Community-led development in the Diocese of Matabeleland, Zimbabwe
Villagers told their bishop they needed a supermarket
Article by Ronald Lumbiwa, Development Officer in the Diocese of Matabeleland.
The community of Ngukwe, in the Diocese of Matabeleland, had to endure a 15km walk to reach their nearest borehole, and an extra 5km to buy vegetables.
When asked by the bishop what they most needed, they said a supermarket.
On hearing about their plight, the Bishop of Matabeleland sourced funds to drill a community borehole in the area.
The borehole means the community has water for livestock, and the people have planted vegetable gardens, which supply their own needs and with enough surplus for them to sell at market for an income.
In gratitude, the community approached the bishop and asked if he would like to plant a church in the area.
Now the community is working hard to build a church structure using their own resources, with minimal support from the diocese.
This is just one success story from Matabeleland, which is the largest diocese in Zimbabwe, with a wide range of cultures and traditions.
The diocese runs many programmes, spiritual and practical, from building new churches to income-generation.
Communities are encouraged to take part in all these ventures, which means they become participants in their own development.
Linda’s story: ‘Development programme changed my life’
Article by Linda Ngevu, of Penhalonga, Manicaland.
I am 38. I am married with three children. Two years ago, I was invited to the community hall in Tsvingwe to hear about a programme called Umoja, which means ‘working together’.
The people started a micro-finance scheme. We each agreed to pay $5 a month into a communal pot, out of which we could borrow money to start income-generation projects.
For a long time, I was hesitant to borrow money because I was not confident I could make a project work. But eventually I borrowed $30. I bought and sold some small fish (kapenta) and I made a profit of 100 per cent! I was excited to think I could run a profit-making business.
I paid back the money I had borrowed, together with the interest I owed – and still had enough money to continue my business. I felt awakened! I started trading in soap, clothes, lotions and blankets.
My husband is unemployed, and for years we had been known for making excuses and apologies and never paying school fees for our children on time. But now we always pay on time.
Tackling HIV in Manicaland
Article by the Revd Michael Mbona, Manicaland, who has completed a PhD on HIV, sponsored by Us.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic is a topic that the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland has struggled to address. There has been denial, stigma, and the discrimination of both people living with HIV and AIDS orphans.
There have been several cases where people rejected family members who had HIV. And in a piece of academic research I carried out, it was heartbreaking to hear how the church failed many times to be a safe place for people with HIV, including married and single women and children.
In December 2012, my wife Christine – who is the president of the Mothers’ Union in Manicaland – met a group of HIV-positive widows who wanted support in order to establish income generation projects. Sadly, the Mothers’ Union had no resources to support these women.
But on a positive note, it is encouraging to mention that some members of the Mothers’ Union and Wabvuwi (Men’s Guild) are supporting a handful of orphans using local resources.
And there are a number of women in our parishes who provide care for people with HIV despite very limited material support from the church. Some of these women are themselves HIV-positive.