The great strides made by Rugare self-help group members from Ward 8 Chirumanzu District, bear testimony to the fact that indeed Hand in Hand Zimbabwe is transforming livelihoods through business development and technical skills trainings.
The 8-member group has successfully established a flourishing horticulture garden with the support of Hand in Hand Zimbabwe.
Before intervention from the organisation, members say they were living in abject poverty for years as a result of poor harvests induced by low rainfall in the district, but their fortunes quickly changed once they were signed up.
They were taken through the Hand in Hand in Zimbabwe business development trainings.
After members had completed their trainings, on business management, horticulture management, natural resources management and gender, the group swiftly identified a piece of land to set up their horticulture garden.
To date, group members boast of having planted and sold an array of crops such as butternut, tomatoes, carrots and onions. The group has also started a potato planting project since they expanded their garden from the initial 50m x 15m to 70m x 20m.
To complement the crops, members of the garden also planted sisal fibre as it helps to stabilise the soil and protect the garden from being invaded by domestic animals.
The 8 members make sales of up to USD$150,00 per month which they hope to increase to USD$300,00 once they start harvesting their potatoes. They have not yet started sharing the proceeds as they are investing back into the enterprise so as to set up a good foundation for growth.
Members are part of Internal Savings and Lendings (ISALs) and they contribute USD$5 each per month. In order to increase their income base, members borrow from this group and use it to expand and sustain their individual enterprises.
Apart from selling their produce to community vendors at a nearby business centre, 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 Locardia Zindove (33) said the garden project has greatly transformed their livelihoods.