The Diocese of Masvingo’s central mission is to respond to human need with loving service. Since the birth of the new Diocese in 2001, the first task was to train and deploy clergy all around the diocese to spread the gospel, revive neglected churches and engage congregations into the work of the church. As a result Projects Committees were established in each village that knew and understood its needs. And communities organised themselves into effective units of action such as Mothers Union, Guilds for Girls, Fathers Union.
Issues Facing Masvingo
Food insecurity: As for the rest of Zimbabwe, drought and erratic rainfall patterns, a ruined infrastructure and an economy in collapse, means millions of people still can’t grow enough food to survive. Until food insecurity is properly addressed, outbreaks of diseases will continue to claim lives.
HIV: The high prevalence of HIV – an incredible 13.7% of the population – is a key barrier to development. 70% of the population rely on farming for their livelihoods, but HIV-related illnesses prevent them from growing the harvest they need. Zimbabwe has the highest rate of HIV orphans in the world, with one in four children having lost one of both parents to AIDS.
International partners were sought to fund and deliver aid programmes. When representatives from Episcopal Relief and Development came to Masvingo in 2007, the Projects Committees were able to collect data, identify needs, establish priorities and deliver services in a true partnership with its donors.
The development priorities established from 2007 were:
Malaria Prevention Programme
Between December 2008 and March 2010, the Diocese of Masvingo trained 300 community leaders and 262 malaria agents, sensitised 147,602 people on malaria education and prevention strategies and distributed more than 52,000 long-lasting insecticidal nets, in partnership with NetsforLife, a US Episcopal relief and development programme. District health records were used to identify the communities with the highest rate of malaria. There was targeted distribution to the most vulnerable populations (pregnant women and children).
HIV Care and Prevention
Working together, the five Anglican Dioceses in Zimbabwe have reached more than 16,000 people with HIV and AIDs information and counselling activities. 500 people living with HIV/AIDs have been reached with home-based care kits and supplementary feeding.
In October 2012, the Anglican Council of Zimbabwe discussed the issue of HIV/AIDS stigma and a Discrimination Index Coordinator. All the Zimbabwean bishops attended the meeting .The chair informed the meeting that interviews will be held soon. We had a pre-World AIDS Day stakeholders meeting on 30 November with other organizations like MSF, NAC, ZAN, ZNNP+, IOM, USPG and UMOJA in Beitbridge. The Bishop attended the meeting with the ARDEZ National Co-ordinator, the CHBC field officer and CHBC caregivers. The Bishop also had an opportunity to present a report on what the Diocese is doing in fighting against Stigma and Discrimination among people living with HIV and AIDS in Mutoredzanwa and Daramombe catchment area. CHBC caregivers also spoke about their awareness campaigns. On 1 December Field officers and CHBC caregivers attended the World HIV and AIDS Day Celebrations in Beitbridge.
International Volunteers Day Commemorations were held in Masvingo on 12 December and the Diocese of Masvingo was represented by Pardon Ranga. NGOs in Zimbabwe want volunteers to be recognized for the great work they are doing. Voluntary Services Overseas are fighting for volunteers to be included in the draft of the constitution so that they are recognized. At the Diocesan Synod on2-3 November 2012 at the Cathedral of St. Michael & All Angels in Masvingo, Father T. Chiwenga presented a report on HIV and AIDS Home Based Care Programme. Properties at Daramombe that had been taken by Kunonga were now returned to the Diocese after the Supreme Court judgment and we are now able to continue with the CHBC Programme in the first quarter of 2013 at Daramombe Mission. On 21 November 2012 there was tour of Daramombe clinic where the Home Based Care programme in the Daramombe catchment area operates from. On 2 December the Bishop addressed over one thousand Anglicans including members of the community who had gathered for the Rededication of Daramombe Mission Church. The Bishop informed the gathering that the HIV/AIDS Home Based Care Programme in the Daramombe area will begin in 2013
Caregivers continued to carry out domiciliary visits in the Mutoredzanwa area. As before; these visits are appreciated by the infected and the affected.
Farming for the Future
The Transfiguration Youth Training Centre at Chidzikwe equips the next generation of farmers with skills and resources for a sustainable livelihood.
