Zimbabwe: Eunice Thole

Zimbabwe: Eunice Thole

Date: May 12, 2021
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Women constitute a larger percentage of the country’s population, and a call for their economic empowerment in the capital city of Zimbabwe was met with the appropriate action. The history of women’s club in Harare dates back to the 1980s when the local authority saw it fit to introduce the programme which is meant to transform the lives of the residents particularly women and young people. Council in its community halls and community centres employed social services officers who monitor community clubs such as cookery, sewing and home economics. The Councils halls are used for free by the women who conduct lessons at the facilities. This was done to ensure that there are no impediments in terms of venues for the training programmes.

“The current women empowerment programmes are part of the broader mandate of the Community Services section of the City to uplift the lives of the residents and as such Council waivers halls user fees for women empowerment programmes. Our thrust is reaching out to women, focus on the holistic development of the individual that is socially, intellectually and economically” explained City of Harare Social Services Officer Mrs Chirinyu.

Council is running the programmes in the various suburbs and from the dusty streets of Dzivarasekwa emerged a winner in Mrs Eunice Thole who in 2019 scooped the Overall Winner at the Zimbabwe Agriculture Show Microenterprise Section competition. For her efforts, Mrs Thole went home with prize money and food hampers from the sponsors. She was best in cake making, sewing and beadwork beating over 170 participants. She made carrot, black forest and chocolate cakes.

Mrs Thole admitted that Council community centres have been championing women and youth empowerment through teaching them self help projects such as confectionery, sewing, bead making, arts and culture among other subjects.

Mrs Thole said the programme has rescued them from the shackles of poverty. “I am a member of various clubs that are supported by the City of Harare at Dzivarasekwa 1 Community Centre. I am involved in baking, making bags, hats and beads which we sell to our various customers. My life has been transformed. We have gained a lot of skills which we are utilising to generate income. We also have a savings club, where members contribute daily and weekly. So, we are now able to pay our rates. We are however grateful to the Council for providing this community centre for our programmes, this award is a testimony of how my life has been changed by the entrepreneurship programme introduced by the City of Harare”.

 One positive result of these clubs is that the members are now able to pay their dues to Council without any problems and this, in turn, has increased revenue collection for the City as much as they have improved the lives of the women and their families.  Indeed, life will never be the same for the women and the Council.

Although the programme by the City of Harare is yielding positive results, financial limitations remain a major problem. The activities themselves have to be financed and the purse is overstretched. The women require financial assistance to procure the raw materials required for their projects.

Local Economic Development programmes are important vehicles for development and reducing poverty, and the City of Harare is indeed working towards improving the financial status of its citizens through capacity building programmes and entrepreneurship initiatives.