MAZOWE, Zimbabwe - As a daughter of Africa, it was most important for me to honor my father's legacy after his recent passing in Zimbabwe. He maintained dual citizenship in the United States and in Christon Bank, Zimbabwe, for nearly 40 years. My unexpected inheritance of the 4.5-acre plot of his land was miraculous, not only because it could facilitate my longstanding efforts to promote through digital media the welfare of women and children in developing countries, but also because the land has tremendous potential for development into a more economically commercial farming enterprise, the Zimbabwe Farm Project (ZFP).
An initial property survey, financed from my personal funds as an IT consultant, revealed viable orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees; pecan and macadamia nut trees; apricot, peach, avocado, and guava trees; and mango, papaya, and banana trees. However, it will take considerably more resources to transform the project into a major agricultural producer capable of mediating some of the food insecurity and also injecting capital into the local economy by hiring full-time employees, contractors, and day laborers to complete the various required tasks necessary to bring the project to fruition.
As the scope of the project has expanded, so has the mission to provide sustained support for the families living in this community through stable employment, food security from farm produce, sanitation and hygiene, and a clean water initiative. As a social entrepreneur, I believe the Zimbabwe Farm Project can implement solutions for some of the challenges which beset this economically depressed community.
At start up, a more hands-on approach was required with active involvement and oversight, which now gradually has evolved to incorporate more community participation in this rewarding and beneficial project of mutual giving. The local community involved in work on the project includes dedicated farmers and, more importantly, employed journeymen plumbers, electricians, and skilled tradesmen from various crafts—all committed to improving their lives.
The Zimbabwe Farm Project was envisioned as a proof of concept to substantiate the viability of a non-traditional aid model. The objective is to strengthen its beneficiaries through partnerships versus dependencies. Ultimately, this path will lead to vibrant self-sufficiency, empowerment, self-determination, and freedom.
To date, we have achieved the preliminary objectives with the completion of the following:
- Food Security - Three (3) successful harvests of corn and sugar beans
- Clean Water Initiative - Installed a temporary water delivery system which provides access to and storage of clean water
- Stable Employment – Employed 72 people on a contractual basis and 8 people on permanent basis
- Women & Children (Welfare and Education) - Supported local orphanage, school, and feeding program
To quote Mark LaMoure, "Everything big, once started little....."