‘A Movement for Uplifting Communities’
Mangwende Orphan Care Trust is an overall vision that collectively brings together community empowerment concepts from a broad base of players, partners and solutions into a movement platform that can be replicated across most of Africa.
“ In Africa there is a concept known as ‘ UBUNTU ‘ – the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievement of others.” ~ NELSON MANDELA.
MANGWENDE ORPHAN CARE TRUST
The Mangwende Orphan Care Trust is a project founded in memory of the life of the late Chief Jonathan Tafirenyika Chibanda Mangwende.
We believe that the rural areas, the ignored villagers, vulnerable and the needy can rise again.
The project was initiated end of 2013 as a partnership project linking faith based organizations, the community, traditional leadership, the farming as well as business community.
The chief was well known for his passion to the less privileged and patronage to supportive organizations during his lifetime.
The Mangwende Orphan Care Trust encompasses our core beliefs, our vision and our mission.
Through the Trust we establish our strategic direction, our policies and procedures for the sustainable projects.
The Trust facilitates financial and legal management and provides core project oversight and protection whilst instilling integrity and accountability.
Through God’s word we learn of the Fathers heart for the poor and vulnerable and we believe we have been given a mandate to care for those in need.
‘…to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world’. James 1:27
‘Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow’. Isaiah 1:17
- We are underpinned by elements of principled, accountable and high quality humanitarian action.
- We respect and protect the dignity and rights of those we seek to help.
- We will provide assistance in neutrality and without taking sides on a political or ideological nature.
- We will not discriminate by ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political opinions, race or religion.
To facilitate the socio- economic transformation of Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole, by educating, assisting and advocating for widows, orphans, vulnerable and under- privileged.
Our actions are guided by kingdom principles and under the auspices of the Council of Chiefs and local government we encourage the use of innovative technology and cutting edge methodology.
Our aims are underpinned by sustainability, food security and green – skill development with the aid of renewable green energy and information technology.
Centered on Christ Jesus, we will share the Fathers heart by maximizing the effectiveness of the three Zunde raMambo Pillars in the community –Zunde Community center, Zunde RaMambo plots and Master Farmer/Hurudza, facilitated through the Mangwende Orphan Care Trust.
We hope to restore the family unity, through a paradigm shift, from the begging bowl mentality to one of civic engagement, by raising a generation of socially responsible leaders grounded in stewardship, service and entrepreneurial self- sufficiency.
By sharing the Father’s heart we seek to bring hope and a future to those previously without hope.
In Zimbabwe today there are 1.4 million orphans directly linked to the abdication of responsibility by the father figure heads seeking greener economic pastures afar, the HIV pandemic, the decline of agricultural production and export; as well as increasingly unpredictable weather patterns due to climate change.
Statistically the ratio of social workers to orphans and vulnerable stands at
1: 147 000 making Zimbabwe the most devastated social welfare situation in the world.
Zimbabwe was once the ‘breadbasket of Africa’ growing and exporting food to surrounding nations with its rich soils and water resources.
It is also home to some of the world’s richest mineral and diamond resources.
From being the ‘bread basket’ of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe slide into the status of an economic pariah state waving an empty basket.
Due to severe economic decline and the increase in the cost of living – poverty has continued to increase.
Zimbabwe is among several countries deemed to be vulnerable to climate change due to a wide range of factors.
For starters, most of the country is dependent on rain-fed subsistence agriculture and constantly experiences unfriendly weather patterns making it “highly vulnerable to vicissitude of weather patterns”.
These unfavorable weather patterns have resulted in disasters such as droughts and floods, that impact on people’s livelihoods differently.
The country is also entirely landlocked making it a ‘hostage to its neighbors’ (Collier, 2008).
Agriculture is Zimbabwe’s economic mainstay, and was once described as “the much vaunted ‘backbone’ of the economy” (Sachikonye, 1992:90).
In fact, “when agriculture sneezes, the Zimbabwean economy catches a cold” (Litwin, 1992:5).
Our response was to revive an ancient practice called Zunde raMambo.
History of the Zunde Practice
At the heart of the shona culture is the word Zunde RaMambo.
Mambo being the King or Chief Mambos are communal leaders who have acquired their status through recognition of blood lineage, and Zunde being the chief’s granary or chief’s land.
Zunde is a traditional practice of bringing the community members together as one, for the good of the community as a whole.
