really grateful to Hand in Hand for the trainings and support as he points out that they opened his eyes to unlimited possibilities.

GROWING FROM STRENGTH AND STRENGTH

Teboho Noko, 38 years of age lives in Sukwe Village, Ward 18 in Gwanda District. She started the poultry project (layers) in November 2016 with funds obtained from broiler project she was running previously. When the project was implemented she bought a cage which costed her $450 and she also bought 64 birds (layers) at $12 each. Since 2015, Teboho has been one of the successful and aspiring female farmers in Gwanda District. She has grown from strength to strength. In 2015, Teboho started broiler project which enabled her to realize huge profits. The broiler project was so large that she kept almost 500 birds per batch. Now Teboho has expanded and she has ventured in an egg production business. She employs a casual worker but her husband assists to do the work, as well as children when they are on holidays. The layers production business knowledge comes from several sources. She once underwent a 2 weeks training (Matabeleland Go Green) in poultry production under Hi-grow Chickens in 2015, basic poultry production training being done by ward based Agritex officers. Teboho also has gained adequate entrepreneurial skills done by Hand in Hand Zimbabwe.  She also attends ward development meetings, field days and area business shows.

She source drugs and feeds from Gwanda town from shops that include Hi-grow Chicks, National Foods, Agri-Feeds and Pro-Feeds. Marketing challenges include bad debtors and late debt repayments that negatively affect smooth running of the business. The competitive advantage of Teboho’s business is that she faces no competition at all as she is the only one selling eggs at the moment. Therefore, she enjoys good profits from her business.  As narrated by Teboho, sales were extremely high during the past festive season and are stable during the course of the year.

Teboho is looking after her birds very carefully and she is following all instructions given by the technical staff (Agritex Officers) of poultry project. As she provides balanced feeding to her birds and carries out all the vaccination recommended for birds, all her layers are in good and healthy condition. Now all 64 birds are laying and she is collecting daily 58 to 62 eggs from her birds, allowing her to save about $35 per week from egg sales, with the rest of the eggs consumed by family members. Each egg costs $0.15 whilst a crate of 30 eggs cost $4.50.

 

Teboho holding a bucket full of eggs she collects per day

She is using the income to buy food and other family needs such as school books for her children’s education. Furthermore, eggs are now a regular item in their daily family meal especially for children.

“Income from my broiler project and the selling of eggs is used to pay school fees and groceries and to buy clothes for the family. My future plans include buying a large cage that can accommodate 100 or more layers and establishing permanent markets which buy in bulk, such as boarding schools and Gwanda town hotels.

Problems faced include lack of finance to build proper housing structure for eggs production. At present, Teboho house the layers in a mobile mesh wire cage fixed at home. Diseases are not a problem here because there is ward based Agritex Officer with vast experience. Diseases get controlled quickly before they spread. Teboho wants to scale up poultry production projects by increasing numbers in batches. More cages will be bought and more broiler pens will be built. Furthermore, Teboho wants to attend more training courses on broiler management.

 

A cage that has a capacity to hold 65 chickens (layers)

Teboho Noko is also part of the Thandanani Self Help Group with 5 members whom they contribute $5 every month and loan to each other at a 10% interest rate. The group was formed by Hand in Hand in 2015, and up to date they have received adequate training that has enabled all the members to venture into different projects as individuals.

 

Teboho Noko holding one of the layers

When asked about the future plans for her project she highlighted that she wish to expand the poultry project not only through brick and mortar but to make it profitable and she wishes also to share her experiences with other entrepreneurs to inspire them raise their projects equally or even more successfully. Of worthy to note is that Teboho through her commitment and interest in the program she manage to get a Job of volunteer EDF for ward 18 of Gwanda in June 2016. She has displayed a high level of commitment on her job and enterprises. She is so passionate about seeing her community grow their businesses to the level where she is. She is one of the hardest working EDFs and family mother among Hand in Hand Team.

