From the Director’s Desk

It is now nearly 18 months since I have been confirmed as Kunzwana’s Executive Director. I have already had the opportunity to travel around the country meeting our members who are now reaching more than 5,000. I am impressed with the sheer determination of women to come out of poverty.

I have also observed that extreme poverty is not based solely on a lack of material resources, such as income and assets. It is also invariably due to a lack of human resources such as education, skills, social resources such as supportive kinship relations ( in the case of orphans) and community solidarity.

Social inequalities based on religion (Apostolic Faith) and ethnicity worsen economic deprivation. Thus, people from lowly perceived tribal groups, displaced persons and minority religions are more likely to be extremely poor.

Gender discrimination cuts across these various dimensions of social inequality, consigning women from minority groups to an even more vulnerable position. Thus, they find it exceedingly difficult to escape conditions of extreme deprivation. Many projects designed to help women in extreme vulnerability correspondingly fail due to a number of intersecting constraints.

Since my coming into office, I have worked with the Kunzwana team building on strong foundations and emphasized on viable livelihood options, including skills and knowledge development. The club networks have been significant in alleviating the stress of daily survival, increasing self-confidence and to be able to take risks. Our focus on enterprise development supports women with start up funding to get an enterprise off the ground.

The inclusion of health and beauty programmes is based on the fact that ill health is often a major drain on poor women’s meagre resources. Women’s confidence is boosted after they make herb based body lotions, soap and candles. Kunzwana is working tirelessly mobilizing elite support through, inter alia, the now popular Zimbabwe Market Fair whose goal is linking rural women and youths traders to sustainable markets.