Zunde raMambo is a traditional community safety net mechanism that protects vulnerable groups: widows, orphans, the sick, the elderly and those affected by unforeseen disasters (e.g. fires, drought hailstorm etc.).
This mechanism once reduced food insecurity by providing a platform for collective action by community members.
The chief would allocate land for collective production of staple cereals and other produce that would be made available to needy households.
The primary sense and the aim of this project is to ensure that the community has adequate, sustainable food resources.
The yield from a reserved plot of land is stored in granaries at the Chief’s or village head’s compound.
It guarantees food security and access to land to those who would not normally have the means to farm.
The Zunde RaMambo concept is not only used for crop production and addressing food shortages but is also used as a socio-economic tool.
The chief can ensure sustainable methods are used in farming the plots in his area of jurisdiction and training and marketing of produce can be managed efficiently and profitably.
The Zunde practice is being revived at 3 levels namely;
- Zunde at the Chiefs level
- Zunde at the village level
- Zunde at the household level
1. THE CHIEFS LEVEL – ZUNDE CENTER
This serves to be the main point of contact, information and everyday activities.
It serves to boost and benefit individuals, the community and the local economy whilst at the same time creating community independence, global participation and sustainability.
The center will be supported by solar power and a revolutionary information and Communication Technology Center.
The following is planned to take place at the Zunde Vocational Training Center:
- Administration hub
- Operational Headquarters
- Project Headquarters
- Leadership training
- Discipleship and mentoring
Our objective is to promote the Zunde RaMambo community center model to the community which includes:
A) THE VOCATIONAL TRAINING CENTRE
The Zunde Vocational Training Center will be the Headquarters of the Mangwende Orphan Care Trust.
This is going to be the project headquarters and the administration hub. A permanent team will be on site whilst events, training, trials, projects and support activities will take place regularly for community groups, volunteers, supporters and sponsors.
Suitable land has already been identified and procured in Mrewa ( Mashonaland East Province) 42 km from Marondera and 500m from Dombodzvuku Primary School, and activities have already began.
- Trial and demonstration agricultural plots
- Volunteer group projects
- Hospitality (soft landing for visitors and international friends)
- Community meetings
- Cold storage facility
- Produce collection and distribution
- Skills development
- IT and communications hub
- Christian education and counselling
B) FOSTER HOME- Zunde Village
The Zunde Village is where love in action is demonstrated to the needy in the community and land is used for agricultural and horticultural provision, demonstration and training.
The village, approved by the Department of Social Welfare, will represent a culturally mandated social welfare framework to meet immediate physical needs but then also provide psychological, spiritual and emotional healing.
The model can help break the cycle of poverty by teaching, empowering and inspiring individuals to overcome their circumstances, be integrated into society and become change – makers themselves.
- Widow and orphan rescue home
- Re – integration
I. DEMOSTRATION AND TRAINING PLOTS (Cultivating)
There is land set aside within the Zunde RaMambo Community Center for agricultural, horticultural, aquaculture, plantation and animal husbandry provision, training and demonstration purpose.
These include sustainable and environmentally – friendly models in conservation agriculture of maize, sorghum, millet, soya and other cash crops.
There are plots for vegetables and hydroponics as well as areas for orchard and tree plantations.
Fish farming ponds and free – range chicken raising are also part of the model. Water is usually provided by borehole and purification systems put in place where necessary.
Furthermore, the entire project can be powered by clean solar energy.
These areas are worked on by the community in a volunteer capacity.
Produce from these plots supplement food for the foster family homes and feeding kitchen as well as help to educate and inspire the children and the wider community.
- Provision, training and demonstration
- Conservation agriculture
- Horticulture and hydroponics
- Orchard and tree plantations
- Animal husbandry e.g. chickens and rabbits
- Borehole water and water purification
- Supported by solar power
- Organic farming
II. BRINGING LIGHT TO AFRICA
Taking sustainable, renewable, affordable solar energy into the Zunde Ramambo Community Centers and millions of non – electrified homes in Zimbabwe and Africa, fast tracking job creation, infrastructure, and communication, access to food, water, health, education and entertainment.
We want to partner with anyone who aligns with national and local energy policies and institutions to facilitate the rapid expansion renewable energies in developing rural, economies in Zimbabwe and Africa.
Through our work, we partner with bilateral and multi – lateral business organizations, academic institutions, non – governmental organizations and industry associations to expand the availability of energy on a national level to include both rural and urban areas. In doing so, our goal is to bring about social and economic upliftment.
