Innovation hubs gain traction

Source: Innovation hubs gain traction | Sunday Mail (Local News) Harmony Agere As Government takes a robust stance to foster research-based industrialisation in line with Vision 2030, Treasury has disbursed over $26 million for the construction of six innovation hubs and industrial parks at higher learning institutions. Two innovation hubs have already been commissioned at […]

The post Innovation hubs gain traction appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Source: Innovation hubs gain traction | Sunday Mail (Local News)

Harmony Agere

As Government takes a robust stance to foster research-based industrialisation in line with Vision 2030, Treasury has disbursed over $26 million for the construction of six innovation hubs and industrial parks at higher learning institutions.

Two innovation hubs have already been commissioned at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and at Midlands State University (MSU)

Those at the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT), Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT), National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the Defence University are on the commissioning line.

On industrial parks, CUT has already set a $3 million artificial insemination programme which has the capacity to generate at least $130 million annually, while boosting livestock production.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira said the projects were partly funded by the 1 percent budget allocation set aside for research by Treasury.

He said the developments are in line with the Education 5.0 model launched by the Government last year to promote innovation and industrialisation in pursuit of home grown and research-based solutions to the country’s socio-economic needs.

“I can confirm that most of the (innovation hubs) facilities are now practically complete,” he said.

“We are moving ahead with the programme and for innovation hubs, we have invested over $20 million so far.

“We have disbursed a further $6 million to UZ and CUT for the development of industrial parks. The CUT project, which is an artificial insemination programme, is already in place.”

Innovation hubs are meant to incubate abstract concepts into fully-fledged products and services that can compete on both the local and international markets.

The hubs are part of Education 5.0, which empowers universities to enter into strategic partnerships with industry in order to produce consumer products.

The innovation hubs concept is meant to refine Zimbabwe’s education system, which has been criticised for failing to produce innovative students.

The post Innovation hubs gain traction appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

No to GMOs, position unchanged

Source: No to GMOs, position unchanged | Sunday Mail (Business) Martin Kadzere and Kumbirai Tarusenga GOVERNMENT says it will maintain its position of prohibiting the growing of genetically modified crops, arguing it is yet to be convinced on the benefits of the GMOs. This comes amid growing calls that Government should allow the growing of […]

The post No to GMOs, position unchanged appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Source: No to GMOs, position unchanged | Sunday Mail (Business)

Martin Kadzere and Kumbirai Tarusenga

GOVERNMENT says it will maintain its position of prohibiting the growing of genetically modified crops, arguing it is yet to be convinced on the benefits of the GMOs.

This comes amid growing calls that Government should allow the growing of GMOs as an alternative solution to boost agricultural production being negatively affected by recurring droughts exacerbated by conditions associated with climate change.

Last year, most parts of southern Africa, Zimbabwe included, severely suffered long dry spells due to an El Nino weather pattern, resulting in significant reduction in yields of major crops such as maize and cotton.

This year, cotton output will be the lowest in two seasons to about 68 000 tonnes from 142 000 tonnes last year and 74 000 tonnes in 2017 due to drought.

The drought also affected maize output, which dropped by 54 percent to 776 635 tonnes and indications are the country is likely to import almost one million tonnes.

Advocates of genetically modified crops, said the Government should take a fresh look and embrace the growing of such crops to boost productivity and reduce imports.

“I think it is the right time to adopt these GMOs because of the state of national food security as well as to improve better yields,” said Dr Dexter Savadye, chief executive of National Biotechnology Authority told Sunday Mail Business in an interview.

“Actually, we are already consuming the GMOs and I think it is ideal to start engaging now. We have neighbouring countries namely South Africa and Botswana that are already consuming these. As a country, we must not be left behind.”

However, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri, said while the debate was ongoing on GMOs, growing of such varieties remain prohibited.

“We have not yet been convinced yet on the benefits (of GMOs),” said Minister Shiri, adding Government’s major concern remained on their impact on the environment.

GMOs supporters, however, say the concerns being raised by the Zimbabwean Government and other African countries, were yet to be scientifically proven.

Last week, Cotton Producers and Marketers Association chairman Mr Steward Mubonderi, said the Government anti-GMO position had never been supported by any research.

He said the association once made a case for genetically modified technology with the Government and believes it was high time such critical debate be given another chance.

“This position has to be reviewed,” said Mr Mubonderi. “GMOs will enable local farmers to produce more, even enough to export so that the country earns the much needed foreign currency.”

Already, the country is consuming significant imported GMOs which have rendered the country’s agricultural produce uncompetitive.

Zimbabwe’s policy on GMO foods does not prohibit consumption, but only production.

Zimbabwe will import about one million tonnes of maize following last season’s poor rains, which led to a drought and the country is already in negotiations with potential suppliers.

The post No to GMOs, position unchanged appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Mateus Pinho Gwenjere: a Revolutionary Priest 

2019 (www.reachpublishers.co.za) Source: Mateus Pinho Gwenjere: a Revolutionary Priest – The Zimbabwean Although 1992 a General Peace Agreement was signed in Rome between Frelimo and Renamo, the internal wars were continuing. In August 2019 a new agreement „Paz definitiva“ was signed in Maputo. The question is why national reconciliation is still not yet fully accepted. […]

The post Mateus Pinho Gwenjere: a Revolutionary Priest  appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

2019 (www.reachpublishers.co.za)

Source: Mateus Pinho Gwenjere: a Revolutionary Priest – The Zimbabwean

Although 1992 a General Peace Agreement was signed in Rome between Frelimo and Renamo, the internal wars were continuing. In August 2019 a new agreement „Paz definitiva“ was signed in Maputo. The question is why national reconciliation is still not yet fully accepted. 44 years after the independence of Mozambique and so many innocent victims of the civil war, who are the far-sighted and courageous political and religous leaders working for forgiveness rather than seeking retribution?

In any conflict-ridden country, there are hardliners clinging to or campaigning for political power. There are even those in charge of different religions who claim for themselves exclusive righteous-ness, thus refusing to admit past errors and not recognizineg how the past has affected the nation. „For any country to heal, it firstly has to begin by admitting that it is wounded“ says in his preface Fr Michael Lapsley from the Institue for Healing of Memories in Cape Town, SA.

