The rise of Witness Mutsvunguma

WITNESS Mutsvunguma never dreamt that he will one day run a successful business empire. The 29-year-old young man thought that, like his parents, he will live and die a pauper. But that was his thoughts until he was introduced to Hand in Hand Zimbabwe’s Motivated Entrepreneurial Youth (MEY) programme and his life improved significantly for the better.

Witness grew up in a poverty-infested environment in Rambanapasi village in Chengwena Ward 4, Chirumanzi. Although he grew up with his both parents, the family lived in dilapidated buildings and rarely had enough food on their table as his parents are not formally employed and have no means of a constant income.

Things got worse for the Mutsvunguma family when Witness got married in 2017 and added an extra mouth to be fed in the homestead. But as luck would have it,  Hand in Hand Zimbabwe launched its Motivated Entrepreneurial Youth programme in Chirumanzi in 2017 and taught people that Entrepreneurship accompanied by health and life motivation is a viable means of earning income, acquiring assets and promoting self-development. Faced with rising poverty and no hope for the future, Witness did not take time to be convinced.

He quickly fell in love with the MEY programme where he learnt during mobilisation that entrepreneurship is an act of initiating, creating, building and expanding an enterprise and gathering resources to exploit an opportunity in the market place for long-term gain.

In view of this, Witness concluded that rural entrepreneurship can be pursued as an option to improve his life. In pursuit of this life-changing concept, the father of one attended HIH’s entrepreneurship training and completed five modules. He also attended motivation workshops 1 to 4 as well as health workshops to satisfy his hunger for more knowledge.

“When I attended the trainings on MEY project, my mind changed for the better. I used to be wasting money and with no hope for the future. Now I am good at saving, planning and conducting business,” he said in an interview.

“I can now keep my records and be able to track down my business history and tell whether the business is making a profit or loss. The trainings helped me to redefine my life when I had already lost hope and I am happy to say that my life is now on track. I am living a healthy lifestyle after my wife and I went for HIV testing and we know our status,” he said.

A few weeks after attending the trainings, Witness and five other villagers sat down and established Kubatana (Unity) star club and promptly made a decision to save at least $5 per month.

In February 2018, Witness borrowed $100.00 from his group and bought four goats and $25 each. He worked very hard to service the loan and he is grateful of trainings he received as he is now running a small livestock enterprises.

In May, two of his goats gave birth to two kids (one each). In September he went back to the club and borrowed $80, which he used to buy two young female goats and two female turkeys. With his livestock business slowly growing, Witness thought of diversifying his portfolio and ventured into broilers and guinea fowls rearing. It was during this time that he also discovered that he was a talented builder.

He started the chicken business with 25 broilers, which he bought at $1.50 each, and also made sure that he had enough feedstock for the birds. To that end, he bought two 50 kilograms of starter crumbs, and growers. He bought these at $69.00 each. While his businesses is currently generating revenues of between $250 and $300 per month, Witness is already thinking of growth.

To date, Witness boasts of 10 goats (9 females and one male), 21 turkeys, 25 broilers, 23 free range chickens and 19 guinea fowls, which is a far greater achievement for someone who didn’t have anything in his life except his name.

Witness appreciates the work Hand in Hand in the country through its MEY project.

“It’s pretty amazing that since I started this project my family can now afford to have three decent meals a day, something that was unheard of before. What I liked most about the trainings I received from Hand In Hand is the idea of working together as a group to accomplish life objectives.

“I also want to thank my group Kubatana for working hard and helping me with ideas to improve my life,” he said.

Witness’ stock in the community is slowly rising after he recently bought two cows at $230 and $290 each. Cows in African tradition not only represent wealth, but are also a source of inspiration and good standing in society.

With his business making decent profits, Witness also renovated his two rooms, which now boast of nice floors, painting and other furniture.

“My family is now living in peace and it gives me joy to take care of my parents who sacrificed so much for me. I generally spend between $40 and $45 per month buying food for the family,” he said.

“We also can now afford to buy and wear good clothes. I grew up wearing torn clothes and I don’t want my children to live the same way. We have a budget of at least $200 every year for buying new clothes.

“I am also working hard to ensure that my children attend better schools, where they are more opportunities for them to do well in life, something which I didn’t have while growing up,” he added.

In line with Hand in Hand’s vision of poverty alleviation through job creation, Witness has created a job for Mr Mandikanganwa, who helps him with his building business. The assistant’s salary depends with available jobs, but on average takes home at least $50 per month.

“I would like to urge Hand in Hand to continue with this good work and empower thousands of people, who like me, had lost hope. If my life was changed dramatically, I am very confident that the MEY model can be implemented successfully across more for fragile communities in Zimbabwe,” Witness said.