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ZET Blog: A History of Rafiki Girls Centre

Rafiki means friend in Swahili, and that’s exactly what Rafiki Girls Centre is. A friend to disadvantaged girls, offering empowerment and opportunity through education and training. Throughout Zimabwe’s history, the girlchild has been the most vulnerable – under pressure to take on the majority of domestic work and care, often forced into child marriage, pregnancy or labour, and excluded from education.

Due to the economic troubles of the last twenty years, their situation has exacerbated – with girls often dropping out of school, engaging in risky sexual and employment practices, and exposing themselves to HIV and other disease.

Rafiki stood as a friend for these girls, offering support and education that they could use to build and change their lives. Today we have more than 600 graduates, with 85% going onto access further education or training.

 

For example, Rafiki was a friend to Tinotenda. When she joined the centre, she was a struggling orphan who could not afford her HIV medication. Now she has started her own business to fund her studies.

 

Rafiki was a friend to Michelle, who used her nursing training at Rafiki to go on and qualify as an ambulance driver and paramedic for Harare Hospital.

 

 

It is unclear what the future holds for Zimbabwe, with elections coming up and the economy remaining turbulent. It is clear though, that girls are all too often left behind in development, and for as long as it is needed, Rafiki will be there to be a friend to girls in need.


ZET Blog: Child Abuse and Child Protection in Zimbabwe

Our longest-standing partner, Trinity Project, has recently expanded their work to focus on all aspects of child rights and child protection, beyond just access to legal identity documents. This involves a number of new exciting projects aimed at: improving and increasing children’s services and programmes in Zimbabwe; improving children and their families’ awareness of children’s rights and needs; and supporting children through individual legal, practical or emotional challenges.

This change arose from project officers seeing the need on the ground and being compelled to do more to support children in need. Common challenges for children included a lack of access to healthcare, education or social services – leaving them vulnerable to disease, abuse, malnutrition and often unable to complete education, raise an income or escape the traps of poverty.

A recent study, funded by UNICEF and run by the University of Edinburgh, looked into the prevalence of child abuse in Zimbabwe. The study (Fry, 2016), found that physical, emotional and sexual abuse were extremely common among young people in Zimbabwe and recommended that child protection was put at the forefront of government policy and civil society priorities. Some of the findings are listed below:

• “Physical violence is the most common type of violence experienced during childhood among respondents aged 18-24. About two thirds of females and three quarters of males had experienced physical violence by a parent or adult relative before the age of 18 (63.9 per cent and 76 per cent, respectively). Respondents also reported experiencing different forms of emotional violence as children. A total of 12.6 per cent of females and 26.4 per cent of males had been humiliated in front of others before the age of 18, and 17.3 per cent of females and 17.5 per cent of males had been made to feel unwanted” (Fry, 2016)

• “Sexual violence during childhood was more common among girls than among boys. One in five girls aged 18-24 had experienced unwanted sexual touching before the age of 18 (20.2 per cent) compared to 5.6 per cent of boys. A total of 15 per cent of girls had experienced attempted sex (3.8 per cent for boys), 9 per cent experienced physically forced sex (0.4 per cent for boys) and 7.4 per cent had experienced pressured sex (1.4 per cent for boys)” (Fry, 2016)

• “After controlling for age and socio-economic status in the regression models, the significant risk factors for experiencing violence varied for boys and girls depending on the type of abuse they experienced. One risk factor that was common for both boys and girls across all types of violence was having early childhood experiences (before the age of 13 years old) of abuse, thus highlighting the importance of early intervention” (Fry, 2016)

• “There are very few national studies on emotional, sexual or physical violence against children in sub-Saharan Africa, and there are no empirical studies published in Zimbabwe on emotional violence. Nurturing environments that foster successful development are critical to children’s well-being. Understanding what creates negative interactions within the peer or family context is essential for violence prevention. This secondary analysis provides, for the first time, comparable national population-based estimates that describe the nature and magnitude of violence against children in Zimbabwe” (Fry, 2016)

• “All forms of violence against children place a significant burden on children and young adult’s health and well-being. Emotional abuse is associated with increased suicide attempts for both boys and girls, and sexual violence was associated with reported lifetime experiences of suicide ideation, unwanted pregnancy and alcohol use among both girls and boys and smoking among boys, and other health outcomes” (Fry, 2016)

Unsurprisingly, the study concluded that increased levels of early abuse would hamper a child’s development, causing them mental and emotional harm and often leading them to display unusual behaviours in adulthood – either replicating abusive behaviours or exhibiting deviant beliefs and behaviours towards themselves and others.

Trinity Project now works to provide emotional and practical support for children through weekly workshops, teaching them about child abuse, their rights, and how to get help. It also works directly with parents and communities about types of abuse, how to recognise abuse, and the importance of not practicing abusive behaviours.
By creating early warning systems, safe spaces and awareness, Trinity helps the children of Bulawayo and Matabeleland to identify and protect against child abuse and other child protection issues. This makes us a pioneer of UNICEF’s recommended best practice in Zimbabwe, mainstreaming child protection as a means to empower and support children.

Written by Hannah O’Riordan, ZET Operations Manager


ZET Blog: Diaspora as Dilemma

Please note: this article originally appeared on The Global Native’s website, and was kindly shared with us by the organisation’s director, Na Ncube.

In June 2013, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, delivered a lecture in London hosted by the Royal African Society. I noted with interest that within the first seven minutes of her 50-minute speech, she made mention of the important contribution(s) by the African diaspora in Africa’s development under the rubric of Domestic Resource Mobilization; this is in keeping with the recent stance of the African Union towards what is now its Sixth Developmental Region. To paraphrase Her Excellency, she made note on how investment in Africa by Africans has doubled, currently making up 17% of all foreign direct investment projects on the continent. She further cited a quote from the International Business Herald of 8 May 2013 which read ‘Surprise! Africa’s fastest growing Foreign Direct Investor is now Africa.’

