You can help communities to empower themselves.
To mark this special, 75th anniversary appeal, a group of major donors has promised to match every gift we receive. That means that every donation we receive before 28 February will be matched pound for pound, so your gift and its impact will be doubled.
Below, you can read a success story from Zimbabwe - where a community has affected change on a political level - making their livelihoods richer and more stable in the process. Poor and marginalised people often struggle to successfully advocate for change. Social and political decision-making occurs beyond their scope of influence, and they tend to lack the resources, knowledge and connections to challenge this. Progressio works to ensure poor and marginalised people have a bigger say in the decisions that affect them. With your help this Christmas, we can help hundreds of other communities advocate for change in the future.
Donate now and your gift will be doubled.
In many ways, the villagers of Nyamavanga are lucky. Unlike many communities in Zimbabwe, which depend entirely on rainwater to grow crops, Nyamavanga is located close to a dam. In theory, this should provide a constant supply of water and somewhere to catch fish.
That was the theory. In reality, local authorities had long banned the villagers of Nyamavanga from accessing the dam, to the detriment of their incomes, health and general livelihoods. This was the case for 40-year-old Webster Garandi, who returned to farming after losing his job as a miner. Low yields and a low income meant that he and his wife and two children often went hungry, or were forced to survive on maize porridge which has almost no nutritional value. Webster found it difficult to afford school fees and clothing for his children, who frequently missed school.
Four years ago, Progressio joined forces with local charity Environment Africa to help Webster and his neighbours take action to improve their lives. Our development worker Diego Matsvange, a specialist in sustainable farming, helped Environment Africa to set up and train 30 community groups across the region to respond to the problems facing them. Villagers were trained in environmental law and sustainable management of natural resources, so they could analyse the issues they faced and lobby their local authorities to address them. The Nyamavanga group of 24 women and 17 men, including Webster, used these new skills to change the future of their village.
Your gift of £10 could train 2 villagers in lobbying and advocacy skills empowering them to influence decision makers and transform their own lives.
'To us, advocacy is about boldness and patience, identifying issues which have the potential to transform our lives and shape our destiny'. Concern Manyenga, Chairman of the Nyamavanga Community Group
The group realised that they urgently needed to approach their local authorities about accessing to the dam, so they would not be so reliant on rainwater. They gathered their resolve and asked to meet with local politicians. After five months of patient advocacy, they were told that they could have permission to use the dam, but only if they paid a fee of $1,200 per year. This was a sum far beyond their reach.
But they did not give up. Thanks to the training they had received, Webster and his community knew that they had the right to ask the government to meet their needs. They met tirelessly with politicians, district administrators, rural district councils, the Zimbabwean National Water Authority and four different government departments. They also used community events to mobilise popular support for their cause and to pressure the local authorities.
Your gift of £25 could pay for group advocacy activities such as letter writing, petitions and events to influence local authorities and benefit a community.
Finally, the group convinced the authorities to grant access to the dam for an annual fee of just $28 – a much more affordable amount. And, in the first three months of using water from the dam, each member of the group earned an average of $300 a month – a dramatic 500% increase in their income!
The Nyamavanga farmers did not stop there. They went on to persuade the government’s agricultural department to give them training on sustainable fish-farming techniques. The department was so impressed with the group that it also gave them 35 hectres of land for raising crops and livestock.
Now whole families have nutritious food to eat, and children can go to school and even reach higher education. With more money coming in, everyone in the group has a bank account (a rare achievement in rural Zimbabwe) and can take out loans to expand their farming business, making their futures even more secure.
Webster himself has used his profit to build a general store nearby, and is now hoping to buy a second. He says life has drastically changed and is now better able to care for his family. They now have plenty of nutritious food; his two children no longer miss school as all their fees are paid on time, and his wife is able to work in the shop herself.
Your gift of £50 could help fund a development worker like Diego to support our partner to set up and empower community groups to transform their own lives.
The positive effects of a three-day training session are spreading far beyond the initial 41 farmers at Nyamavanga. Already they have helped to set up three similar groups in nearby communities. And they are passing on their skills to the younger generation, benefitting the whole area long into the future.
But not all villages have received this support. With 80-90% of Zimbabweans unemployed and living in poverty, we need to do more – and do it now. We want to give more communities the tools and confidence they need to change their own lives and fulfill their potential. Over the next two years, your support could help set up and train 150 community advocacy groups to engage their government on the problems they face and to find solutions together.
With your help, many more communities can thrive like Nyamavanga.
Donate now and remember if you give before 28 February 2016 your gift will be matched by our major donors. Please help us make the most of this special opportunity by giving generously and doubling the impact your gift will have on the lives of poor and marginalised people.
If you have any questions regarding donations please don't hesitate to contacts us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7326 2046.