Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Business Reporter
The economic situation prevailing in Zimbabwe requires innovative ideas for people to survive.
It would not make sense to talk of development in the absence of economic empowerment of the masses, particularly women.
Not only do women play an integral part in the development of the country, they are key to the well-being of the family unit.
Zanu-PF Manicaland recently launched economic empowerment projects, which saw women from all 26 constituencies in the province being trained in bread making and confectionery, petroleum jelly making, shoe polish making and floor polish making.
The bread making project is one of particular interest owing to the current shortage of bread being experienced.
Women are being trained to build Dutch ovens, which use very little material, making them the best option for these women.
It would make sense to train women to bake their own bread for self-sustenance as well as to generate some income. While bread is now going for anything between $5 to $8 per loaf, the women will be able to produce a loaf at about $1,33 thus giving them room to put a reasonable margin when they sell.
Instead of waiting for donations from Non-Governmental Organisations and Government, they will now have the power to improve their livelihoods in their own hands.
A $2 million fund for the projects has been secured from government and will be disbursed by the Women’s bank through the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development.
Each province will receive $200 000 seed capital.
Considering that Manicaland is big, the capital will not cover much ground unless the women can maximise on what they get and work hard to earn incomes.
Women who spoke to Post Business on the sidelines of the training showed that they appreciated the chance to work for their families.
Mrs VeronicahMuyaMatondora (42) from Mutasa district had this to say:
“As women from Manicaland, we are happy about this bread making project. The shortage of bread is a serious problem because when it becomes available, we cannot afford it. This project will help us as individuals as well as our communities because when we get home, we will train others, especially the young women, so that everyone can live a better life,” she said.
Mrs SthembileChirimutaMutare district said skills were the most important donation one could receive as they gave them more control over their lives.
“We need to move away from the dependency syndrome where we always wait for handouts. These projects will allow us to work for ourselves and take care of our families,” she said.
She said if women could make the bread from their communities, no one would need to travel to nearby townships to buy bread.
Loveness Chiwashira from Dangamvura said such projects would also foster unity among communities as people will be working together for the good of the whole community.
“This project is good because as women, we want to be uplifted. We are the ones who take care of families. If we are empowered as women we will unite and work for our families as well as our communities,” she said.
What now remains is for the women to organise themselves and come up with sustainable project proposals for them to access the loans from the bank.
For them to succeed, they also need to put in the work so that they can start reaping the benefits of the projects sooner rather than later.
If they don’t work, then it will not work. Simple.