Indeed, the contribution(s) of Africans in diaspora have become a catch phrase in today’s development jargon. Countless articles by both Africans and other scholars advocate for Africa’s diaspora as the next panacea, or ‘magic bullet’, for solving the development quagmire. More so in the advent of the African Union’s Golden Jubilee, various articles have rehashed the same information in perhaps a slightly different order but mostly outlining what is perhaps already known or even taken for granted. I take no issue with these publications and indeed their information is valuable, however, what has since taken my attention is that many such claims seem to conclude pretty much the same way. Typically they outline the advantages of the African diaspora over donor agencies and conclude by saying that African governments, or the AU or some other supranational body should ensure that the diaspora are taken into account in moving African development into a bright future.

However, none of these have given any real analytical thought to the nuts and bolts of this engagement, nor do they offer any concrete way forward, they seem to chant a nice slogan and leave the reader hanging. For example such claims that ‘the AU’s ‘Sixth Zone’ policy cannot just be something on paper alone… [but the AU must]… rely more on diaspora African remittances to speed up African development in the 21st century.’ No further information is given regarding what steps the AU is expected to take or, more importantly how such remittances are to be accessed. Nor does it elucidate what an African in diaspora should do next once they get all charged up and passionate about African development.

This paper attempts to open up this subject which is a continuation of an older debate by coming to grips with, and trying to understand the details of what the AU is dealing with in its ‘Sixth Region’. My aim here is not to be prescriptive, exhaustive or overly informative, rather I wish to push forward a debate that, to me, seems to have come to an impasse; what I will call here, ‘the diaspora as dilemma’. The article will attempt to understand this dilemma by first understanding the nature of this Sixth Region; then the internal problems which I believe are at the root of engaging the diaspora, and which perhaps have a far more reaching consequence than the magnitude of the sums of remittance flows that are sent to Africa; followed finally by a discussion of two ways of addressing this issue, primarily as a way to hopefully start a deeper debate concerning the “how” aspect of the diaspora / institutional engagement.

WHAT DEBATE?

To most professionals in the development field, 2009 was a watershed year for not only African, but ‘Southern’ development when Dambisa Moyo published her highly influential book, Dead Aid (Moyo, 2009). She was further named one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine that same year, so she obviously struck a nerve. What was striking about Dead Aid is that many aspects of the argument were actually not new, but they had simply not be put together in a way that simplified and basically ‘undressed’ the development industry and offered a way forward. Alternative approaches to development have since become a preoccupation of many Africans who become vocal in the debate because they could finally give words to their discomfort and frustrations. This understanding gave a clear framework by which the African diaspora can engage development. However, since then, while the message has gone viral, it has also found itself in a cul-de-sac as Africans seem to simply chant how much better the diaspora are at development than foreign agents, so let us begin there.

The diaspora have become a new fad in development since the turn of the millennium, though they existed for ages and remittances have always been channelled to Africa and other developing countries such as Mexico, (where remittances make up the highest contribution to the country’s GDP); yet the diaspora had no real ‘presence’. Meanwhile, in 2002, the World Bank released a report outlining that remittances from relatively poor migrant workers in rich countries (the diaspora) were much higher than the combined total of government aid, private bank lending and International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank aid and assistance (World Bank, 2002). Since then, there has been much interest in the diaspora due to the high figures they remit even in the face of the global economic and financial crisis; in fact, it has been observed that remittances are even higher in the context of crises. The following year, 2003, the African Union (AU) amended Article 3 of their constitution and essentially identified the African diaspora as its sixth regional block (Davies, 2007). The African Union recently held their ‘first ever Global African Diaspora Summit…in South Africa…attended by the Heads of State and representatives from 54 African nations’ (AU, 2012) as an official bid to engage the African diaspora as highlighted in Dr Zuma’s recent lecture in London. These progressions of euphoric institutional interest to capture the diaspora for development have provided ‘visibility’ for the diaspora, many of whom have responded by ‘getting organised’ to take advantage of this limelight. Yet there has been no clear path from the diaspora regarding what concrete partnership they want, beyond chanting mantras and slogans, and perhaps this is a telling point. While there is a clear willingness by both parties to engage, the devil seems to lie in the details; how does this engagement take place and in what form? To get to grips with this, it is helpful to understand first of all who the diaspora is (are).

DIASPORA AS DILEMMA

‘Diaspora’ was originally used to denote populations that were forcibly removed from a homeland and though they settled elsewhere, still orientate their lives, and plans to returning to such a homeland as in the case of the Jews and recently the Palestinians. It then made its way into public discourse by including any group that either moves across national borders yet retains strong ties to their homeland, or in some cases, national borders move over people producing the same effect. In its current use it also includes a means to evoke, mobilise, or create support for a project (political or otherwise) in the service of a homeland (Faist, 2010). Without going into detail, there is a raging debate underway regarding the use of the word and its recent ‘expansion’ which some thinkers believe dilutes its meaning. Here, I argue that this is not so relevant, what is important is that the word has been captured by institutions, people with a historic heritage in Africa, as well as recent migrants to create a sense of homogeneity, or construct a constituency through which they are able to make collective social claims. For example, migrants (as diaspora) now advocate for better incorporation in their host countries, though ironically, if they were to assimilate to their hosts, they would stop being ‘diaspora’. It is for this reason that to remain relevant, the ‘diaspora’ must remain a ‘dilemma’ with both feet placed firmly across two borders or continents as the case may be. Therefore, what matters most is not what the word ‘means’ but what it ‘does’, the proverbial rose by any other name.

In other words, by successfully fusing various forms of migration and cross boarder processes (or transnational processes), ‘diaspora’ has effectively ‘brought migrants ‘back in’ as important social agents’ (Faist, 2010). Effectively, the diaspora can be defined as ‘the exemplary communities of the transnational moment’ (Tölölyan, 1991). So, all this means that ‘diaspora’ has become a confusing term which can mean very different groups of people, for example, ‘expatriates’, ‘migrants’, ‘ exiles’, ‘historic communities’ and ‘refugees’ even and in fact it forms this unruly collection with many groups jostling for very different agendas under the same heading. This is a large component of why diaspora engagement is such a difficult undertaking for any institution on a practical level, because to engage this group, one has to effectively ‘invent’ it from above. The AU for examples has done this by defining African diaspora as ‘peoples of African origin living outside the continent [of Africa], irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the Continent and the building of the African Union’.