III. COMMUNITY LINKAGES
We are hoping to partner with organizations or individuals who provide the essential link from individuals, groups and trading posts to market their excess produce and skills and earn additional untapped income.
They must be prepared to offer to receive goods from the Zunde Center, Zunde plots and the households for processing and distribution.
Information, support and advice will be available for tradesmen and producers.
- Agri – processing (packaging, canning etc.)
- Marketing and distribution
- Construction and development
- Cold Chain
The Church has a moral and spiritual obligation to breathe life into this dying and desperate world. In unity and oneness of heart, a bad situation can be redirected.
We want to partner with bible schools and churches who provide non – denominational discipleship, bibles and pastor training materials. By using their training materials we hope to be part of a vision to raise up pastors with a heart after God with the training, skills and support to spread the Gospel, plant churches and turn around their communities and their nations for God.
- Pastor training
- Bible distribution
- Home churches
2. ZUNDE RAMAMBO AT VILLAGE LEVEL –
THE CHIEFS LAND
This the Chief’s land where people come together and provide voluntary labor for the benefit of the needy in their communities.
Zunde is a traditional welfare system currently being revived in Mrewa.
The objective is for able bodied members of the community to work together to produce food for the aged, disabled and orphans.
Our main objective or aim is to partner with individuals, NGOs, Churches and anyone who share the same vision to revive the Zunde Practice that would reduce the social neglect and deprivation of the poorest people in Mrewa and other rural communities.
The Zunde raMambo was once effective but poor yields from the collectively managed fields was a disincentive for members to continue participating.
Using Integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) technologies combining local organic nutrient resources, soil and water conservation measures and improved crop varieties seem a promising means to revitalize local safety nets.
Facilitated by an alliance of researchers, extension agents, private seed companies and local government authorities, the communities will mobilized to revitalize Zunde raMambo.
The local Chief, the Headman and village headman will help in establishing a Zunde steering committee in each village under the village headman.
The formation of Zunde steering committees provide direct access through traditional structures to the majority of rural households in the District.
Following a series of planning meetings led by the Committee, community members will prepare land and plant crops following guidelines developed by a team of technical experts including lead farmers.
The people will be using a roster to register activities such as weeding, harvesting and postharvest processing and storage.
The Zunde raMambo initiative will provide a platform for interaction among farmers, local leaders, service providers and district government who will be helping to mobilize communities, create confidence through government support of the Zunde practice and enhance communication among actors.
The Zunde raMambo plots will also be used as a field school within the community, to local farmers, to reduce the distance they travel to acquire knowledge, thereby contributing to project sustainability.
We are hoping that by the end of each season, the Zunde field will be declared a ‘big learning center’, exposing participants to improved technologies and promoting information and knowledge sharing.
Planning and implementation is undertaken using local structures, processes and procedures, under the Chief’s guidance, thereby ensuring high community participation and organization, thus, feeding into program efficiency.
The Zunde social security concept leads people to believe in what village elders, headmen and chiefs regard as a tradition and hence people buy into the program creating a sense of ownership by the community.
In the long term this will have a positive impact by increasing food security in a sustainable way.
In Zimbabwe maize is going to be the most popular crop in all the Zunde project sites. Other areas prefer small grains as these areas are prone to drought.
The most important asset in the Zunde is the land and seeds which are obtained from seed houses or the previous harvests [mabhagu or hakiri king] and preserved using indigenous knowledge practices such as smoking with soot by hanging them in the traditional kitchen roof.
Produce from the Zunde fields is used to supplement the feeding of infants, the disabled, and the old members of the villages and is also used to support the bereaved.
The program is also being used as a form of insurance or food bank as, occasionally, villagers who run out of food borrow grain from the Zunde granary, to be replaced after the next harvest.
Thus, communities can work as partners with joint ownership.
The project will also facilitate understanding and effective communication amongst community members.
Increased maize and legume yields in the Zunde field will ‘silently’ resolve the conflict over poor returns to communal labor investments, enhanced community cohesion and create new demands for technical support services.
Participants are going to realize the importance of building local-level food reserves to cushion the vulnerable during hard times.
Joint reflection enhance local awareness about the reasons behind failed exogenous agricultural input and food aid programs, including their failure to reward the hardworking and resourceful farmers who tend to contribute to local safety nets.