In partnership with Holy Trinity Church, New York an agricultural training programme began in 2010 to help 200 young farmers each year to face challenges of arid, drought-prone climate and achieve self-sufficiency in an uncertain economic and political environment.
Its main targets include establishing a piggery project; a poultry project; a market gardening project and a dry land farming project, all these forming the basis of the Youth Skills training curriculum of study.
The planting of maize using the conservation farming method is central to the curriculum.
Conservation farming techniques aim to conserve soil and water by using surface cover (mulch) to minimise erosion and runoff and improve the conditions for plant establishment and growth. It involves planting crops and pastures directly into land with minimum or no tilling.
Our partners at Southwark Cathedral in London have been working with us to establish a new borehole, which will provide a more reliable water source on the site.
School Child Supplementary Feeding Programme
In 2008 the Zimbabwean dollar collapsed, land reforms decimated agricultural production and drought caused crops to fail. People were starving. From 2008 an emergency feeding programme was launched with funding from USPG, boosted by the Archbishops’ Zimbabwe Appeal to church congregations worldwide. Food aid was delivered to children in schools through the tight co-ordination of Diocesan schools, Mothers Union, Projects Committees, parents and village heads in the provision of a basic but nutritious midday meal. Thanks to a structure that reaches from the most remote village to the highest echelons of the Anglican Communion the Diocese of Masvingo was able to save lives and knit the church community closer together.
“Sadza” is the Shona term for the traditional maize porridge meal that kept children alive during this time. The grain, cooking oil and salt and soya mince that are needed to prepare a meal were not distributed to the community at random. Instead the school boards, projects committees and Mothers Union representatives in each school scrupulously measured out and allocated the quantities needed according to pupil numbers. Village heads were co-opted to gather firewood for cooking. Parents came to cook the meals at lunchtime, supplying cooking utensils and vegetables from their plots to supplement the sadza meal. Children, teachers and parents ate together from the same pot. Strict procedures for food hygiene and storage were observed.
Head of Daramombe school said: The project was introduced when the food situation in the country was critical. The children were feeding on wild fruits and teachers were not conducting lessons due to food shortages and very low salaries. Absenteeism of school children was high. Parents welcomed the project with enthusiasm. Teachers were able to return to work and helped by preparing food for the children. School enrolment was boosted by 45% by the programme since more children were coming to the school to learn and also get a plate of sadza.
School children found the energy to play sports as well as focus on lessons. The outcome was not simply to avert famine, although this was critical. It was to strengthen relationships between parents and schools and churches through the co-operation to survive.
Anglican Relief Development in Zimbabwe (ARDEZ)
A new partnership between the five Anglican Dioceses in Zimbabwe was established in 2011 to coordinate the Church’s development projects. The new Project Coordinator for Anglican Relief Development in Zimbabwe is Mr Artwell Sipinyu. Mr Artwell Sipinyu was the Project Manager (Malaria Prevention and Control, Netsforlife) and also Project Manager Income Generation Projects(ERD) in the Diocese of Masvingo. Mr Sipinyu is a holder of Bachelor of Science Degree in Counselling, a Diploma in Sustainable Community Development and Project Management. The new Project Coordinator will be based in the Diocese of Masvingo and his duties and responsibilities are; overall managerial responsibility for the organisation including all aspects and projects, liaising with donors on all aspects of project development, implementation, reporting as required and representing the organisation at various level, preparing and presenting reports to Anglican Council of Zimbabwe.
Malaria Prevention Programme and the distribution of food hampers to MCAs in Buhera South
Malaria kills a child somewhere in the world every 30 seconds. It infects 350-500 million people each year, killing 1 million, mostly children in Africa. Ninety per cent of malaria deaths occur in Africa, where malaria accounts for about one in five of all childhood deaths. Many efforts to mitigate its impact have borne fruit in some regions in Zimbabwe, but the disease remains a resilient foe in some parts of the country like in the hot and humid areas, the areas that is been covered by the Diocese. The NetsforLife Malaria Control Agents in the Diocese of Masvingo have fought hard against this disease in their communities and during this quarter with the work they have been doing voluntarily, educating the communities and monitoring of nets usage .We continue with the distribution of food hampers to these Malaria Control Agents.