Now in Mozambique, one month ahead of pope Francis’ visit, two publications and their presentations are spelling out and asking very relevant questions. Both books are concerned with ‘The making of politics in Central Mozambique 1940-1986’. This is the title of the second more  analytical one by Eric Morier-Genoud, an academic teaching history at the University of Belfast. The first one about ‘Mateus Pinho Gwenjere, a Revolutionary Priest’ is written by Lawe Laweki, a living witness, who was himself directly involved in the conflicts.

Laweki is the pseudonym assumed in exile in Kenya by Joao Baptista Truzâo, who like Mateus Gwenjere, after the seminary in Zobue, joined the liberation movement in Tanzania 1967 and had military training, but became alienated, fled first to Kenya and then to India, studied at the Poona University and finally returned to Maputo after having worked 10 years at the US-Embassy in Mbabane. Now, with the general willingness for reconciliation, dares to publish his witness, with differing aspects from the former Liberation Front’s leadership. The author confesses how he had felt encouraged by one of the Sena tales, published in the book ‘Mphyanga’ (‘This is mine!’), where a victim – after years of silent suffering – finally speaks up and makes its own voice heard.

Laweki’s book has two major sections: the first on the history and the role of the Catholic church, the second on the history of the liberation movement and its internal conflicts in Tanzania during the late 1960s, ending with the summary execution of important dissident figures including Father Mateus Gwenjere, Uria Simango and Lázaro Kavandame. The first half is about Gwenjere’s childhood and Catholic education in a church, deeply divided between what the author – according to the exposé made by Mateus Gwenjere at the UN General Assembly in 1967 – calls the two opposing churches: ‘the Portuguese Salazarist’ and ‘the Roman Catholic’. The first was sanctioned by the Concordate of Salazar with the Vatican in 1940. It literally considered the church as an instrument ‘in the interest of the colonial empire’ and pratically behaved like that, at least indirectly through bishops, who had to be selected and approved by the State. The second type of church con-sisted in the growing opposition to the first and was centered around the person of D. Sebastiao Resende, the exceptional first bishop of Beira (1943-67). He himself, during his first years in Beira, had eye-opening experiences and was confronted with the injustices in the country and was also influenced by trailblazing missionaries.

The church-state relations had been deeply linked and interwoven over 500 years (1498-1998) by the so-called ‘Padroado’, the system and mentality of patronage, whereby the Pope had entrusted the King of Portugal with conquering and baptizing the Eastern hemisphere of the globe, while the crown of Spain got the Western, latin-american one. Both colonial powers claimed to be dedicated to ‘conquista’ and to ‘christianisation’ but firstly, they were interested in gold. That is why the Portu-guese, having a vice-king in Goa and a representative on the island of Mocambique, tried very early to  penetrate the valley of the Zambeze in the direction of the kingdom of Monomotapa (Great Zimbabwe), where the first Jesuit was killed in 1561.

Over the centuries Jesuits and Dominicans created their missions down- and upstream from Sena, but since they were always dependent on the whims of some local governor or mood of a fragile captain, no authentic local church was ever possible there. The kingdom and later the republic of Portugal itself was too weak to compete with stronger colonial powers in Southern Africa, therefore after the Conference of Berlin 1884/85, it had to rely on companies (called ‘majestáticas) and also on missionaries from foreign countries. That is how after World War II amongst others, the first ‘White Fathers’ arrived in the then largest diocese Beira and started various missions north and south of the Zambeze river in the 1950s and 60s, where Gwenjere himself was born and grew up.

The main focus of the first half of the book on the Catholic church, deals with the work of those missionaries, as seen by the Portuguese secret Police PIDE, basing itself mainly on the archives of PIDE in Lisbon, with numerous denunciations made against individual priests or the bishop himself, who progressively took their defense. In early 1967, after Resende’s death, the regime made sure they would have only trustworthy and cooperative bishops. But this only deepened the internal conflicts within the church, because most of the missionaries were encouraged by the outcomes of the II Vatican Council (1962-65) and accompanied the growing decolonisation process all over Africa. The author picks out Charles Pollet, a White Father, as the most advanced in thinking and practise and who was expelled in 1967, soon after Resende’s death. Pollet worked in Murraca, the birthplace of Gwenjere, and became very influential for Mateus Gwenjere’s own development. Gwenjere had been rather docil and lusophil before he was ordained priest in 1964, but afterwards became, together with Pollet, very outspoken for independence and against colonialism. That is why Gwenjere himself had to escape to avoid imprisonment by the PIDE.

Pollet continued, while in exile in Tanzania, to support refugees from Mozambique and helped many to continue their studies; that is why the author also dedicates the book to him. The further itinerary of Mateus Gwenjere in exile and specially inmidst of the existing tensions and conflicts he faced inside Frelimo is described in the second half of the book. The first half concludes by showing clearly that there existed two different and conflicting types of church in Beira. On page 146 he refers to the „Kairos document“ of South Africa from 1985, which differentiated three types of churches: (1) one of the ‘apartheid regime’, justifying racism and human rights violations, (2) a second rather ‘spiritualistic’ one, just concerned about itself, (3) a third ‘prophetic’ one, identified with the people and denouncing injustices and fighting against structures and ideologies justifying them. Hereby the author strongly challenges the past and present Mozambican hierarchy to finally distance itself from the church’s past involvement in colonialism.

Now this second half of the book is – like the history of Frelimo itself – conflictual and therefore for outsiders more difficult to understand, but it is necessary and worthwhile to read in order to get an understanding of the contradictions inside a liberation movement. Outsiders are less prepared to accept the author’s position of seeing the reason for internal divisons predominantly in regional differences and conflicts between northerners, southerners  and central Mozambicans, and their respective fights for political power. Ideological positions and pacts also played an important role quite early, even before the aggression by apartheid-South Africa drove the Frelimo government fully in the hands of Marxist allies. Comrades across the border would benefit from reading this book, which can lead to a better  understanding of the background which has led to the persisting traumas. Hardening positions led to exaggerations and massacres by both sides and also to summary executions of dissidents by Frelimo. This constitutes the second challenge of this book to the current generation of Frelimo’s leadership: to admit transgressing the moral order or violating human rights even as they fought for liberation or in the name of revolution.