Immediately one can question if ‘inactive’ migrants or others are not diaspora, or what of ‘national diasporas’, those who move within Africa itself, and want to support their country of origin while living in another, and so forth. While ‘diaspora is a necessary way to ‘group’ a constituency, its inclusiveness makes it equally unworkable, taken practically, if the AU wishes to sign an agreement with the diaspora, for example, whose signature would be on the agreement? This practicality infuses every engagement, bearing in mind that the primary reason for institutional euphoria in the diaspora is financial, in the form of remittances, investment and other financial flows. Quantifying these amounts effectively made the diaspora visible, yet there aren’t too many practical ways to ‘operationalise’ that money institutionally. Yet in reality, it doesn’t matter if remittances or other investments can be captured or not, their presence has opened up a space for those outside Africa to reengage with institutions, politically, or for development or any other cause. It can be argued that due to its lack of homogeneity, the Sixth Region is only useful as an ‘instrument’, where institutions can only speak and act on its behalf without any scope for the diaspora to meaningfully engage, simply on practical considerations alone. So, in light of this, and instead of voicing what the AU hasn’t done, or ought to do, let’s consider what options exist for creating a meaningful engagement with its Sixth Region.

THE DILEMMA OF LEADERSHIP

I would like to take a practical example to portray this aspect of my monologue. There are two diaspora organisations in the UK that I am involved with, since I don’t have their permission, I will name them Organisation ‘A’ and ‘B’. The first has been in operation for many years and is considered a leading authority on African diaspora and development issues and is currently recognised by both diaspora and institutions alike. The second is fairly new and was formed by various individual organisations to engage government institutions in the UK as a way of providing a platform for a ‘single voice’ for its constituency in the diaspora.

Organisation ‘B’ has experienced a myriad of problems in trying to consolidate and represent its constituency in the diaspora, effectively for the reasons highlighted above. Due to acute heterogeneity, as soon as anyone stands up to say they are taking leadership of the diaspora, they are attacked almost immediately…By the diaspora themselves. Questions run along their source of legitimacy to lead over others. A spokesperson of the group was cited saying ‘we represent our constituency even if they are not aware of it’. Most complain that there has not been any consultation and no one has voted in this group or that individual and so forth.

Therefore as an institution such as the AU, engaging those who claim such leadership lands the AU in the middle of a mine field. In this case, the crisis of representation (the democratic approach) has created more splinters than unions. Therefore if this constituency called the Sixth Region be formally grouped together, organised, led or governed, what hope is there for the African Union and indeed any other institution to engage meaningfully with these diaspora? These groups who seem to have no agenda of their own and only scuffle and fight for relevance in this newly created visible space for engagement?

A second approach, something I have called elsewhere, ‘Beyond the Engagement Impasse, Leadership without Representation’, is exemplified here by organisation ‘A’. Let’s first consider how this attention on the diaspora is mirrored in examples like the NGO experience. In the early 1980s, the developing states had been the main driver of development and the primary recipients of donor aid. At that time, donors underwent serious fatigue and blamed state corruption for the failure of development. NGOs then stepped in as a means to sidestep state corruption, but for all their advantages of being flexible, on the ground and ‘uncorrupt’, NGOs have come to resemble the very same states they had replaced. Currently, the NGOs are viewed as the problem in development and the diaspora are in pole position to occupy that space. However, with the problems above, it appears that to remain relevant and effective, the diaspora must work within their strength and learn from the NGO experience. They must remain a ‘dilemma’ and operate in a ‘different’ way from all other actors in the development field. As in the case where leadership in the diaspora cannot be by ‘representation’ rather, it must be by example. The effectiveness of simply doing the job without making claims has been the basis of power for organisation ‘A’, ironically, no one challenges that legitimacy in the diaspora nor in any institution. It may seem ironic that though operating in the West within the ‘confines’ of democracy, this organisation has emerged through; let’s call it an African form of leadership – by strength and good example, not by rhetoric. I argue here that perhaps this formation is a clue that the AU can take forward to policy implementation.

CONCLUSION: A NEW APPROACH?

As highlighted above, since diaspora now includes just about anyone outside their national border, it now includes migrants and historic populations who circulate back and forth and not simply people who are “stuck” in place and long for home. As a result, those mobile agents (who weren’t previously included in the diaspora definition) have emerged as the most effective members, though they make up the elite portion of the diaspora. These elites (as well as institutions) actually ‘negotiate and constitute what one may call disaporaness’. This means that not only are these groups acutely heterogeneous and difficult to engage, they are also a moving target which are ‘formed’ and ‘unformed’ rather rapidly. Yet even in the face of these challenges, there are already various formations in place through which the diaspora can engage with the AU such as: the African Diaspora Investment Fund for channelling remittances, African Diaspora Volunteers Corps, as through African Parliamentarians in the Diaspora who could hold annual parliamentary meetings, AU-Diaspora Foundation/Trust to support the AU-Diaspora Initiative to name a few initiatives.

While this article does not seek to answer every question, it aimed to bring to light the different difficulties that may be faced by the AU in its diasporic engagement and seeks to suggest a direction for such engagement. In our work at The Global Native, for instance, we have approached remittances as a form of alternative development finance which I will provisionally name ‘Diaspora Direct Investment’ not to be ‘accessed’ or ‘captured’ by institutions, rather to be ‘partnered’ with. This conclusion developed from questioning that since remittances were there all along (in addition to development aid), why then does everyone seem to think remittances alone can now solve the problem which both forms of finance did not? In other words, this ‘visibility’ on its own does not turn remittances by magic into the panacea that is longed for by every development practitioner. However, by thinking practically through a simple form of community shares, remittances can be turned from consumption to investment and remain essentially ‘informal” flexible funds that the everyday migrant is familiar with. Such practical approaches must form the cornerstone for the AU’s future effort to ‘developmentalise’ its Sixth Region.

