Zimbabweans have left home in their droves. Hundreds of thousands of doctors, nurses, engineers, drivers, teachers and administrators, to name just a few professions, remain in foreign lands, three years into the inclusive government.
Some are victims of political upheaval, but most were pushed away by the downward spiral of the economy. Having overcome the anger and hate, a legacy of being stateless and hated for their “cursed” nationality, these economic migrants strive to change their displacement into a blessing for their country.
The Matabeleland Development Agency is one of a large number of small organisations and groups working to help communities, districts and provinces back home. The MDA, a coalition of professionals and organisations concentrating on the southern region, seeks to dovetail them into one united front to accomplish meaningful development in the region.
“Our aim is not to dictate to already existing groups what they should do, but to recognise their work, co-ordinate and make sure that all planned initiatives are fulfilled,” said Busani Mafefe, spokesman for the MDA.
The Agency’s main role is to be a wall on which new ideas are bounced, new projects debated and plans implemented. It also seeks to dry the waters between existing islands of development to form one big world.
“Coming together will see us avoid a duplication of ideas in order to move forward. For example, if a certain group decides to buy a generator for a hospital in Kezi, we are saying another that has decided to do the same, after learning about the first initiative, can either add onto the money already raised, or do something else.”
Matabeleland, despite its vast resources, scenic views and tourist attractions like the Matopos Hills, Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and the Rhodes Matopos National Park and being the gateway to South Africa and Botswana, still lags behind in development.
Its shops and schools are under-resourced, few and far apart; the few existing clinics are under-resourced. People are dying of hunger and malaria and children drop out of school at early ages.
“Instead of apportioning blame, we are saying to people from this region, ‘let’s join hands and act on the way forward to see this beautiful region prosper’. We urge people to bring ideas and action plans and make this a springboard for the region’s brighter future,” added the Matobo-born Mafefe, who is himself one of the most sought after corporate trainers in South Africa through his Ikhono Consulting and Training.
The organisation has already incorporated in its ranks burial societies, village and district-aligned committees and organisations based in South Africa.
“We are a South African-registered, membership-driven organisation that does not dictate to anyone, but listens to members’ ideas so that we multi-task. Member organisations maintain their identity and focus. We only work as an ideas factory. We also take stock on outstanding projects to see why they have not been completed and how we can speed up their successful completion.”
The Agency is active Facebook, where it has more than 100 members and holds meetings every two weeks. It has also attracted the interest of individuals and organisations based in Europe.
“Our aim is to have a full network of associates and members around the world, including back home in Zimbabwe and we welcome everyone from the region, regardless of their political affiliation, as long as they have its development and prosperity at heart. We require our members to adhere to the developmental debate, not to bring their politics into the agency,” added Mafefe.Post published in: Opinions & Analysis