Stakeholders in partnership with the Mangwende Orphan Care Trust will help the community to discover their own strengths, to jointly set criteria for effective implementation of Zunde raMambo, to identify and reach out to the most vulnerable households and to articulate capacity building needs (e.g. strengthening collective action, technological innovation and crop storage, popularizing the Zunde raMambo concept).
This is going to make it possible for them to overcome key factors leading farmers to resent local safety nets: poor soil productivity and poor incentives for sustained collective action. Dialogue between communities and district authorities on mechanisms to reach out to many households and incentives for assuming social responsibilities in the Mangwende Zunde raMambo will increase.
ROLE OF WOMEN
Usually the important roles that women take in relief, recovery and reconstruction are often not recognized.
Although decisions are made by men including the Chief, it is the women who perform most of the cultivation, harvesting and preservation in the Zunde fields. Most men migrate to urban areas seeking industrial jobs and women are left in rural areas to fend for children and themselves.
Thus, food insecurity affects rural inhabitants more, who incidentally are women and children, and in extreme cases widows and orphans.
In short, women play a critical role in agricultural and pastoral livelihoods, often bearing significant responsibility for managing critical productive resources such as land, water, livestock, biodiversity, fodder, fuel, and food.
In addition they also contribute work and energy towards income generation and carry out a disproportional amount of daily labor compared to men in a household.
Their contribution is also disproportional in community spheres such as cooking, cleaning, child care, care of older or sick family members, providing work for collective projects and during weddings, funerals and other cultural ceremonies.
The inclusion of women can be a positive adjustment to Zimbabwean society’s response to the perceived vulnerability of food insecurity.
After all the success of Zimbabwe’s agriculture system over the years is attributed to women’s roles in achieving food production, income and livelihood security objectives in the face of extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods.
Women, although they are not consulted, bring in their labor and knowledge on what crops to grow and, thus, play an important role in implementation. Indigenous knowledge not only empowers local communities, but contributes to food self-sufficiency.
The Zunde agricultural activities contributes significantly to food security.
This is the result of cheap labor provided by women and children with regards to tillage and weeding.
Whilst there are many agricultural approaches that are peculiar to other environments and cultures and cannot easily be replicated elsewhere, the Zunde practice is consistent with many communities in Zimbabwe.
Zunde agricultural practice has withstood the test of time and is not outdated regardless of the socio-economic and cultural changes that Zimbabweans have undergone.
It has been handed down from one generation to another through oral communication.
The Zunde practice, for instance, provided valuable insight into the means with which communities and households interact.
The Farmer Field Schools that are to be held under the Zunde practice, will enable farmers, village elders and chiefs to share ideas.
These beneficiaries will develop the skills and practices necessary to forge their own path for sustenance farming.
On the basis of increased yields attributed to the technology of the Zunde practice, this should be cascaded to other areas that have similar cultural practices and climate.
Embedded within this should be the promotion of the use of local resources and pooled labor to address the challenges of labor intensity associated with the Zunde practice.
The Farmer Field School concept must be promoted as it produces expertise amongst the local farmers that is readily available and creates understanding about the local context.
3. ZUNDE AT HOUSEHOLD LEVEL –
HURUDZA (MASTER FARMERS)
Hurudza in shona language means ‘champion’ or ‘master’.
Hurudza farmers receive intense theoretical and practical training in the Intwasa Pfumvudza farming method and conservation agriculture both at the Zunde Institute and on the Zunde RaMambo (chief’s land) in the community.
Produce from these training plots benefit the Zunde Village inhabitants and excess goes to the chief’s granary for other vulnerable children, elderly and the disabled in the community.
The farmers are fully equipped to return to their homeland and train their community in the Intwasa Pfumvudza method as well as become a trainer of trainers.
One of the initial ideas in the “Intwasa Pfumvudza” Concept was to cater for rural orphans through communal cultivation on “Zunde RaMambo Plots”.
This would cover basic food requirements of the orphans in the village, while from the sale of surplus other food and household items could be bought for the orphans, and their education supported.
Rural communities are highly underserved. Formal financial institutions have avoided or failed to offer sustainable services in rural areas e.g. rural or agricultural development banks.
People in rural areas may need access to financial services to purchase agriculture inputs, obtain veterinary services; contract labour for planting/harvesting; transport goods to markets; make receive payments; manage peak season incomes to cover expenses in low seasons; invest in education, shelter; health; or deal with emergencies.
For sustained and inclusive development to thrive, a great deal of innovation and thinking is needed to ensure that appropriate financial services and instruments are put in place for the benefit of the poor and other vulnerable groups.