The Government has applauded Plumtree women for initiating developmental projects meant to economically empower rural women.
The women from Bulilima and Mangwe districts recently started the Community Endowment Building Programme known as Qogelela which is set to address economic challenges.
Qogelela is a Ndebele term that describes the process of mobilising resources in smaller amounts.
The project has already been launched in Macingwana, Tshitshi, Ndiweni, Empandeni West, Mzaza, Embakwe, Silima, Thekwane, Enyele and Nguwanyana with the assistance of the Community Foundation for the Western Region of Zimbabwe (CFWRZ).
Speaking at the official launch of the project at Plumtree High School the Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Sithembiso Nyoni said the initiative will assist rural women to be economically independent.
“I am happy because a lot of people when given funds to start-up businesses they misuse them but these women invested the money and made profits,” said Nyoni.
“They have bought grinding mills, constructed water pipelines to their homesteads without waiting for the government and that makes us happy as a ministry.”
The women have also managed to pay school fees for their children and can now afford to take them through university.
The Minister also added some of the women`s spouses who had relocated to South Africa in search of economic opportunities had started relocating back to their homes.
“If men do not support their wives they struggle and these women have succeeded because their husbands support them and for that, I would like to thank these men for encouraging their women to do better and coming back,” she claimed.
“The ministry has more than 110 000 savings clubs and we want to join them to Qogelela so that they become saving and graded corporatives, savings clubs will make it easy for women to borrow money when bigger projects arise and hope this attitude will spread countrywide.”
Bulilima West Member of Parliament Dingumuzi Phuti added that such initiatives ensure that women can be financially independent.
“We really appreciate this initiative by the West Region through their Qogelela Project, as the government, we try to help these initiatives where they lack,” said Hon Phuti.
The Minister also encouraged women to concentrate on farming particularly on growing small grain crops so that they can sell to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
“Since you now have water I will persuade Women’s Bank to work with women in the region so that you grow castor beans because one acre produces about USD$1000 per tonne and that can make you rich,” said Hon Nyoni.
“Banks are supposed to help you in any projects you decide to engage in even if means chicken rearing you will also be assisted.”