Loveness Gandawa – Zimbabwe

Date: December 9, 2015
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A rejected stone

Who would have thought that the brick that the builders rejected would become the cornerstone?

Loveness Gandawa began a poultry project in 2012. She started with a production capacity of 50 birds per six weeks. She later increased the capacity to 100 birds in 2013. The upgrading of the business coincided with her encounter with Gender Links (GL). She invested the money she received as an honorarium for attending the workshop into the business and she increased the production capacity to 150 birds. The profit she realised after selling chickens enabled her to venture into cross border trading. She started purchasing clothing material and footwear from South Africa, Zambia and Botswana for resale in Zimbabwe.

“The entrepreneurship training equipped me with relevant skills needed for a successful business. I was now able to do a detailed cash flow and this assisted me to expand my business. Compared with the previous years that I was in business, my situation changed for the better. My previous business was affected by a lack of managerial knowhow and its expansion was affected by the misappropriation of funds and bad debts,” Gandawa affirms.

Unlike previously when she ran a business without doing any bookkeeping, Gandawa now keeps all the records of the business transactions which makes life easier when tracking debtors and ascertaining profit and loss. Everything is now done systematically. Many people noticed the change in her life, so much so that she found herself giving business advice to other aspiring businesswomen in her community.

“Who would have thought that the brick that the builders rejected would become the cornerstone? I have earned a lot of respect from everybody around me. The support from my husband has been amazing; he sells my broiler chickens at his workplace and remits every cent. I opened a bank account where I will keep the money earned by the business to avoid the temptation to use it unnecessarily. Failure is no longer an option for me and will never be my portion. I am full of determination to move forward with my life.

The lessons that Gandawa learnt about gender based violence (GBV) from GL gave her the leverage to be able to demand her rights and protect herself from all forms of abuse. The training restored her lost confidence and gave her a positive outlook on life. She was taught that self-reliance is an effective tool in reducing levels of GBV. She successfully applied the concept in her life and immediately stopped relying on her husband for survival. Her efforts produced positive results because when she started contributing to the upkeep of the family she earned some respect from her husband.

Gandawa also acquired relevant skills and she used them to start up new businesses and develop the one that was already in place. The programme helped her to understand the importance of saving money and it worked well in the expansion of her businesses, because it worked well in preventing misuse of funds.

The change that took place in her life is reflected in the way that she now relates to her close relatives, especially her husband. Her husband has realised that Gandawa is a productive and worthy person who is capable of doing great things once given the opportunity. The situation brought peace into their home as she now receives more respect from her relatives. She vividly remembers the day she bought a new blanket for her mother-in-law. The move created a better relationship between the two. She is now included in decision making and deliberations on issues that affect the family. Gandawa, however, gives credit to GL for all the changes that have taken place in her life. She feels that there are no other factors that contributed towards the change.

“After I got my passport, my husband refused to give me the start-up capital I needed for my business. He said that I wanted to do cross border trading in order to engage in extra marital affairs and infect him with incurable diseases. I was stressed and regretted ever getting married to my husband instead of finishing my education because there was nothing to admire in my marriage. Today, this is a totally different story. It is a story of a successful woman who was once a victim.

“People in the community benefited both directly and indirectly from the changes that took place in my life. Those who benefited directly observed the change and imitated it. A few individuals benefited after they sought advice on business management. Those who listened to the advice are doing well and their lives had changed,” says Gandawa.

When Gandawa was empowered financially she bought a blanket for her mother-in-law and she was very pleased with her. For the first time in her marriage her mother-in-law had kind words for her. Her husband also began to show some love and respect towards her which was something she had never known since her union with him. Gandawa was tasked with taking care of her husband’s finances as he now believes that the money will not be misused.

“The change that took place in my life was as a result of the effective implementation of the skills I acquired,” Gandawa continues. “From the profits I made from buying and selling I went into breeding chickens and the two businesses are running concurrently. The learning experience is very exciting and I feel very grateful to Gender Links who made me what I am today by coming up with such an empowering intervention for women.”


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