This apparently is asking for extreme forms of heroism from people on both sides, starting with teams of committed and supporting persons. Therefore, the preface of the book features the most meaningful contribution of Fr Michael Lapsley, a witness of South Africa’s own itinerary of suffering and its ongoing healing of memories. This transforms this book into a unique appeal for reconciliation and for the willingness, to admit traumas and to allow a process of healing the memories of all citizens. The author picks this up again in his very last chapter, asking all sides to reach out to former enemies.

In short this book is also an interesting case study and gives some insights into the contemporary history of Mozambique which have previously been overlooked. Beyond the individuals, it exemplifies the structural dilemmas and also the important significance of individual choices made. This can offer insights and energy for the challenges, partly hidden up to now, but most urgent in the immediate future. Fr Michael Lapsley himself handed over a copy of the book to Pope Francis in a private audience in June. Now just weeks ahead of the visit of Pope Francis to Maputo, such inputs to public debate unveil the urgency and the opportunity of sincere reconciliation and of „definitive peace“ for all parties concerned.

Josef Pampalk, PhD

(former missionary in the diocese of Beira expelled in 1971 by Portugal, after Independence worked in the Ministry of Education and Culture in Maputo, and later as project manager in the Austrian Development Cooperation and lecturer at the University of Vienna)

The post Mateus Pinho Gwenjere: a Revolutionary Priest  appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

US roots for Biti ahead of 2023 polls

Source: US roots for Biti ahead of 2023 polls | Sunday Mail (Top Stories) Sunday Mail Reporter United States officials who last week feted opposition St Marys legislator Job Sikhala at his house in Chitungwiza are rooting for the party’s vice president, Tendai Biti, to take charge of the party ahead of the 2023 elections, […]

The post US roots for Biti ahead of 2023 polls appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Source: US roots for Biti ahead of 2023 polls | Sunday Mail (Top Stories)

Sunday Mail Reporter

United States officials who last week feted opposition St Marys legislator Job Sikhala at his house in Chitungwiza are rooting for the party’s vice president, Tendai Biti, to take charge of the party ahead of the 2023 elections, sources within the party have said.

The sources said the US officials, who included Ambassador Brain Nichols and his wife, were working out a plan to capacitate Sikhala’s group to set up political intelligence units with grassroots structures to assist the MDC-A’s efforts to penetrate and capture the rural vote.

While admonishing the opposition leadership for lack of tact, the US officials singled out Messrs Biti and Sikhala for being courageous.

They poured scorn on the leadership style of MDC-A president Nelson Chamisa, saying he had lost credibility internationally.

In an audio made available to The Sunday Mail, the St Marys legislator is heard boasting about being arrested 64 times and that he has been Government’s toughest opponent since the birth of the opposition party in 2019.

“Despite showing signs of being unbalanced, Messrs Biti and Sikhala are emerging as ideal candidates for executing regime change. The Americans have thus promised to provide the necessary tools for mobilisation to enable the two to take charge of the party,” said an MDC-A official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said the US officials were not particularly pleased that their private meeting with the St Marys legislator ended up being in the public glare.

“This was a clear brazen demonstration of interference in the internal affairs of the country and in the internal affairs of an opposition political party. What the US officials are doing shows that they have no respect for democracy,” the MDC-A official said.

He said the plan by the Americans was to capacitate Biti to take over the leadership and be deputised by Sikhala, who in the conversation with the Americans poured scorn on Chamisa’s leadership credentials.

Attempts are also being made to lure the party’s secretary-general, Charlton Hwende — who is also the legislator for Kuwadzana East — to Biti’s group, leaving Chamisa’s vulnerable and with threadbare support.

Chamisa is said to have been incensed by Sikhala’s disparaging remarks and is considering taking remedial action against the motor-mouth politician, who is currently facing charges of attempting to overthrow a Constitutionally elected Government.

Meanwhile, some top MDC-A officials have been fingered as the sponsors of the recent spate of staged abductions involving some opposition political figures and female artist-cum-comedienne Samantha Kureya.

Government has expressed concern over allegations that Kureya was assaulted by unknown masked men on Wednesday night.

Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed receiving a report and said investigations into the matter were underway.

The post US roots for Biti ahead of 2023 polls appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Zim’s re-engagement bearing fruits

Source: Zim’s re-engagement bearing fruits | Sunday Mail (Top Stories) Lovemore Mataire Diplomatic Brief The United Kingdom is a critical cog in Zimbabwe’s efforts to re-integrate into the community of nations following years of isolation in the First Republic. As the former colonial power, the United Kingdom was instrumental in mobilising its European allies to […]

The post Zim’s re-engagement bearing fruits appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Source: Zim’s re-engagement bearing fruits | Sunday Mail (Top Stories)

Lovemore Mataire
Diplomatic Brief

The United Kingdom is a critical cog in Zimbabwe’s efforts to re-integrate into the community of nations following years of isolation in the First Republic. As the former colonial power, the United Kingdom was instrumental in mobilising its European allies to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe at the height of the fast-track land reform programme in 2002.

Since the advent of the New Dispensation, relations between Harare and London have warmed up with several exchange visits by top officials of the two administrations. Our Deputy Editor, Lovemore Ranga Mataire, who was recently in England, spoke to Zimbabwe’s Ambassador Rtd Col Christian Katsande on initiatives being undertaken to deepen bilateral ties and lure foreign direct investment.

LRM: As a starting point can you please give a general account of how you have fared so far since your appointment in terms of pursuing the thrust of the new dispensation?

Ambassador Katsande: Thank you very much Lovemore. It has been a very busy 12- months for the mission and also for me particularly. You are correct, to say the foreign policy thrust since the new dispensation focuses on the economic functions of diplomacy.

Basically, what we have been doing as a mission is to put together the mechanisms that assists in promoting trade, investment and tourism interests of Zimbabwe in the UK. I have to say, beyond that we have to look at the engagement with our diaspora, a community which is huge here and make sure that we provide the necessary support particularly in the area of consular services.

I am delighted that within these 12-months we have been able to put in place structures that are starting to deliver on the promotion of more trade, more investment and more tourist arrivals.

LRM: What are these structures that you have put in place?

