Sibonelo Self Help Group is on a mission to end poverty. The group, which consists of eight women and two men, quickly sprang into action after it was established on February 18, 2016 at Shushine Business Centre following a sensitization meeting conducted by Hand in Hand Zimbabwe (HiH).
In an interview recently, the Group’s Chair Musa Mahlangu said members were motivated to kick out poverty after they received valuable lessons from the HiH meeting two years ago on how to fight scarcity using local resources. After the meeting, establishing the group was not a difficult assignment, as participants screened themselves based on their mutual understanding.
It suffices to say that before enrolling for the HiH Jobs Creation program in Nkayi and formation of this group, members conducted business individually and in a harp-hazard manner. Although the members were already in business – making baskets and buying and selling various goods – the ventures were not successful, as most of the revenue quickly went towards consumption.
But shortly after joining the HiH Job Creation program, the group got a new breath of life as they got entrepreneurial skills training which gave them the third eye of seeing things (opportunity identification). The group agrees that the HiH business trainings helped them to grow their businesses as they were encouraged to utilise the local natural resources efficiently in creating enterprises. With the abundance of fan palm (ilala) the group became more organised and agreed to meet every Thursday to train each other and improve their weaving skills.
After a few months of getting HiH marketing trainings, which encompass pricing, promotion, place and product, the group members not only improved quality of their craft wares, but also saw demand for their products increasing.
Mahlangu had an opportunity, which was made possible by HiH, to travel to Lupane for craft look and learn tour. Such an opportunity yielded positive results for the group as the member brought new knowledge and skills, especially on product quality and control, marketing and pricing.
Mahlangu says Sibonelo members are also grateful that they were afforded an eye-opening opportunity when they attended district hand work/craft workshops, where they shared notes, experiences, knowledge and skills with other SHG members from different locations.
He highlighted that all the members of the group now earn a decent living through crafts sales within the community and is very appreciative of HiH efforts in trying to search for a sustainable market for their wares.
“The members are satisfied that their wares have been exhibited at district, provincial, national and international events such as the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, Hlanganani Tourism Expo and Victoria Falls Agric Show among others,” he said.
He further pointed out that their craft work has also attracted visitors from outside their district although they are yet to get a reliable market.
“Within a few years of getting HiH assistance and improving their business acumen, group members are now in a better position to pay school fees for their children and meet other financial obligations,” Mahlangu added.
To date, Sibonelo Self Help Group boasts of a bull, pigs, which currently have 20 piglets, and and thirty chickens. And refusing to be limited to group enterprises, members also continue to pursue their individual enterprises that have achieved varied success.
“We will forever be indebted to HiH and its network, which showed us light and gave us hope and skills that are transforming our socio-economic lives at an alarming rate,” Mahlangu said on behalf of the group.