BY MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI
A LOCAL non-governmental organisation, Hand in Hand Zimbabwe, is using the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show (ZAS) and many other platforms to link emerging rural entrepreneurs with local and external markets in a bid to build socio-economically resilient communities.
The organisation took advantage of the ongoing ZAS and the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in April to showcase wares and products from different and diverse enterprises owned by entrepreneurs in the seven districts of Bulilima, Chikomba, Chirumanzu, Gwanda, Lupane, Nkayi and Shurugwi, where it operates in.
The products and wares, exclusively made by entrepreneurs, include baskets, jams, dried vegetables, nutritional porridge and woven mats.
Hand in Hand Zimbabwe chief executive officer Felix Tete told NewsDay that his organisation would continue to link rising entrepreneurs with established markets.
“Our aim is to build socio-economically resilient communities, with a special focus on women and youths through various empowerment projects. We’ll continue to use various marketing platforms such as the ZAS to bring maximum exposure to our entrepreneurs,” he said.
Since 2015, the organisation has supported over 10 000 rural businesses, trained more than 17 000 entrepreneurs and has facilitated the creation of more than 11 000 jobs in rural Zimbabwe.
Gladys Nyoni (58), one of the entrepreneurs from ward 29 of Gwai, Lupane, whose wares were on exhibition at the Hand in Hand Zimbabwe stand at the agricultural show, said she was happy to be honoured to be at such a huge platform to market and sell her wares.
“Things are now hard and people on the other side constantly have no money to buy our wares, so I am very happy that we have managed to get customers from all walks of life including buyers from various countries in Southern Africa,” Nyoni said.
“I had been keeping these wares for five months with no linkages, but I’m happy I have finally managed to sell them. I feel empowered.”
Hand in Hand Zimbabwe helps marginalised people in rural communities, particularly women, to create better livelihoods for themselves and their families through its flagship project, the Jobs Creation Programme (JCP).
JCP encompasses a self-help approach that is premised on a four-pillar model involving social mobilisation into self-help groups; training in entrepreneurship and economic development; facilitating access to micro-finance and facilitating market linkages and value addition.