Amb Katsande: What we have done is to establish clusters. We have a lot of diaspora network platforms here and what we did not want to do is to go to these platforms and tell them to collapse them into one. What we have done is to encourage them to come together around clusters. Clusters which mirror the key delivery pillar of the transitional stabilisation programme and also within the context of vision 2030 which his Excellency President ED Mnangagwa has enunciated.

So you will find that we have clusters looking at the mobilisation of funding for projects and programmes. We have a cluster that attends to tourism and wildlife sector, and we also have a cluster that is looking at social protection sectors of health and education. We also have a cluster looking at the cultural heritage dimension including the repatriation of the remains of our heroes and heroines that are here in the UK.

LRM: We will come back later to the repatriation of the remains of our heroes and heroines. I want you to explain further on the effectiveness of these structures. You seem to have segmented people into clusters who have various interests. What has been the impact of such an initiative?

Amb Katsande:  We can point out specific concrete outcomes that we have started to see in the area of mobilisation of funding. We have received ministerial visits. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development visited. There were meetings not only with the treasury department here and DIFD but also with members of the economic cluster that we set up.

We are starting to see a lot investor interest coming through especially from capital raising platforms …with funding to support private sector growth and development.

We have also seen Gemco (Generic European Maritime Concept of Operations) which has also come through with the support through again Government and private sector. As we speak, we have initiatives that are under consideration in setting up private equity firms that will support various projects.

We have also had ministerial visits we have had the visit from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade- starting with the working visit last year which laid down the framework for our re-engagement with the UK establishment as a pitch for economic functions for diplomacy focusing on promoting investment, trade and tourism.

LRM: It is good that you have mentioned issues to do with investment and it has been a major interest for individuals and companies wanting to set up business in Zimbabwe but I think people would be more interested in understanding the state of synergies and relations at bilateral level between UK and Zimbabwe? What is the state of relations between UK and Zimbabwe since you assumed office and since the advent of the New Dispensation?

Amb Katsande: I think it’s fair to say if one is talking of foreign direct investments in the Zimbabwean economy, the UK investors feature right at the top. We have a lot of companies that are listed on the London Stock Exchange. Some are dually listed while some are on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

We have seen a lot of investor interest coming through. Some who are looking at expanding operations but we are also in the process attracting others particularly in the mining sector.

We have seen a lot of interest in the gold sector; we have seen a lot of companies coming forward to support Zimbabwe by putting together funding for all production. I believe the vision that the mining sector has in terms of its production targets by 2023 will be reached.

I have seen the production of gold going up and I believe that with the continuing support that we have, we can move beyond 35 tonnes of gold in a few years’ time.

LRM: Your Excellency, there have been changes both in Zimbabwe and the UK. Some people  would want to argue that the good will that came as a result of the New Dispensation has somewhat dissipated. Do you think this is a fair comment?

Amb Katsande: I would say we have seen over the past 12 months the strengthening of bilateral relations with the UK government. You would be aware that the first envoy who congratulated his Excellency the President at inauguration was the then Minister of State for Africa, Rory Steward and thereafter Minister of State for Africa, Harriet Baldwin came through at that time representing the then Prime Minister Theresa May.

Since then, there has been an exchange of ministerial visits and correspondents at the highest level between his Excellency and her Majesty the Queen and also with the Prime Minister. Of course the change that has taken place here we have had congratulatory messages being exchanged. I would say that really that we have witnessed strengthening of our relations and generally improvement of communication between our two governments.

If one is to look at the governance side; you will recall that his Excellency the President made specific commitments at his inauguration in relations to the harmonised elections 2018. He made a commitment that there would be free, fair credible elections, a peaceful election, and that he was going to open up space not only to political actors locally.

You recall that there were many presidential aspirants at that time and 100 political parties came up. Not only was the space opened locally but also to international observers and regional observers. The SADC, the AU the EU delegation, and the Commonwealth observer group. We also had observers from the United States and elsewhere. All these came on board and the reports that they made after of elections have been considered by the Government.

In fact, some of the recommendations are in the process of being implemented by the Government. There are pieces of legislations that are being looked at by the Parliament and to make sure that reforms enhance our situation.

I would say that yes some may hold their views but it is very clear that our relations are improving particularly in the area of investor interest, tourism arrivals. We have seen Lonely Planets which bestowed an accolade to Zimbabwe as the third must visit tourist destination for 2019.

That is followed by the ITB Berlin accolade on Zimbabwe for the most sustainable destination. So I would say if you put all these matters together and the investor interest that we are seeing right across the board that we have alluded to that points to an improvement.

LRM: And the change in leadership in the UK? Do you think this has affected the momentum built on with the previous Prime Minister?

Amb Katsande: You will recall that I made reference to the visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and that time the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Boris Johnson, hosted him and a group of foreign ministers from the Commonwealth. That is following the commitment that his Excellency the President had made at the beginning our journey to re-join the Commonwealth. I believe that journey is on course. I believe that recent changes with the Prime Minister being Boris Johnson bodes well for the continuing efforts that we have to fulfil the intentions that we have.

LRM: Let us go back to the issue that you mentioned of sectors. UK has one of the largest populations of Zimbabweans. What efforts or initiatives have been put in place to ensure the country benefits both from expertise and remittances?

Amb Katsande: There are three dimensions that I would like to lay focus on. The first dimension is remittances. The figures are there. There are different estimates but certainly a minimum of a billion dollars but there are other estimates because of some figures that may not have been accounted for so it puts that figure to $2 billion. That is very important contribution to the economy.

The second aspect I want focus on . . . within those clusters we are seeing Zimbabweans who are in the diaspora making key contributions.

We have professionals in the medical field, specialists who run various institutions in the UK, and we are not talking of specialists at a national level these are global players who are in demand. They are coming forward to support various initiatives we are pursuing and are in the process of fund raising for various establishments.

We are pursuing the putting up of foetal medicine centre establishments in Zimbabwe working closely with King’s College of Foetal Health and I am delighted that the Minister of Health and Child Care approved the pursuance of this matter and followed it up sending the Deputy Minister, Dr John Mangwiro, who attended the foetal medicine conference which took place here in December last year. He also followed it up by setting up a unit at the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.

