ZIMBABWE Development Democracy Trust (ZDDT) has transformed the lives within communities in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo, through various initiatives which seek to empower and foster self-sustainability among members.
The Trust has various community interventions such as market gardens and drama and theatre which are basically aimed at empowering and transforming community lives.
Each year, the ZDDT nutritional gardens benefit from a dedicated leadership team which steers the project towards higher agricultural production and improved income.
The initiative comes at a time when almost half the population in Zimbabwe is living in extreme poverty due to the combined effects of an increase in the price of basic commodities, economic contraction and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, at least according to the Telephonic Survey conducted by Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT).
In an interview, ZDDT production editor, Mazwendonda Ndlovu (pictured above), said community members were economically empowered as they can now settle their bills through selling the garden's products.
“From what we have seen, most people who have gardens are now able to sell their products and buy electricity, send children to school and pay their bills. These projects are helping the community, especially the widows and those who are unemployed,” said Ndlovu.
“Those who are beneficiaries of the garden programme are able to buy groceries despite the high cost of goods in the country. They grow vegetables, onions, beetroots, carrots among other produce which you find in markets.”
Ndlovu added that, due to the high quality of the vegetables being grown by the members, people were travelling from afar to come and buy.
“The gardens have developed a lot. The members do not use hands; they use a solar system for irrigation which makes their work easier. Some of the gardeners are using drip irrigation and it is user friendly for the elderly who find it difficult to carry buckets in their hands,” he added.
“These projects have actually changed their lives, especially during the COVID-19 era, because, while most of the people were not allowed to go to work, the members were going to their gardens and selling their products and they made a lot of money during that time.”
The editor said they held a cooking competition in August when participants were taught how to make tomato sauce with the winners being awarded a prize.
“The members were also taught to be creative in their cooking and invent different salads so they can spice up their meals.”
ZDDT supports transparency and democracy as pillars for the fundamental success of community development and hence free and fair elections choose garden committees providing the leaders with a popular and accountable mandate to serve their constitutional term.