by Fiona Mpofu
Women from Bulilima and Mangwe districts have celebrated the introduction of Qogelela project in their wards as they highlighted that it has reduced poverty levels in their rural areas as women could now afford to buy basic commodities and provide school stationary for their children.
Qogelela is a project run by the Community Foundation for the Western Region of Zimbabwe, it is currently running in Plumtree where women from the rural areas meet every week and make $0.50 or $1.00 contributions each, which are loaned to the group members at repayment interest of 10 percent.
The women who joined the initiative because of one common factor, poverty, use these funds to start up different projects that generate money for them and in turn use the income to buy each other livestock as well as basic commodities.
“Sesike sathengelana inkomo each member yathola, salandela futhi sathengelana inqola each member yathola silandelile futhi this year sesithengelane amadonki each member yathola (We have bought each other cows, scotch carts and donkeys and each member has received their own.),said Judith Ncube from Vusanani Cooperative.
The women said depending on the funds they have, they will agree on what they should buy each other at the end of the year. This is to avoid a scenario where they will distribute money and some fellow members use the money for the wrong purposes and hence risk stagnancy in the project.
Khethiwe Moyo from Muka Uzwitile group said that some of the community women did not get the idea of Qogelela but with the progress they have made some women envy them and want to be part of their community groups and initiatives.
“Sikhuluma nje khathesi abanye sebelenkukhu lembuzi, abanye sebenelisa ukuthi nxa sebakhe indlu yafika kubanga elingehlula, ikhuphuke indlu iphele (As we speak others now have chickens, goats and others have managed to finish building their houses),” Khethiwe added.
Bekezela Ndlovu from the Ngwanyana Sibambene cluster, told Amakhosikazi media that her group’s first project was sewing and selling seat covers. When they noticed that the money was insufficient they added the chicken layers and the cake baking projects. Bekezela added that they would like to learn how to bake quality bread for selling to local bakeries.
She went ahead to highlight that the community appreciates the existence of their group as they have donated to the local schools by giving school children books and paying school fees for orphans.
The projects officer at Community Foundation for the western Region of Zimbabwe, Buhle Ndlovu said the Qogelela programme was on-going in 11 communities of Bulilima and Mangwe districts. She stated that through this initiative, women have also ventured into leadership positions where some of them are councillors in these districts.
“Kwezezimali ezomnotho kuyabancedisa omama ukuthi bazithuthukise, benelise ukuthi bathole imali besenza amabhizimusi atshiyeneyo,bebhadalela abantwana ischool fees, bethenga izigqoko, besenza lokhu lalokhuyana (This helps women when it comes to the wealth and development issues as they manage to get money from the multiple projects they do, enabling them to afford paying school fees for their children, buy them clothes and do other things )” said Buhle Ndlovu.
She added that their target was to reach all the 39 wards in Bulilima where their main aim is to raise 10 million US dollars by the year 2026 and this will mark the organisation's ability to move on to other districts.
The veterinary services also had a stand at the expo where they equipped women with information on keeping the livestock they would have bought using the money generated through Qogelela . The women were taught on livestock management issues such as dosing, dipping, castrating and de-worming.