We are delighted over these developments. This is just an example that I have given you. We have initiatives in the education sector. The diasporans are raising funding. Mr Henry Chitsiga has collected over 2000 scientific calculators to take to Zimbabwe. He is working with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to take them to Nyanga in Manicaland. I also need to highlight the young professionals in the City.

These are financial wizards working in the banking and insurance sectors to attract funding, financing and investments in various sectors in Zimbabwe.

Last week, we had a delegation from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development which was engaging underwriters and bankers from the City who are contributing to the construction and establishment of health facilities, construction which by end of year would have started.

LRM: There have been some assertions that Zimbabwe suffers from lack of international media outreach. As an embassy, are you happy with the way Zimbabwe is projected in the local media here and what can be done to enhance the image of the country through the media locally here?

Amb Katsande: Two things; the first one is that it is correct to say we have taken a bashing in the media with the projection having been very negative and for us to be able to retrieve the dignity of Zimbabwe in that context will take time.

We have to deploy resources to make sure that we not only employ media platforms that are now available but to work with local institutions to build the correct image. To trace and articulate the real Zimbabwe that is there.

I agree that it will take time and require resources. But in the meantime what we are able to do is to directly engage the platforms that I have talked about. We engage the media here, both print and electronic.

We share the progress we are making in Zimbabwe in terms of political and economic reforms.

We believe that that has started to make an impact with but of course the resources come to the fore. In the meantime, we are not going to wait for those resources. We are going to engage local institutions and make sure we re-brand and pass on the correct information.

LRM: Almost every day there are people picketing and demonstrating here at the embassy, have you taken your time to understand their issues? Have you addressed the issues? Have you taken your time to understand what their concerns are?

Amb Katsande: When I arrived last year I discovered there were demonstrations that take place outside here at Zimbabwe house. So I asked my colleagues and they said they have been demonstrating like this for years. So I went out to engage them I was anxious to understand what the issues were. So I extended an invitation to two groups that demonstrate at the embassy. I invited them to come into the embassy so that we could sit down and discuss the issues. So that we could find out if the concerns they had could not be communicated to the relevant authorities in Zimbabwe.

The invitation was not taken up. Most unfortunately what we have now seen is violence that has come up within some of the protestors. You will be aware of the incident that took place when the Hon Minister of Foreign Affairs and international trade visited, but even before we had a group that was demonstrating outside.

Our consular department is open to the public and so we allow people to come in because we want to extend consular services not only to our people but also the tourists and others. But unfortunately they went in and within a very short time they were creating a very chaotic situation, they took down the official portrait of his Excellency. This is unheard of and it is not what we expect. We expect that there may be rights people ascribe to in terms of demonstrations but these should be peaceful demonstrations. If they would like to make a contribution to the development of Zimbabwe, the mission is available, I am available.

LRM: Why in your view have they not taken up your invitation, to have a dialogue?

Amb Katsande: I think what is coming through is that some of them are clearly aligned to a position that is taken by the main opposition body in Zimbabwe. You are aware that the political body has not participated in the national dialogue that his Excellency the President has created. I believe that perhaps if there is linkage between these groups and the political body. They would follow what the body does.
Perhaps that is what they are pursuing. As I have said we have extended our arms to all in diaspora irrespective of political affiliation.

LRM: Lets us talk about fellow African diplomats. I know our thrust has been to assess and evaluate our relations between Zimbabwe and Britain and how these relations have improved. What is the general attitude of fellow African Diplomats towards Zimbabwe? Do they think the Government is sincere in pursing the reform agenda which the Excellency mentioned in his inauguration? What has been their disposition?

Amb Katsande: It a very positive disposition, a very excellent relationship within ourselves. Not only in the SADC and AU but in the broader grouping of Ambassadors. His Excellency the President has assisted us tremendously because he has made it a point to brief his colleagues in the SADC grouping. We are aware that he has travelled in the region, briefing his counterparts on the policy thrust, briefing them developments surrounding elections, surrounding any new developments and that has been of tremendous help to us out here in the sense that my counterparts take a cue from their head offices so we a very close relationship. We actually have monthly meetings from the SADC groupings and also for the AU heads of mission. We are very happy with the level corporation. We keep briefing each other and assist each other and support each other. Particularly when we had Cyclone idai which adversely not only in Mozambique but Zimbabwe and Malawi as well.

LRM: Let’s talk about the Commonwealth. You have spoken about African diplomats accredited here. One of the issues that Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international trade has been pursuing has been the re admittance into the commonwealth. Maybe you could give a brief account of where we are. You are Zimbabwe’s top representative here. Where are we in terms of seeking to rejoin the Commonwealth?

Amb Katsande: The starting point was the commitment made by His Excellency, the President in terms of rejoining the Commonwealth. Thereafter, the working visits by the hon minister of foreign affairs and international trade, undertook to the UK within that context the engaging both the UK government and foreign ministers from the commonwealth.

I am aware that this engagement has continued in Harare between the Minister and the ambassadors who represent the Commonwealth countries. After the working visits we then had the correspondences initially between Government and the Commonwealth Secretariat specifically the Secretary General Patricia Scotland wherein the commitment was formally put forward. On the basis of the formal commitment there were seven requirements that were put forward in terms of the formal process that are involved so that members of the Commonwealth familiarize themselves with the constitution of Zimbabwe, various legislation of Zimbabwe, various other documentation. All this was conveyed to commonwealth secretariat.

Thereafter, the invitation for the Commonwealth to participate in the general elections came through. The Commonwealth responded positively by sending a team which was led by former President of Ghana. The observer group made their report and some recommendations were made. We had a first assessment team that visited Zimbabwe and last month we had a second assess team that was in Zimbabwe who are now complying their report. A report which will contribute to the report made by the secretariat of the Commonwealth.

LRM: Your Excellency, broadly and in summary, what are the major milestones achieved by the embassy in the areas you have mentioned of re-engagement and projecting the Zimbabwean brand?

