You may be aware that here at Progressio Team MASO, we have divided into three groups; HIV & AIDS awareness, Income Generating Activities (IGAs) and Child Rights. As a team, we all spent longer than other projects completing our initial research, as we had to build relationships within the community, being the first cycle and all. 

Joyce, Iona and Nyasha are the IGAs team and their main focus is helping grannies to improve the performance of their IGAs and ultimately to increase their household income. For the whole 12 month project, the aim is to reach 120 grannies, with the initial meetings with 60 grannies this cycle.  Well, that number is most definitely going to be much bigger. The demand from the grannies support groups for the volunteers to come work with them has overwhelmed everyone, including MASO.  Its great news as previously dormant groups are reforming and becoming active with extra energy.  The expected number of grannies per group has also surprised the team as it was originally expected to be six per group but at one session there were 17!  The team this cycle is seeing seven support groups, which is 78 grannies in total.  For each group they have conducted a baseline questionnaire to establish how we can best help each individual group. They will then conduct two training sessions to each group, which are designed to best suit their individual needs, so all in all a lot of work with these grannies!

It is safe to say that these ladies are very resourceful, with their IGAs covering everything from making crocheted hats and bags, to peanut butter.  At each session when the IGA team showed up, the grannies were happily showcasing all of their goods to the team, adorning Iona, the murungu (white person), in hats and bags (as you can see from the photo). 

The team were very surprised to find out just how active and creative the grannies are, and have even challenged the team to a game of netball. Now, I’m not sure about you, but I would be very shocked if my grandmother could run for a bus at her age, let alone play netball. The ladies are all such characters, which makes the sessions enjoyable, although they do love the biscuits too. Best of all, the grannies are so keen to learn how to manage their IGAs better so they are an engaged bunch of individuals. 

Admittedly, the sessions with the grannies generally take much longer than the ones with other groups due to poor Joyce having to translate everything into Shona, but it is very rewarding to come away from a session with a group of grinning grannies, eager for you to return. Requests for daily visits are also common, which shows their willingness to improve. I think this project will make a huge difference to the grannies already attending sessions, as well as the many to come throughout the year. Maybe we will even have a netball game against them, who knows?

Until next time, Maitabasa.

Written by ICS volunteer Rhiannon Carroll