The district of Binga in Matabeleland North Province is predominantly inhabited by the Tonga, a fiercely self-respecting and remarkably conservative people who were historically disadvantaged by the construction of the Kariba dam in the 1950s when they were forcibly relocated further south- west to make way for the massive lake.
This massive lack of social transformation remains manifest in the poor quality of life and general absence of community engagement in meaningful income earning activities. While all around it may appear a tale of doom and gloom, it is a different story for Zubo beneficiaries specifically the Bbindawuko Women Fishers, a women’s fishing co-operative located in Simatelele ward which has been into kapenta fishing since 2011. The co-operative is made up 10 women. Operating under the guidance of Zubo through support from UN Women, the women have broken new grounds into the male dominated fishing industry, thereby sharing gender responsibilities with their husbands. The women are realising about USD 2,500 per month.
Asked what change she has noted, Sinikiwe Mwiinde, a project member narrated how her family’s life style has positively changed. Above all how she has empowered her girl child, Trencia Mwiinde through paying for her formal education using the project funds. Currently, Trencia is doing her Form 6 (six) at Binga High School, a local school in the district. Moreso, Sinikiwe revealed that she runs a flea market and this development is from the kapenta fishing funds.
”I can now afford to pay my children’s school fees, run a flea market at Siachilaba, buy good and decent clothing and food for my family. Above all, through the projects funds, I am now a proud mother of a Form 6 (six) girl. Life used to be very hard but now the future looks bright,” she said.
With positive achievements emanating from the kapenta fishing project, the project has potential of reaching out to many women if women would get another or two more extra rigs for the project.
Zubo has diversified the women project into a fish farming project. While the co-operative continues to fish kapenta, another project of the fish farming is taking place at the Bbindawuko harbour. Fish farming is expected to reach out to more women than the kapenta rig which directly impacted on 10 women. The fish farming project will lead to employment creation to women during the different processes from fish harvesting to the final process especially in the production of fish products like fish sausages. Fish farming is an up scale of the income generating components of the kapenta project which already has some of the interventions spinning cash for the beneficiaries. It is earmarked to add an element of diversity to beneficiaries’ access to protein apart from its high potential for generating cash.
Zubo has worked tirelessly to ensure that this intervention takes off the ground, thus the fish ponds construction has already begun at the project site. The organisation seeks to exploit the enthusiasm that the target beneficiaries have shown in the proposed activities. There is not least doubt that with the unwavering support that Zubo has been receiving from its funding partner, UN Women and all stakeholders in the district, the project will reap overwhelming success.