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Growing Entrepreneurial Capacity in Ushewekunze

Stan Mujanja, a 60-year-old welder, mastered his craft during a career that ended in 2001,forcing him to become a casual laborer on nearby farms.

Today, Mujanja is among the benefiting participants who is utilizing cash from the DCA Urban Social Assistance program to build a business and train his nephew to take over the business.

“What I am seeing in my community is that people need window and door frames, so I can see an opportunity to build the business. I already saved enough money from the program to buy a welding machine, welding rod, a generator, and a vice, so I am already on my way. In fact, I can say I am a businessman” laughed Munjaja.

DCA, with the generous funding support of the European Union, is assisting marginalized and poor communities to build their own resilience capacities to respond to natural hazards, economic instability, or threats from violence and conflict.

“What is important about this development is that all the businesses that we identified are born from ideas from participating community members and are therefore organic in nature. It is not us telling community what businesses to create. As such, these businesses are much more likely to succeed in the future,” said Mads Lindegard, DanChurchAid Zimbabwe Country Director.

DanChurchAid is supporting the marginalized poor population in Ushewekunze, Harare South, to become business owners through its Urban Social Assistance Program.

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Identified business ventures coming up include market gardening, sewing, vending, poultry and rabbitry, and welding.

Maidei Marufu has a thriving market garden where she grows green vegetables including kale and spinach, other vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and various varieties of potatoes. She also grows strawberries, different herbs -mint, parsley, rosemary, and sugar cane, on the small patch outside her two-roomed house.

She is currently selling her produce to people in the neighborhood despite the visible potential to expand her market base.

Since starting the Urban Social Assistance Programme in December 2019, DCA has observed that traditional mixed gardens have ecologically sound and regenerative properties.

This, in addition to research conducted by the United Nations that found that urban home gardens contribute an important percentage of total non-grain urban food supply in many developing countries, adding significantly to urban food self-sufficiency.

Angela Mapfumo suffered a stroke in 2020, shortly after joining the DCA program and receiving training on how to breed ducks and chickens. In addition, doctors advised that she had high blood pressure and gout. After a week in hospital, she suddenly found that she urgently needed cash to pay for hospital bills, purchase chronic medication, over and above existing household expenses.

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“It was a very difficult time for us as a family,” said Emmanuel Dongo, Mapfumo’s husband. But we were able to get through it because of the poultry project that DCA had helped us to establish. We had money coming in from the sale of the ducks and chickens, which is what we used to cover the medical bills.”

Through business training workshops conducted jointly with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, DCA has been building community capacity on basic management, including financial and record keeping. These skills are being widely implemented by program participants like Betina Ndlovu, and Juliet Chipurira who are selling confectionery, fruits, and vegetables at small neighborhood kiosks, to assist with household bills, school fees and other basic costs.

The program supports 6,000 beneficiaries in Bulawayo and 6,000 in Harare and is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Agritex and, other local government departments. This includes the support of the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Victim Friendly Unit.

Through the program, DanChurchAid is among other things, restoring dignity to the urban poor, improving household food consumption, safeguarding the most vulnerable including the girl child, and preventing sexual and gender-based violence in the community.

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