In early November 2020, 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.