Compiled by: Marupe Sabelo

“NO PLACE LIKE HOME”

Mzingaye Moyo is a 36 year old man who lives in Makwe village, ward 8 in Gwanda district. Moyo is a married man with two (2) children. When Mzingaye finished his high school studies, he could not proceed to tertiary education because of financial constraints his parents were facing. As a result he took up gold panning as means to earn a living. That did not go well with him because he would go for a long time without getting anything thus it wasn’t a sustainable livelihood. At the age of 25 he joined up with his age mates and went to neighbouring South Africa in search of a better living and employment opportunities. Mr Moyo narrated to the team that life in South Africa was far different from what he expected based on the stories of good living and none-stop parties that he heard from his relatives who live and work in South Africa. He struggled for years to get a job because he was an illegal immigrant. When he finally got a job, he worked as a truck off-loader and supermarket cleaner, a job that required no qualification at all. In 2015 Mzingaye decided to visit home and was shocked at the progress his community member had made under self-help groups. He really got interested in learning more about this development initiative. Upon learning that an organisation called Hand in Hand Zimbabwe was offering business development training for free without any joining fee what so-ever, and looking at the different enterprises group members were running, he made up his mind to come back home. Mzingaye then moved back home from South Africa late 2016.

Mzingaye joined Hand in Hand in January 2017. He is part of Thokozani Self Help Group, a 20 member group whose members contribute $40 per month which attracts an interest of 20%. When Mzingaye joined Thokozani, he had identified a business opportunity in the local shops. He pointed out that he had seen a vacant shop that was for rental and wanted to rent it. He borrowed eight hundred United States dollars ($800) and rented the shop. At the end of that month, he was able to repay the loan back to his group in full and remain with a profit. After receiving training on marketing, Mzingaye conducted a consumer preference survey to understand customer needs so that he could penetrate the market and increase sales. He pointed out that he was very grateful to hand in hand for training because findings from his survey revealed that a large number of community members used to receive remittances from South Africa and as a result had developed a preference for those products and these products were not available in the local shops. In February 2017, he made his first trip to Musina in South Africa and bought goods for resale which were preferred by his community. That month, his sales shot up significantly.

Mr Moyo told the Hand in Hand team that he also studied his competitors and noticed none of them were selling hard ware products and motor spares. His village is a mining village and thus has many vehicles but motor vehicle owners had to travel to Gwanda town to buy motor spares. As a result, he decided to turn his shop into a one stop shop which has a variety of product ranging from bicycle spare, motor vehicles service kits, hard ware products casual clothing, school uniforms, houseware goods and consumables. This made his shop very popular in the community. He further went on and embraced plastic money after realising that some customers had mobile money not hard cash. He applied for a mobile money operator licence and obtained it in March 2017. He now accepts mobile money payments.

 

Mzingaye Moyo standing in the motor spares and bicycle spares corner inside his shop

Mzingaye narrated and said “he works this hard because he got really tired of living at the heart of poverty when he tried his lucky in neighbouring South Africa”. He is determined to work hard because he wants create wealth for his family so that they don’t suffer like he did. In July 2017, Mzingaye identified yet onether business opportunity. He realised that the village primary and secondary schools were getting typing, printing and photocopying services from Gwanda town, 70 km from their ward. He therefore bought a laptop and there in one printer and setup the equipment inside his shop in August 2017. He now offer typing, scanning, photocopying and printing services inside the shop.

 

    

Mzingaye with his new laptop and printer 

Mr Moyo makes an average profit of $700 per month. He told the team that he is really happy that he came back home and joined Hand in Hand because he now felt poverty free. He gladly told the team that there is no place like home because here, he can freely participate in all developmental activities and improve his life. He is really grateful to hand in hand for the training and mentorship that they offered him.  He pointed out that although he has made good progress, he will only be satisfied when he stops renting a shop and runs business from his own building. Plans are underway to apply and purchase a business stand of his own so that he cuts rental expenses. He has visited Gwanda Rural District council twice this year to enquire about stands and no new allocations have been made so-far.