The Diocese of Masvingo managed to distribute food hampers to Malaria Control Agents in Buhera South as incentives, thanking them for the excellent work they are doing in educating communities. Thirty three Malaria Control Agents in five centers, Betera, Ngomayevise, Chimbudzi, Murwira and Bangure, received food hampers of 2 litres cooking oil, 2kg salt, 1 bar soap and 20kgs maize. Twenty five did not turn up for the distribution, because of other commitments and we hope to distribute to them in the next quarter.
“Thank you for the food hampers that we have received, we really appreciate the work that is been done by the Diocese of Masvingo. The Diocese has helped us a lot with these incentives that we have received today. We have been struggling to get maize meal due to poor harvest in this region. However we still need some more kits so as to do our work more effectively”, said Ngoni Matangira.
Nets are still needed by communities because most of the nets are now torn and the rain season has started and mosquitoes will soon start breeding. The MCAs are failing to go long distances because of few bicycles, for example 2 bicycles are used by 13 Malaria Control Agents. We are making efforts to get nets from the ministry of health and child welfare.
We can make real difference in tackling malaria by involving the private sector. The private sector, with its skills in strategic planning, technology development, product distribution and marketing, can make an important contribution to malaria control. The Diocese has been struggling to get the required resources in the fight against malaria. The government lacks the resources for effective prevention and treatment of Malaria hence the involvement of the private sector will go a long way to ‘Sustain Gains ,Save lives, Invest in Malaria.’
Safety on the road
On 15 February 2013 heads of Christian Denominations attended a workshop on Road Traffic Safety that was organized by Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe. Bishop Godfrey also attended the workshop representing the Diocese of Masvingo .The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport was the guest of honour. The Church was encouraged to partner up with Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe in promoting road Traffic Safety by disseminating information on road safety to the faithful.
After the workshop which lasted the whole day, Bishop Godfrey said “The workshop was very informative. Care should be taken where church members travel as a group to attend a conference or when they go on a pilgrimage. People should understand and adopt safer road usage principles.”
Income generation projects
October to December 2012 poultry activities were undertaken and these included procurement and delivery of chicks, feeds, and vaccines, beneficiary capacity building workshops and monitoring trips to Mufudzi Wakanaka, St Peter Mutoredzanwa, St Michael Mambo and St Michael Makonese.
Monitoring trips were conducted to all project sites. Munyaradzi was visited in November 2012 and received sewing material for petticoats, thread and needles, lace and elastic. Record keeping there has improved and the secretary and treasurer gave clear reports. Profit sharing was done and each member received $38.00. Sewing machines were collected for repair. Capacity building on business management was undertaken and plans for 2013 were drawn up.
St Joseph Maburutse was visited the same day and work is also progressing very well there. They had $370.00 cash on hand. Record keeping has also improved especially receipting cash and balancing. Profit sharing of $46.00 per member was a morale booster. This was the first time. Members were very happy and plans for 2013 were made with enthusiasm. Visits to St Francis Shurugwi in November showed that they were facing challenges on the market as some teachers at a nearby school had started sewing the uniforms. The way forward was to maintain good quality uniforms, diversify and find new markets. Each member got $37.00 as profit share.
The pig population stands at 44: 1 boar, 6 sows, 4 guilts, 11piglets, 5 porkers and 17 weaners. Activities this quarter included procurement and delivery of pig feeds and monitoring visits. The pig population went down from 47 to 44 through the sale of 3 porkers which amounted to $552.50. Total costs of feeds per month is estimated at $602,00 and three months feeds cost $1, 806.00. This amount fluctuates depending on the number of pigs in stock. Efforts are being made to look for markets in order to reduce the pig population.
Summer vegetables which include rape and beans have been planted. 20kg of maize seed has been planted in order to contribute to pig feeds in the second quarter and reduce the cost of feeds. Rains came end of December and we hope the rains will continue until March to enable us to harvest.
Peanut Butter making
As we came to the end of the year, peanuts became scarce and expensive and as a result there was slow progress in the production of peanut butter. Plans have been made to ensure that in 2013 peanuts are well stocked when they are still available.
Stories from beneficiaries of profit-sharing
Mrs Shoriwa from Munyaradzi said “Now I will pay for my medication. It is good to work hard, you will enjoy the benefits of your labour.” Mrs Munyati from St Joseph Maburutse said“ I am going to buy maize seed and fertilizer for my plot. When rains come I will be ready.”