Amb Katsande: I believe there are many milestones we can make reference to. But very briefly, I would say we seen strengthening of our bilateral relations with the UK government. We have seen an increase of ministerial and official visits. We have seen an increase in investor interest by companies who wish to trade with Zimbabwe. We have seen a lot traders and that has led us to encourage the private sector team to set up a trade and investment promotion office at their own expense. We are working with them closely with them to promote high impact into Zimbabwe. We can point to the support that continues to come from the British companies in terms of DIDF support, social protection, education, health and various other sectors that promote private sector growth. We are also seeing an increase in tourist arrivals from the UK. We are seeing an increase from tour operators arriving from Zimbabwe. Travel magazines and various players in tourism and leisure sector visiting Zimbabwe and highlighting the high quality of our wild life of flora and fauna.

We also want to highlight the interest that we have seen from the literary industry, writers and film industry. We went to work with film industry not only here but elsewhere to start to build to obtain proceeds for our people from the industry which right now I would say it virtually a sleeping giant in the own right. So let me say we have also opened the doors of the mission to all and sundry, Zimbabweans in diaspora irrespective of their political affiliation. We are providing consular services but we are pursuing that now to establish honorary consules throughout the UK.

LRM: What are honorary consuls’ services?

Amb Katsande: These are persons who really represent the national interests in promoting trade, investment, tourism cultural exchange and educational programmes to mutual benefits, for the benefit of the UK and Zimbabwe.

They are normally not funded by the Government, they are people who use their own means usually business people to contribute to the national cause in Zimbabwe in terms of development and exchange programmes.
We started in Scotland. We are going to move to Wales. We are going to move to other areas such Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and to even see that we have honorary consuls who can extend consular services for our people so that they do not have to travel all the way to London although we are always available.

LRM: Your Excellency, I would like to thank you taking time to have a conversation with The Sunday Mail and we wish you all the best in your endeavour to ensure that Zimbabwe is back into community of nations.

Amb Katsande: Thank you Lovemore. Thank you for the best wishes. We look forward to doing greater things. We are delighted to be making a small contribution to the revitalization not only to our economy but to the revitalization of socio-economic fabric of our nation. Thank you.

 

The post Zim’s re-engagement bearing fruits appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Motivated to change lives

Source: Motivated to change lives | Sunday Mail (Local News) Last week, Zimbabwe joined the world in commemorating Humanitarian Day in honour of thousands of aid workers who put their lives on the line to assist others in times of disasters and need. The celebrations ran under the theme: “Women Humanitarians”, putting to focus the […]

The post Motivated to change lives appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Source: Motivated to change lives | Sunday Mail (Local News)

Last week, Zimbabwe joined the world in commemorating Humanitarian Day in honour of thousands of aid workers who put their lives on the line to assist others in times of disasters and need.

The celebrations ran under the theme: “Women Humanitarians”, putting to focus the dedication by female humanitarians in their line of duty.

The Sunday Mail Gender and Community Affairs Editor Fatima Bulla and reporter Daphne Machiri caught up with an unsung humanitarian female hero, Mrs Takudzwa Chihanga (34) who is Oxfam in Zimbabwe water engineer. She is credited for spearheading a solar-powered piped water system that has improved access to water for women and girls who previously walked long distances to fetch water. Mrs Chihanga holds a first degree in Agriculture Engineering and a Masters Degree in Water Resource Management.

Question: You have shown that women can break barriers by venturing into spheres traditionally thought to be a preserve for men. Can you tell us more about your occupation?

Answer: I deal with anything that has to do with water, that is, water surveying or hydrological surveys; this is establishing where to set up water infrastructure.

Then there is water testing, yield capacity of the particular water sources to see if there is sufficient water and a look at the water quantity and quality. When we are looking at the water quantity, we need to see if it is sufficient to serve the population that it is intended for. With water quality we establish to see if it is safe and portable for human consumption. I also deal with human management, probably supervision of contractors doing the actual work. Then more importantly, I also physically assist those doing the work like trenching, earth-filling, pipe laying and other plumbing duties.

Q: Tell us about the solar powered water project?

A: We all agree we are experiencing the effects of climate change. There are many things that we used to do that are no longer possible. As such, when we are doing our work or designing certain infrastructure we now take certain aspects into considerations.

For example, we need to look at how the water infrastructure we are setting up can be affected, negatively or positively, by the new weather patterns. I have worked for other organisations on water systems that are diesel or electricity powered. But with the local shortages and cost of electricity and diesel, it calls for alternative thinking. That is why I have decided to capture green energy which is readily available in Zimbabwe.

It was a question of how best can we harness solar energy in water pumping systems. We said, let us resort to the use of solar energy in pumping water so that people have access to this resource.

Q: What is the target group for this project?

A: The project currently targets women, especially in the rural areas. We are trying to reduce the burden and the time that women and girls spend in fetching water for care work. When I say care work, it is in reference to household chores; laundry, cooking, firewood collection and other duties that are “normally” prescribed for women and girls. We are trying to erase the stereotypical nature of our systems where society ascribes certain duties on the basis of one’s sex.

We don’t want women spending more time fetching water, but we want the resource to be available at the homestead so that they also get time for social interaction with their counterparts. We have noted that most rural girls drop out of school to undertake care work. Our research shows that many rural women and girls spend up to six hours daily doing work that involves water.

That is why there is this drive to reduce the burden through provision of water. We then moved in to avail tap water to women and girls in rural areas. We want then to travel shorter distances to access water or probably give them an opportunity to open a tap and access water within their yards. That is how I came up with the solar powered water project.

Q: To what extent has this project reduced the burden women and girls face in fetching water?

A: I have worked on solar water piped system projects with Oxfam Zimbabwe in different provinces in which I can say we have achieved a lot towards attaining sustainable development goals and empowering women to access clean, safe and portable water.

I think indeed we have achieved our objectives because from our evaluations, the project has reduced the burden on women and girls. You find, for example, in Summerton, Masvingo, there used to be a manual hand pump borehole where one person would need 15 to 20 minutes to fill a 20 litre bucket because the queue would be long. But now because the system is now tapped, the queues have disappeared.

Q: Can you explain how this system works and how many households have benefited so far?

A: Basically, we have a system that uses solar panels to capture sunlight and convert it into electricity. That energy is then used to run a submersible pump which draws water into an overhead reservoir.

From there, the water is channelled through pipes to taps closer to households. Each water system takes up to two weeks to install and we have successfully implemented the project in Gutu, Masvingo, Zvishavane and Bubi districts. In terms of beneficiaries, they vary because of different setups of communities. I can say for Masvingo, we had about 8 000 people from various villages benefiting and these represent an average 1 000 households. There is also a primary school, clinic and business centre that are also getting tap water.