Written by Na Ncube, Director of The Global Native


ZET Blog: Moringa – The Miracle Tree

Foundations for Farming have recently been developing a plot of moringa plants, a very cheap and easy to grow crop that has many nutritional and medicinal benefits and can be produced in high yield for high profit. In this article, staff from Foundations explain more about the crop and how it can be replicated by people all over Zimbabwe and sub-Saharan Africa – no matter what land or resources you have!

Moringa is native to northern India but has become naturalised across most parts of Zimbabwe and in tropic and sub-tropic parts of Africa. Amazingly, it naturally grows in most of the regions where people suffer most from poor nutrition and food insecurity. Moringa trees grow easily even in marginal soils with very little care and minimal water requirements. The tree can be grown from seeds or cuttings and the leaves can be harvested just eight months after planting. Some people allow it to grow into a large tree – it can grow up to ten metres tall – while other people cut it back and encourage it to grow into a more bulky shrub, or even a hedge, which makes harvesting the leaves and seeds easier. The trees can also be grown in pots, bags or even the smallest yards, if they are kept pruned and controlled. This makes them ideal to grow in high density urban-areas, or even in a large pot on an apartment balcony, as well as in rural areas, particularly those areas which receive minimal rainfall.

Not only is moringa extremely easy to source and grow, but it has loads of fantastic benefits for nourishment and medicine. According to WebMD, “moringa is used for ‘tired blood’ (anaemia); arthritis and other joint pain (rheumatism); asthma; cancer; constipation; diabetes; diarrhoea; epilepsy; stomach pain; stomach and intestinal ulcers; intestinal spasms; headache; heart problems; high blood pressure; kidney stones; fluid retention; thyroid disorders; and bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic infection.” Researchers in Senegal also found that it also helped pregnant women to meet their daily intake requirements and to produce more milk, due to its high levels of calcium, iron, protein and vitamins.

Moringa has gained popularity more broadly because it is highly nutritious, making it a popular supplement to meet deficiencies in diet. This is particularly helped in malnourished communities. The leaves and pods of the Moringa tree play a significant role in the nourishment of people of all ages. A 100g serving of fresh leaves is enough to meet the daily requirements of a child aged between 1-3 years for calcium, 75% iron, and 50% of the protein requirement as well as other essential nutrients.  However moringa is also more versatile than this, and can be consumed as raw leaves, uncooked leaves, powder, roasted seeds, boiled pods and beans, and the flowers can also be eaten and added to dishes.

Moringa could be transformational for villages or deprived urban areas across Zimbabwe, providing nutrition and medicine for communities who cannot afford traditional sources. It is easy to find, grow and use – and due to its many benefits, it also sells for a fair profit too. If you have any more questions about moringa crops, please do get in touch with the team at ZET/Foundations for Farming and we would be happy to help.

Written by Kuda Kutesera, Project Officer, Foundations for Farming
Edited by Hannah O’Riordan, Operations Manager, Zimbabwe Educational Trust


ZET Blog: Marriage in Zimbabwe

Trinity Project staff in Bulawayo work tirelessly to provide vulnerable women and children across Matabeleland with the legal documents they need to access socioeconomic rights and services – including education, healthcare and welfare which are their basic human rights.

As part of this work, they visit local homes and communities and learn more about the people we support and the circumstances that left them unregistered and unprotected. We have noticed that often, women and children are left vulnerable and unable to register because of their marital status.

Unmarried women or women in unregistered marriages often have very little legal protection in terms of property, land, inheritance or divorce settlements. Children from unmarried parents often have to go through far more loops and proofs to get their births and citizenship registered, leaving them unable go to school, hospital or vote. As a result, many women find comfort in marriage certificates and registration. However, this is often not prioritised, or even when marriages are registered, due to patriarchal legislation and customs, this is not always enough.

For example, project officers supported Esinathi in the first few months of this year. She travelled a lot for work, but one day when she returned from South Africa she found her husband with another woman. When she complained, her husband kicked her out of their home! She appealed to her husband and his family to reclaim her rightful place in her home and to split their property equally, as she believed was her right after a marriage ends.

Unfortunately, although they both paid into the house costs and accounts, all the deeds and receipts were in her husband’s name. Esinathi had no choice or legal rights, and lost all her property due to this mistake with no legal recourse or complaint to take. In Zimbabwe, marriages do not automatically entitle you to a split of property and women must be encouraged to jointly register all property, homes and other assets to protect them in such circumstances.

Another good example of the impact of registering marriages is the case of John and Tanyaka (name changed). Marriage is an important institution in African culture, and there are certain social norms and practices which must be followed to consider a couple married in the traditional sense

Tanyaka and John met and fell in love, so agreed to be married with the consent of their elders and moved in together. Soon after, Tanyaka became pregnant and had a happy, health baby boy. However, Tanyaka’s parents discovered this and rejected the marriage. The couple had cohabited and had a child before a traditional or legal ceremony had been conducted, and before lobola (bride price) had been paid to the bride’s parents. As such, the marriage was never formally registered with the registrar, or fully accepted by the maternal relatives and so accepted culturally either.

Tragically, Tanyaka became ill and passed away while her son was still an infant. When John went to register his child’s birth, he discovered a number of challenges. Since he was not married to the mother, he could not register a child alone. Since the mother had passed away, he needed the child’s maternal relatives to support the registration and they refused until he had paid lobola.

John was forced to provide his wife’s family with $1000 and two cows, working overtime to procure the money with a newborn baby and grieving for his wife. After he had paid this, he approached them again to try and get his son registered and yet they still refused. Desperate, John reached out to Trinity Project whilst officers were visiting his village. We were able to provide legal advice and assistance, and eventually we are happy to report that his maternal relatives understood the importance of registration, and supported John in getting his son registered.

