By Khumbulani Maphosa
A field tour by Habakkuk Trust and the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) to Gwanda and Matobo on the 30th of July revealed that most sustainable livelihoods projects are failing to prosper because communities lack advocacy and development skills.
The team visited an irrigation project at Tsimbane in Guyu under Gwanda district and Patalika/Vusisizwe Project in Sun Yet Sen in Matobo. Both projects are facing viability problems due to theft, vandalism and poor management. Underlying these causes is the communities’ inability to come together and find local solutions to their problems.
The Matobo project has a massive potential of growth and produces a lot of sugar cane and wheat. However, the farmers do not have a proper commercial market for their produce.
Habakkuk Trust’s advocacy programme can come in handy for these communities to equip them with skills of solving their problems and being able to engage potential commercial markets for their produce. In June this year, the organisation trained the Matobo Development Association. The training of these project managers can help complement the efforts of the association and other service organisations, especially those responsible for the establishment and rehabilitation of dams and irrigation schemes.