We involve the communities and even get additional labour from them. This instils a sense of ownership and in the event of breakdowns, they can attend to the faults.

We also make it a point that the trenching and earth filling work should be left to the benefiting community. I should say when we involve members of the community to undertake some of the work, we have not had an encouraging participation from women considering this programme is expected to empower them. We have noticed that whenever a project targets rural communities, men tend to be on the forefront especially where labour is required for an incentive. But we are coming up with measures to address this so that our target — women — get the utmost benefit.

Q: Do you think authorities or policy makers are doing enough to utilise renewable energy.

A: Renewable energy is something we need to take up. It is costly at initial stages, but once adopted, it has huge benefits and is economic. Most solar systems have a guarantee of up to 25 years and this shows how durable the equipment is. I believe we need Government subsidies so that we can invest more in solar equipment.

Q: Finally, how do you manage to balance your career and role in the home?

A: It is challenging considering that the work is strenuous and time demanding. I am always on the move. Being a mother of three, I am also expected to take care of the family. Responsibilities may be too much, but I have to be strong. I thank my husband for supporting me. I am also grateful to my employer who has given me flexible working conditions as I am currently nursing a two month old baby. Whenever I travel, I am allowed to take my child and maid along. That is great motivation for me to continue changing lives.

 

The post Motivated to change lives appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Government begins grain imports

Source: Government begins grain imports | Sunday Mail (Top Stories) Debra Matabvu and Prince Maphosa Government has bought 20 000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania and is in active discussions with other countries in the region, particularly Zambia, as it moves to procure more than 1 million tonnes, it has been learnt. Government says it […]

The post Government begins grain imports appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Source: Government begins grain imports | Sunday Mail (Top Stories)

Debra Matabvu and Prince Maphosa

Government has bought 20 000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania and is in active discussions with other countries in the region, particularly Zambia, as it moves to procure more than 1 million tonnes, it has been learnt.

Government says it has enough stocks to supply the local market in the interim as it currently holds 500 000 tonnes in the strategic grain reserve, which are over and above the 560 000 tonnes that have been delivered by farmers to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) during the recent marketing season.

The country needs 1,8 million tonnes of grain per year.

Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) Mr Justin Mupamhanga said Government was now working on logistics to bring the maize from Tanzania.

“We have secured 20 000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania and we are now working on logistics on how to bring the maize into the country,” he said.

“This is the first batch of maize, and we are working on acquiring up to 1 million tonnes of maize.

“We have started engaging other countries in the region; and for now, Zambia is considering supplying us with maize.

“Acquiring maize is a long process; however, we are working on it as a matter urgency.”

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza told The Sunday Mail that the grain importation committee was working on processes to ensure that grain was bought at a reasonable price.

“The grain importation committee, chaired by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo, is working on the price and modalities. However, we currently have enough maize and small grain,” said Dr Nzenza.

“We reviewed the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) Report (a fortnight ago) during the food security and nutrition committee meeting, which is chaired by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Rtd Air Marshall Perrance Shiri, and we were mapping a way forward for the most vulnerable areas,” she said.

The ZimVAC report, released in June this year, estimates that rural food insecurity will surpass 50 percent by March 2020.

Matabeleland North, Midlands and Masvingo are projected to have the highest number of food-insecure households during that period.

Binga and Chivi will be the most vulnerable districts.

At 49 percent, Matabeleland South is projected to have the least proportion of food-insecure households.

The report reads in part: “In June 2019, rural food insecurity was estimated at 21 percent and is projected to reach 59 percent during the peak hunger period (January to March 2020).

“This food insecurity prevalence translates to about 5,5 million rural people. The cereal requirements, at peak, will be 818 323 tonnes at an estimated cost of US$217 659 752.

“There is need for urgent food distribution or cash-based transfers (to promote the local economy where feasible) to food-insecure households in order to avoid a worsening situation.”

In a ministerial statement to Parliament recently, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said grain imports were a priority.

“The entire country has been affected, with the most affected being the traditional low rainfall regions 4 and 5, covering mainly Masvingo as well as the Matabeleland North and South provinces. Even the traditionally food secure provinces of Mashonaland in regions 1, 2 and 3 have been severely affected,” he said.

“Humanitarian assistance must be availed from now up to April 2020 and thereafter a review will be done for the consequent period.

“Due to the inter-linkages of the economy’s various sectors, the disaster is anticipated to affect a wide range of sectors, including the industry and energy sectors. However, the most affected sectors are food and nutrition, agriculture, water, education, health, wildlife, environment, energy and gender, among others.”

President Mnangagwa has declared the 2018-19 El Nino-induced drought a State of National Disaster, which has paved way for the launch of the Revised Zimbabwe Humanitarian Appeal by Government and the United Nations.

Between now and April next year, over US$331 million is required to feed an estimated 5,5 million people.

Since the launch of the programme, the World Food Programme (WFP) and its development partners have raised US$100 million towards the cause.

Treasury has also set aside $624 million for grain imports.

The post Government begins grain imports appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Government censures dabbling by Western ambassadors

Source: Government censures dabbling by Western ambassadors | Sunday Mail (Top Stories) News Editor Government takes exception and offence in instances where accredited diplomatic personnel dabble in “opposition politics in Zimbabwe”, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo has said. In a no-holds-barred meeting with ambassadors from Western countries held in Harare on […]

The post Government censures dabbling by Western ambassadors appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Source: Government censures dabbling by Western ambassadors | Sunday Mail (Top Stories)

News Editor

Government takes exception and offence in instances where accredited diplomatic personnel dabble in “opposition politics in Zimbabwe”, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo has said.

In a no-holds-barred meeting with ambassadors from Western countries held in Harare on Thursday, Minister Moyo said although the new administration was not averse to criticism, it was deeply concerned with the “one-sided character of the brickbats” following the August 16 illegal demonstrations.

Thursday’s meeting was convened a day after the same missions issued a statement criticising the way Government handled the protests.

Zimbabwe’s top diplomat said although ambassadors had the right to associate with whomsoever they want, this did not translate to interfering in the affairs of a sovereign State.

