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.

Residing in the Mutasa district, father of two Kevin (not the real name), former TB patient, narrated his ordeal, dating as far back as 2006. As it is now a constitutionalised procedure to get tested for HIV once you fall ill with TB, Kevin had to get tested. Fortunately, the 50-year-old tested negative and was put on treatment. Now he is willing to get tested as frequently as possible, as he has been attending the ICS sessions on HIV and AIDs, where he learnt that TB is an opportunistic disease.

Kevin now boasts a very successful piggery, indigenous chickens and rabbit project, however the going had not been so easy. “More sweat, more sweet!” were some of the words that the ever smiling Kevin would say, showing that it has not been easy to be where he is now. Starting the projects literally by passion, not by expertise, he faced lots of ups and downs. Without any knowledge on project sustainability, record keeping or housing, the man with sheer determination soldiered on. After attending the ICS sessions that covered record-keeping (project management), Kevin now keeps records of everything with regards to the project’s day-to-day activities. “Ndaakuziwa kuti marecords akanakirei, chero ma loss ndaakukwanisa kumatsvaga” (now I know the importance of keeping records, I can now track down the losses).

Market had also been a problem before attending the ICS sessions, but after the session on marketing and market research, the problem is now a thing of the past! Now he sells his pigs to local schools, his rabbits and indigenous chicken to the local community and he does his advertising at village meetings, as well as during income savings and lending’s (ISAL) meetings. Upon asking him about the benefits from the projects he said, with a wide smile, “ma school fees handichambomavhunduke ini, kutozvinzwira ku next door” (school fees are no longer a problem for me, I now hear about that problem from my neighbours).

Kevin went on to further commend the ICS volunteers in campaigning against gender-based violence, to the extent that he is now playing an advocacy role in his community. Kevin also added that the Goat Pass On Project helped to provide some funds to join the local ISAL group. He concluded by saying that he appreciates the efforts made by the ICS volunteers and their partner organisation DOMCCP, and wished perpetual existence of the programme.

Complied by ICS volunteer Kudzai Chimuera (Team DOMCCP, April - June 2016 cycle)