It is essential that people in Zimbabwe are made properly aware of their legal rights, and that whether they choose to marry or not, they know to register themselves and their children, to properly enshrine their rights and entitlements. Trinity continues to work tirelessly to support vulnerable families already in this position, and raise awareness amongst institutions and communities to help protect people in law and in practice for years to come.


ZET Blog: We’re in the news!

Earlier this year, Yorkshire Times, an exciting local online newspaper, did a feature on ZET. You can read it on their website in its full glory (http://yorkshiretimes.co.uk/#From-A-to-Z–how-a-Leeds-charity-is-educating-the-women-of-Zimbabwe) or catch it below:

It’s a time of upheaval and change for the African country, but a Leeds charity has set firm plans for the future of young women in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Educational Trust (ZET) based just outside Leeds city centre was founded by resident Vuli Mkandla and provides funding for education for some of the most vulnerable women in Zimbabwe.

Born in Zimbabwe but resident in Leeds for forty years, Vuli originally set up the organisation to support disadvantaged Zimbabweans to access education in the UK.

Now the Trust is supporting young women to access training and education in their own surroundings.

Hannah O’Riordan, Operations Manager at ZET said: “”We are in essence a charity supporting individuals into education as a route out of poverty.

“Though our work has shifted to projects based in Zimbabwe, we continue to be supported by all three Leeds universities, as well as a number of local businesses, companies, schools, churches, charities and patrons – so our local presence is still very much felt.

“Our current work focuses on access to education and human rights, women and girls empowerment, and tackling the effects of poverty and climate change, through working with grassroots partners in Zimbabwe and supporting through fundraising, awareness-raising and outreach work here in Leeds.”

One of ZET’s projects is funding Rafiki, a training and business education programme for young women in Zimbabwe. The centre offers eight month courses for women aged between 17 and 25.

On average two women apply for each place of which there are only 60.

All are vulnerable, most have been abused.

Director of Rafiki, Hildah Mahachi told us how the programme changes the lives of women who have suffered indescribably.

“Patricia is one of the stories you will have read on our website, and she basically used the sewing and cooking skills she learnt at Rafiki to start her own business, designing and making her own clothes and products, baking and catering, and planning and running weddings and functions.

“First and for most, Rafiki gave me hope of life,” Patricia said.

“This is something that I did not have before I came to Rafiki. My future was blank all I know is that I was waiting for a man to marry me.

“Rafiki changed me from a nobody to somebody through giving me knowledge and equipping me with various skills.
I was given hope when I was hopeless. I looked down on myself but this has since changed following training. I now motivate other girls to see bright futures ahead of them even if their current situations seem hopeless.”

“Before the new president came in office I was losing hope… prices have been rising up and it has been difficult to access cash of which in my line of work I use cash to buy everything for business.

“I am hoping that with the change of leadership things will change for better so that my business can continue to run in a normal way. My hope is that positive change in the country will also bring positive change to my business.”

Hilda continues:”Beatrice came to Rafiki unemployed and uneducated with the dream of being a flight attendant, and used the skills she learned at Rafiki to gain a job and save up money to do flight attendant training”.

She now works for an airline.

“The Rafiki training gave me a chance of a lifetime. It was my stepping stone,” says Beatrice.

“I am an independent woman because I am now working and can take of myself and my family.

“I take care of my mother and have managed to put electricity in our house in Epworth, something that I could never have done if I was unemployed.

“My family is very proud of me! I know that besides me, Rafiki has transformed many other girls’ lives.

“I also know that everyone that has given to Rafiki has contributed to changing lives. Thank you Rafiki supporters !!!! My life will never be the same.”

Monica is an orphan raised in a children’s home. Her aspiration was to become a teacher.

She trained in primary school teaching at Rafiki and has used this to work in schools. Now she uses this salary to enrol for a university diploma in teaching.

“The trust has helped me grow physically and spiritually,” said Monica.

“I am working well and trying to develop myself more in every way I can academically.

“The situation in Zimbabwe is making it a bit difficult because you don’t get to be paid your proper salary which affects some areas in my life but I’m happy for now”.

Hilda told us: “Former Rafiki students are optimistic that the change in political leadership will also filter into other facets of the economy.

“They feel that Zimbabwe has potential to bounce back to its former glory, thereby providing opportunities for further development. This is a hope that continues to burn within our hearts at Rafiki and the country at large.

“As for the new girls they are grateful for the opportunity given them to improve their lives and change their misfortunes. Many say they had come to the end of the rope. They appreciate the gap that Rafiki covers for the girl child.

“This the second chance that their family members could not give them.”

Hannah continued and explained more of the support ZET provides.

“Our work is more important now than ever. Another of our partners, Trinity Project, is largely focused on supporting orphaned and vulnerable children, but also does work to provide vulnerable or marginalised women with legal support and advice so that they can fully claim their socioeconomic and civil rights.

“For example, Trinity supported a young women called Thembi who was being raped and abused by her uncle, to take him to court and win legal custody of her house. She had rightfully inherited it but then he had moved in and taken ownership of it ‘as payment for looking after her’.

“Trinity supports vulnerable women to access healthcare, education, social services and their legal entitlements by supporting them with advice, advocating on their behalf to courts, police and other officials, and by working with families and communities to break down the barriers to women’s empowerment.

“At home, the increased interest in Zimbabwe allows this often neglected and misunderstood country to receive much needed attention, and we hope to capitalise on this momentum to mobilise funds and awareness towards our work.”

 

Written by Scout Beck, Features Writer Yorkshire Times


ZET Blog: Site Visit 2018

March was an exciting month for the Zimbabwe Educational Trust team, as two of our trustees and our Operations Manager flew out to Zimbabwe to visit each of our partner projects: so that we could learn more about their work, the communities they work in, and plan for the future at this exciting and dynamic time for Zimbabwe.

