Our April - June 2016 cycle of volunteers in Zimbabwe were the last cycle to work alongside partner organisation Diocese of Mutare Community Care Programme (DOMCCP) after four years. The team have complied a series of case studies demonstrating the impact the ICS programme has had in Mutasa.

With a face full of smiles Ronnie (not the real name), who lives in the Mutasa district, narrated his story about living fully with HIV. In 2009, he had a persistent cough and decided to get tested alone; he tested HIV positive and accepted his status. Living positively, Ronnie found it difficult to get nutritious food, so he decided to join other beneficiaries in a nutritional garden. The garden had been started and maintained by ICS volunteers as their special project over four cycles of the programme. He was motivated to join the garden by the ICS sessions on positive living. 

As a former Chairperson, he knows how to deal with conflict, as the members of the garden get on well but at times argue. “Vanhu varikuwirirana mugarden asi nyaya yemvura ndiyo iri kunetsa” (people are getting along in the garden but the issue of water access is currently difficult). He said it would be good if DOMCCP could provide them with water pipes for the easy provision of water to the garden for sustainability. He is very thankful for the gift of the nutritional garden. 

Ronnie and his family also appreciate the ICS sessions, especially on lessons regarding to adherence to medication. They were previously unaware of the dangers of defaulting medication but because of the ICS sessions they are now knowledgeable.

Ronnie also shed more light on the income generating activities, saying he was not aware of the importance of record keeping. He was not keeping records of his projects because of a lack of technical knowledge. Through the work of the ICS volunteers, he is now knowledgeable and keeps records.

Ronnie is also a member of the internal savings and lending group because of the ICS volunteers’ sessions on the importance of internal savings and lending. “Ndakapinda mumukando nekuda kwezvidzidzo zvenyu” (I joined ISALs because of your trainings), said the former nutritional garden Chair. He is continuing to benefit from the programme. He now finds it easy to raise school fees for his children and buy enough food and clothes for his family. Through all his projects, Ronnie managed to buy a cow, which is a really good thing.

Compiled by ICS volunteer Colleta Gambiza (Team DOMCCP, April - June 2016 cycle, Mutasa, Zimbabwe)