Annah Nezrayi – Zimbabwe

Date: June 27, 2016
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11657_annah_nez.jpgDisseminating entrepreneurial skills to the community

“I am no longer a troubled woman and I am now focusing on meeting the intended and desired results as far as my project is concerned,”

Annah Nezirayi encountered Gender Links (GL) in 2013 through Manyame Rural District Council. When the then Gender Focal Person (GFP), Tariro Chimbindi, introduced her to GL she thought that the programme was a time consuming event and nothing meaningful would come of it. However, the first session of the programme changed her mind and she started appreciating the importance of the programme in her life and the lives of other participants. Before she encountered GL she was a mere vendor, but the programme turned her into a real business woman. Currently, she is operating a viable business and she gives credit to the entrepreneurship programme.

“There were challenges that I faced at first and the most difficult one was a lack of finance to boost my business. I decided to save the small funds I received from GL as honoraria after attending the workshops. I then borrowed more money from my husband to add to my savings. This is how I started my poultry production business. I started with a small batch of fifty broilers, but now I maintain a production capacity of five hundred broilers. My business has been running smoothly and I give credit to GL for equipping me with the knowledge,” insists Nezirayi.

Before she was trained by GL, Nezirayi was a cross border trader (buying and selling clothes). The challenge that restricted her from realising her desired goals was a lack of knowledge of business management. She said that she was not able to keep financial records, plan for the business or conduct market research, which is essential for the success of any business. The training helped her to start a new business in poultry production and further develop her cross border trading business. The two businesses are running smoothly due to the application of the relevant business skills. For the first time in her life, Nezirayi was keeping income and expenditure statements and a projected balance sheet among other things. This has made her business a success story.

“I am no longer a troubled woman and I now focus on achieving the intended and desired results as far as my project is concerned. If it was not for GL I would have remained poor for the rest of my life. The changes that took place in my life brought change in the lives of my neighbours. I encouraged them to start income generating projects and stop wasting their precious time on unproductive things. They used to spend time spreading rumours in the neighbourhood. The knowledge I attained from GL helped me to convince them to stop what they were doing and focus on uplifting their lives,” Nezirayi says.

The woman who was once destitute is now taking care of the family. This has minimised the frequency of gender based violence in her home. She is now helping other community members through sharing the knowledge she obtained from GL. She is optimistic that the move will change many lives in the same way it has changed her own life. “I managed to share my knowledge with Gore and Govha and they are now my colleagues in business. They also started their own businesses vending vegetables and sewing respectively,” according to Nezirayi.

Annah Nezirayi testified that GL opened her eyes and introduced her to a better life. Her agency changed and she started viewing things critically. She gained new status in her community as she was now viewed as an organised business woman. “I am no longer looked down upon in my community and my husband’s relatives praise me for my hard work. The problems which I used to face in my home are no longer there. We now live in peace and harmony and I give credit to GL for the significant changes that have taken place in my life,” Nezirayi affirms.

She boasts that she is now able to balance multiple tasks, something she could not do before she attended the training. However, she is yet to set up her planned business because it needs more capital. She has plans to start potato farming and she is working hard to buy farming equipment. She has already acquired a six hectare plot where the project is going to take place. For the project to start she needs a generator, water pumps, pipes, and tanks. It is very difficult to acquire the equipment due to the high costs involved and she cannot get a loan from the bank due to a lack of collateral.

“Since the day I became aware of the seven steps of business management I plan the business prior to commencing and prepare profit and loss statements. The training has developed me as a woman both economically and socially. I have plans to buy a commercial stand and run my business on a larger scale. My dream is to be one of the suppliers to leading food outlets, as well as hotels,” says Nezirayi.

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