 

Our trip began in Bulawayo, where we met with Trinity Project and were able to see some of the exciting work they are doing on birth registration and child protection in the city and surrounding rural areas. This included visiting some of the families who Trinity have helped through complicated birth registration cases.

One such case was Kimberley, a young girl who had been abandoned by her parents due to her severe disabilities. This made it very difficult for her grandmother to get her registered, which prevented Kimberley from accessing the education and specialist healthcare that she so desperately needs. Trinity have supported the family with funds towards groceries and healthcare, a wheelchair which enables Kimberley to be more active and mobiles, and makes caring for her much easier for her grandmother, and support through every step of the registration process. At the time we visited, Kimberley had just got the final documents she needed, and should be registered within the next few weeks.

We also got the chance to visit some of the Kids Clubs Trinity run in several districts. These are clubs where children have the chance to play and have fun (something they may not always have the opportunity for in their daily lives), but also learn about their rights and entitlements, and be taught empowering syllabuses. For example, we visited one workshop on Gender Based Violence for teenage girls, and one on child abuse and the right to education for a mixed group of young children.

As well as visiting some of the birth registration and community interventions that ZET have been supporting Trinity with for the last five years, we also got an exciting look into Trinity’s plan for the next five – seeing first-hand the exciting ways this organisation is expanding and developing. The major change is that Trinity is adopting a wider approach towards the entirety of child protection.

Birth registration is like the first step on a ladder towards a child’s empowerment. You first need this, to be able to access all the other steps, like education, healthcare, social security and legal protections. However, although it’s an essential step, it is only the first one. Trinity wants to protect children right the way through, and this involves tackling other barriers to child empowerment. For this reason, Trinity is now launching interventions that look at child abuse, child marriage, and other child protection issues. The most pioneering of these is economic strengthening projects – because parents need enough money to put food on the table, and send their children to schools and hospitals, if they are going to effectively protect their children’s rights. As part of this expansion, we visited some of the authorities Trinity is working with, such as local councillors, village heads and the Department of Social Services, and also visited some of these projects, such as income-generating community gardens. It is clearly a very exciting time for Trinity Project, and ZET were thrilled to see the project developing and helping so many people.

 

The next week, we travelled up to Harare to visit our other partners. The first, Rafiki Girls Centre, were please to show us round the centre, which is currently teaching two cohorts of students – one in the first stage of the course and learning basic transferrable life skills, and the other in the second stage training in specific vocational courses such as catering or nursing. We were lucky enough to be served a delicious lunch by the catering class, many of whom have unsurprisingly already been snapped up for employment by the most exclusive hotels in Harare when they graduate! Rafiki also showed us some of the products crafted by the students on the Design course, featuring gorgeous Zimbabwean designs and patterns.

 

We then spent the afternoon talking to students and graduates about their experiences with the centre: what they had learned, what their lives were like before, and how they benefitted from the training. One word came up time and time again – hope. Every student resoundingly agreed that despite their personal circumstances, they felt dejected and out of luck before they came to Rafiki, and the education they received helped them to feel hopeful again. And rightly so, as almost 90% of graduates go onto receive further education or employment after the training. It was inspirational to hear all these personal testimonies.

 

It was also an exciting time for Rafiki, who have just recently expanded to double the centre’s capacity. They have accommodated the increased demands on teachers and resources incredibly, and it was a privilege to see so many more women – particularly young struggling single mothers, who have been the main social group the expansion was opened up to – benefitting from the transformational opportunity of Rafiki training.

 

Finally, we visited Foundations for Farming, and walked round their expansive grounds to see first-hand the incredible impact of their sustainable and efficient farming methods – including hectares of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs, and maize plots up to seven foot tall! All this is grown without intensive gardening or machinery, without pesticides, sprays or enhancers, and without advanced water irrigation systems. The methods they use could be rolled out to any community or home-based farmer, for a low-cost low-effort approach with high yields so it was just unbelievable to see how effective it could be.

We also visited a school ZET has been funding since 2015, to see how their land plot and nutritional garden were coming along. It was great to see that St John’s Primary School were clearly still engaged with Foundations for Farming, were still implementing their methods – with good results! Not only had students had been able to practice the national agricultural curriculum in successful gardens, but the gardens had been so efficient that the school was able to introduce a food aid programme, ensuring that every child would have access to one school meal a day. This means they can be sure children are well-fed enough to concentrate and get the most out of their education, so it was very exciting to see the full benefits of the garden being enjoyed.

 

Overall, the site visit to our partners in Zimbabwe was very informative – helping us to learn more about our partners and they work they are doing, but also to get to meet with some of the individuals, schools and communities we have been working with for the last five years and see for ourselves the incredible impact ZET is having, working together for education and prosperity in Zimbabwe.

If you would like to find out more about the visit, please do get in touch with us on 0113 386 2257 or contact@zimbabweeducationaltrust.org.uk. If you would like to support our partners as they expand and continue to do fantastic work on the ground, you can do so at www.zimbabweeducationaltrust.org.uk/support-us.

 

All the best,

The ZET Team


ZET Blog: Community Outreach

This article outlines some of the personal stories of individuals reached and supported by Trinity Project through their community outreach channels, such as workshops in local communities, mobile office drop ins and legal advice clinics, and visiting homes and community centres. It shows some of the key barriers Trinity is facing surrounding registration, the value of their work supporting the most vulnerable, and the importance of localising this to individuals and communities. Last year, ZET made this possible by covering all transport costs, and we hope to do this and more in 2018.

The Story of… Tariro

Early birth registration is a misunderstood and neglected issue in Zimbabwe, despite being a human right recognised in national and international law. A birth certificate in most societies is a legal document that gives identity to a child and automatically bestows a number of rights such as the right to healthcare, education, property ownership, nationality and formal employment.

