Many women in the suburb have been struggling to find a way to support themselves as the country plunges further into the economic doldrums.
With numerous company closures in the city, many vulnerable women have been engaging in illicit income-generating activities such as prostitution, money-laundering and drug trafficking. For some women in the densely populated Sakubva high density suburb, finding ways to earn money legally has posed a huge challenge.
But the USAID-funded Womenâ€™s Economic Empowerment Initiative (WEEI) and its local partner, the Mutare Womenâ€™s Bureau (MWB), worked hand-in-hand to identify specific community groups that could benefit from their assistance.
In 2012, four women – all of them single mothers from Sakubva – came together and received six monthsâ€™ training at the Manicaland Self-help Projects Centre on how to convert plastic bottles into brooms. After completion of the course, USAID funded the purchase of equipment to set the women up in business. This included broom-making tools, drills, cutters, pliers and work tables. Currently, they are operating their business at the Manicaland Vocational Training Centre. In a recent interview Olivia Goredema, the WEEI coordinator for Manicaland, said with the right training and support the women had increased their output by 100 percent. â€œWe are happy that this project has given the women a completely new life. In actual fact, this group of women has become a source of inspiration to others and we are using this as reference of our success,â€ said Goredema.
â€œWe have seen their lives changing and we are happy that we have achieved our goal. It is our objective to economically empower the vulnerable and disadvantaged women in our societies,â€ she added. â€œI would like to encourage women to embrace such developmental initiatives that will change their lives for the better.â€
According to Chipo Angisayi, who is the groupâ€™s leader, the women make about 50 brooms per month. This earns the group $250 per month net profit, which they share equally. She said they have been receiving more orders from their customers because their products are unique.Â They use plastic bottles, mainly the mineral water and beverage plastic bottles, to start the production of the brooms.
â€œWe clean the plastic bottles with a special alcohol mixture and cut them into strips. Then we twist the strips into threads and attach these threads to wooden frames and handles,â€ Angisayi explained. â€œWe were once looked down upon by other sections of the society, who labelled us names like prostitutes, but now look at us. We are now respected in the community. I want to thank the MWB and USAID for the training. Look at us today, we now have the knowledge and skills to expand our business,â€ she said.
For more information on this project and advice on how you can replicate it in your area please contact: Chipo Angisayi : Tel 0736 255429, and Mutare Womens Bureau: Tel 020 62737.