Birth registration is also essential for national planning. Birth registration helps authorities deliver essential services easily. According to UNICEF, neglect of civil registration has been identified as the most critical failure of development. It is clear that without vital statistics like number of births per year we cannot monitor progress towards our development. In Bulawayo for example a number of births have not been registered for various reasons. This can affect our development as we cannot allocate vital services and resources to people accurately.

Tariro is an unregistered 14-year-old orphan who lives with her maternal aunt, Portia. Portia is an unemployed widow and is HIV positive, so she struggles to put food on the table or care for her dependents. Tariro started school late due to a long period of sickness as a child, but found it extremely difficult when she joined school due to pressures at home and being bullied by other students. Eventually she was forced to drop out, and now supports her aunt by running small paid errands for other community members – perceiving no other options for her circumstance.

However, if she had been registered, Tariro would have been entitled to some sort of educational grant and welfare. This tragic case demonstrates the importance of obtaining a birth certification to improve and enrich your life.

The Story of… Constance

Zimbabwe is governed by patriarchal cultural values which direct behaviour and attitudes. For example, men are regarded as the head of households, and children expected to take their names. This means that in instances where the father is absent or not supportive of registration, mothers can often hold off from registering children in their own names out of fear of cultural stigma, and leave the children unregistered until the father returns or proffers use of his surname.

Officers have encountered countless cases with this issue being the cause of birth registration delay. One such case is Constance Sibanda, who has two children Michael (aged 8) and Nomazulu (aged 5). Constance believes that registering the children in her own surname is a taboo, and she will be disadvantaging them as the ancestors would turn their backs on them. She thinks that, it is best to try and persuade the father to come and register the children and that eventually she will be successful as they would realize their duty.

However, while she waits around, Michael, and Nomazulu remain aliens in their own country and as such cannot access the benefits of being citizens. If anything happens to Constance, the children will be left vulnerable and may not be able to access their inheritance. Many parents want their children to conform to cultural expectations ad rules, so that they may be protected and live good lives, but in this bid, they fail to protect them in the most basic of situations such as securing their future through proper documentation. Families often choose traditionally correct practices over legally correct practices, leaving their children vulnerable.

Trinity’s advice in this case is to secure your child and ensure that they receive what is rightfully theirs through legal registration. If the father later decides to be part of the child’s life, he can undergo the process of changing the surname, at a fee which he will be responsible to pay.

The Story of… Samantha

Samantha was a fifteen-year-old girl from rural Matabeleland. She was an orphan and lived in a very poor village where having three meals a day was a rare privilege. Everyone in the village wanted a way out of their poverty. Samantha was taken to the orphanage together with her other friends, which they all hated. They ran away from the orphanage and went to the city to search for jobs. They were employed in different places and so separated. Samantha worked as a maid for a widow, who ill-treated and overworked Samantha, whilst paying her with less and less food and wages.

She thought of leaving the job, deciding that being a street kid was better and living instead under a bridge with other street kids. She was the only girl in a group of older boys; here she was subjected to ongoing abuse and sexual assault and denied access to basic supplies including food, clothes, blankets and sanitary wear.

One day she was found under the bridge by a woman named Isabel, who took her in, clothed her and fed her. In time, Isabel adopted Samantha, funded her through the registration process, and enrolled her in education. Samantha excelled in school, and went on to study Law at university. As an adult, Samantha aims to pay forward this vital help, and has opened her own orphanage to care for vulnerable children and street kids, based off memories of her own experience. This is how she was discovered by Trinity Project, who often receive case referrals of local orphans.

All of these stories reveal the many opportunities made available to children only once they are registered and the many complexities in registering orphaned and vulnerable children. We are very grateful to Trinity Project staff for all their work in local communities out in the field, gathering these interesting and difficult stories and supporting people in vital need.

Written by Trinity Project Officers
Edited by Privilege Sibanda (Trinity Project) and Hannah O’Riordan (ZET)


ZET Blog: Reaching the Unreached

Foundations for Farming has impacted some of the most remote communities in Zimbabwe. These communities are either very remote or vulnerable as a result of high levels of poverty, and are not very well known in Zimbabwe or beyond. From each of these communities 30 participants were selected to attend a two week training course at Foundations for Farming in 2017. These 60 participants were selected with the hope that they would return to their communities with their new found knowledge and skills acquired during the training, and become pioneers of Conservation Agriculture in their communities. It was exciting to see the transformation of people’s ideologies in relation to farming and the importance of organics in farming, and has been successful in spreading the message and methods of Foundations for Farming amongst remote and unreached communities. In this article, we would like to share the stories and testimonies of these communities:

The Tsholotsho Community / The San People

The San people are a tribe of Africans who have lived nomadically within Southern Africa for many decades. With a population of around 2,500 in Zimbabwe, our group is located in the area of Tsholotsho close to the border of Botswana. Originally hunters and gatherers, this community has been faced with varying challenges in maintaining their livelihoods and integrating into the surrounding communities. For most, this training was a time filled with completely new experiences. It was the first time they had left their community; the first time they had travelled on a bus and the first time they had visited the capital city, Harare. They arrived with the clothes on their back and were welcomed by our hospitality staff with warm beds and new attire.

After the two week training, individuals in the group testified to the love and mercy they had experienced here at Foundations. One man said, “You treat us the same.” A truly powerful statement coming from one of Zimbabwe’s most marginalized communities. As all but one were illiterate, the group most benefited from the basic farming technology performed during the practical’s. Although their concentration was limited, as many had never sat in a classroom before, they managed to glean valuable knowledge from the hands on activities in the gardens and fields. Our basic training “Eating the Elephant” and our Sweet Potato demonstrations were definitely a hit.

One trainee thanked the team by saying that they were “Going back more beautiful” from their stay in Harare. Another emphasized the importance of unity, a trait he had learned in the leadership segment.

The Bindura Community

To call this group the Bindura ‘ladies’ is a little unfair, after all, there were two men. It’s just that the background stories from most of the women are so powerfully lodged in our hearts it’s difficult to stop them from floating to the foreground.

Stories of child brides forced into marriages with older men, leading to relationships littered with abuse and neglect of both wife and children. Although most of these women are ‘married’ – in reality they are widows of a customary lifestyle. They do not have live in husbands. Instead, several of them watch from a distance as their spouses enter a ‘Small House’ each evening … the term given for where Africa’s mistresses are housed in return for sexual favours.

Hungry and ragged children linger in the doorway of a dilapidated shack as they watch their father return ‘home’ each evening across the way – where he stays most of the time with another woman and the progeny of their love nest. In the meantime their mother (his wife), hovers over a little paraffin stove preparing the meagre meal she has managed to scrape together. Stuffing her pain and anger, she pulls her eyes away from the sight of him to concentrate on the task at hand. A sad, but all too familiar picture of Africa.

Some of the women we trained shared aspects of this difficult lifestyle and background with us, including the following excerpts:

“I was married at fifteen. My husband was continually unfaithful and we divorced. I married again, but my second husband has been jailed for raping his daughter, so I am now living with my parents.”

“I did not go to school for long because I had to look after my siblings. Later, I was forced into a child marriage with an older man. He now has a small house. I stay alone with our three children.”

“One of the ladies asked for the group to pray for her as her heart was broken. The following were her words; “My husband is not faithful, he is not satisfied with me, I am so confused, I don’t know what to do – but being here at FfF has helped very much.”

“I was married and gave my husband three daughters but he wanted a son. He took a small house, and the woman there has now given him a baby boy. Please pray for me, my heart aches with pain, he lives next door while I am trying to bring up our daughters alone.”

“When my husband left us and went away with his girlfriend it broke me. I started asking myself a lot of questions. What’s wrong with me? Now, being a single mother is the most difficult thing on earth, especially knowing that my husband is with someone else. He left us when his children needed him most.”

Thank you for reading, and supporting our work with these extremely vulnerable communities.

Written by Kuda Kutesera, Foundations for Farming
Edited by Hannah O’Riordan, ZET


ZET Blog: How to Apply for Funding from a Major Donor

The following article first appeared on Charity Choice’s blog, The Fundraiser, which you can visit here: http://www.charitychoice.co.uk/the-fundraiser/how-to-apply-for-funding-from-a-major-donor/719

Applying for large amounts of funding can be daunting. You can know your project inside out and have successful experience applying to plenty of other organisations, but struggle to translate this into applications for major donors.

Don’t worry – you’re not alone! Each donor has its own funding criteria and requirements, expecting you to be able to break your project into small chunks which fit neatly to their questions and priorities. If you work for a small organisation, or work with smaller partners, this can be a challenging and time-consuming process – and the pressure to get so much done in relatively little time can be off-putting.

ZET know this feeling well. ZET is a small NGO, based in Leeds, that works with partners in Zimbabwe to support communities into education and out of poverty. The organisation had always been relatively small scale, helping a few individual Zimbabweans and receiving no more than a few thousand pounds in funding each year.

This was until we partnered with Trinity Project in Zimbabwe and applied for a grant from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to fund a project to help children get birth certificates and enrol in school.
This marked a turning point for ZET: we secured £75k of funding from DFID for the next three years and were able to reach thousands of families and help hundreds of children to obtain birth certificates and enrol in school. So at this point, we would like to share our insights and experience for other organisations in the same boat.

What does the application usually ask for?

Each application is different, with different requirements and priorities – so the first tip should always be to read through all the eligibility criteria, application advice and FAQs.

That said, most major applications follow similar lines and will want to know:

• Who the organisation is: what are you about, what do you do, how do they contact you? (This will probably include them asking for your latest accounts and constitution or registration as a charity)
• What the project is: where did the idea come from, how do you know it is needed, who does it help, how does it work? (This will probably include them asking for a project budget.)

Most applications of this scale are very popular, so they progress in stages – with each stage requiring more detail. At first, usually all the funder will want is a concept note, which outlines the organisation and the project. If you are lucky enough to get through that stage, you will be asked to submit a full application, with other attachments and requirements – the road to full application can take more than one step though, with organisations being rejected at each stage.

So how can small organisations deal with these highly competitive grant application processes? Below are five top tips we’ve learned from our own experiences in successfully applying for major funding:

1. Choose an implementing partner who shares your vision

The foundation of your proposal will always be having the right partner – one with a clear vision of what they want to deliver and the changes they want to bring about. Together, you should establish some clear change objectives; referring to these throughout the proposal will help create a logical structure that is easy to follow.

2. Develop a theory of change

The fundraiser should act as an interlocutor, working with your partner to develop and refine your change objectives into a solid theory of change which can be communicated in a proposal. This will help donors to understand more clearly the context you work in, and the relevance and benefit of your project.

3. Demonstrate that you know your stuff

Most major donors will expect the projects they fund to achieve sustainable and transformational change; and ask for evidence for this in a proposal. A great way to prepare for these types of questions is to conduct and document a short political economy analysis, which demonstrates understanding of your context; its local political, social and economic realities and how change happens.

4. Show you’ve connected all the dots

The project activities included in the proposal should clearly emerge from the theory of change, so it is evident how each activity is expected to contribute to your change objectives. This should include strong mechanisms for Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. These give you the information you need to evaluate and improve performance throughout and will demonstrate to donors that your project is well thought-out and managed.

5. Get your budget right

Finally, the budget should be realistic, emerging from the activities you’ve planned to facilitate change (rather than working backwards from an arbitrary total figure). If you apply for too little you will struggle to implement your project, but if you apply for too much it may weaken your application. Instead, demonstrate your project’s value for money by writing budget notes, explaining how figures were reached and why they are necessary.

While not every application will be successful, by following the above tips you can help ensure that your applications are well targeted and that they tick the right boxes for prospective funders. So our final piece of advice is: go for it!

Written by Stuart Kempster (ZET Trustee) and Hannah O’Riordan (ZET Operations Manager)
Edited by Jenny Daw (Editor, The Fundraiser)

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