“You may all have your personal likes or dislikes: you may have friends and acquaintances across the broad spectrum of Zimbabwean politics. Indeed, as diplomats, it is to be expected and it is perfectly acceptable that you should engage all players across that spectrum and gain as full as possible an understanding of this country and its robust socio-political and economic dynamic. Nothing is wrong with that,” said Minister Moyo.

“But when any accredited representative allows themselves to become actively engaged in or associated with that political dynamic; and is sucked into the crude machinations which, today, constitute opposition politics in Zimbabwe, then, Excellencies, we do take offence and we do take exception,” he said.

Violent History

Police had decided to issue a prohibition order, which was upheld by the High Court, after establishing “grounds of probable violence, danger to life and probable destruction of property”, he said.

Three people – Evidence Ncube (28) of Gokwe, Masimba Jemwa (41) and James Pfundira (27) – have already been jailed for two months by a Harare court after they were arrested at a police roadblock while travelling in an unregistered Nissan Hardbody vehicle during the MDC-Alliance’s illegal demonstration.

Notably, the trio was found in possession of a satchel containing machetes and a knife.

Minister Moyo also questioned why the ambassadors have remained deafeningly silent despite continued incendiary rhetoric from the opposition calling for the removal of a democratically elected Government.

“Your Governments, Excellencies, are quick to condemn us for any breach of law or for any failure to uphold the rule of law. But you are silent when opposition formations blatantly disregard the law, defy the High Court and repeatedly threaten to overthrow the elected Government of the day through violent protests and the promotion of chaos and anarchy. . .

“Again, Excellencies, your silence at this stated determination – to undermine democracy in Zimbabwe, to overthrow the Government and plunge the country into chaos – is deeply concerning,” he said.

Minister Moyo said despite dealing with a mob acting in open defiance of the law, which had also committed “provocation at its worst” by marching to Munhumutapa Offices — the seat of the Presidency — police had carried out their duties satisfactorily.

No serious injuries or fatalities had been recorded on the day, he said.

Sabotage

Dr Moyo said the nascent signs of economic recovery are making the opposition increasingly uneasy as they know that a growing and stable economy spells a bleak future for them.

“Our brothers in the opposition know full well that once these beacons become more visible, and once the economy begins to move, they face a very bleak future; and so, they direct their efforts at undermining that recovery, and dousing those beacons and doing everything they possibly can to slow or even halt any economic recovery. . .

“This determination to sabotage economic revival and to prolong the plight of so many Zimbabweans is an integral part of their broader thrust to destabilise this country and to achieve, by violent, unconstitutional means, what they failed to achieve via the ballot box in July 2018.”

Minister Moyo also exhorted the embassies to counsel the opposition and civil society, which had shown a determination for what he called “political insurgency”.

“Going forward, Excellencies, we count on you, in your engagement with opposition formations and civil society, to impress upon them to put the nation ahead of narrow, partisan interests; to operate strictly within the law; and, with regard to the opposition formations, to desist from the reckless, provocative threats of insurrection and insurgency which, on a daily basis, characterise their rhetoric and actions,” he said.

The post Government censures dabbling by Western ambassadors appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

The Surprising Path That Some Kids Take to the Ivy League

Source: Opinion | The Surprising Path That Some Kids Take to the Ivy League – The New York Times Meet the resilient strivers who prove that brilliance has no borders. Wadzanay Mayiseni, from Zimbabwe, is attending Columbia University, thanks in part to the United Student Achievers Program.CreditCreditDamon Winter/The New York Times You’ve read a lot […]

The post The Surprising Path That Some Kids Take to the Ivy League appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Source: Opinion | The Surprising Path That Some Kids Take to the Ivy League – The New York Times

Meet the resilient strivers who prove that brilliance has no borders.

Wadzanay Mayiseni, from Zimbabwe, is attending Columbia University, thanks in part to the United Student Achievers Program.
CreditCreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

You’ve read a lot over the past year about kids who end up in the Ivy League because of their parents’ wealth and wiles, kids with obscene advantages. I’d like to introduce you to another kind of kid who landed there. Her name is Wadzanayi Mayiseni. She goes by Wadzi.

Before Wadzi, 19, arrived at Columbia University last month for a summer bridge program to prepare for her first year, she’d never been to the United States. She’d never left Africa. She’s from Zimbabwe, one of the poorest countries in the world, where her mother, who raised her without any help from her father, has been out of a steady job since Wadzi was 9.

When Wadzi was 12, she found out she had bone cancer, which meant not just chemotherapy but the amputation of most of her left leg. I asked her how, psychologically and emotionally, that changed her. She said it made her more determined.

“You’re not defined by the things that hold you back,” she told me. “You’re defined by how you rise above them.” She refused to be placed in classes for disabled children and later figured out how to get a scholarship to one of Zimbabwe’s most esteemed private high schools. Then she figured out how to translate that into the best college education possible.

She got help with that last part from the nonprofit United Student Achievers Program, which for two decades has identified disadvantaged high school students of enormous promise in Zimbabwe, coached them through applying to top-notch colleges outside of their country and steered them toward futures they never imagined.

And by “disadvantaged,” I mean students who in some cases grew up herding livestock and in other cases were strangers to computers. I mean orphans: Largely because of the AIDS epidemic, about a third of Zimbabwe’s USAP students have lost both parents. I met one such student, Getrude Makurumidze, last year; by the time she was 9, her mother, father and 6-month-old sister had died from complications related to AIDS. She then bounced among the members of her extended family who could afford at a given moment to keep her. She nonetheless went on to graduate from Bryn Mawr and is now in medical school at Georgetown University.

There are USAP programs in other developing countries. They not only provide students with the guidance necessary to apply to foreign colleges but also help with application fees and financial aid forms. Zimbabwe’s USAP was the model and remains the gold standard. It has sent more than 400 students abroad, mostly to the United States, where the schools they’ve attended include Stanford, Harvard, Yale, M.I.T., the University of Chicago, Duke, Pomona — you name it. Many went on to earn Ph.D.s. Many became physicians. Six won Rhodes scholarships.

CreditJoshua Bright for The New York Times

That’s worth dwelling on for several reasons, starting with this one: Zimbabwe is the sort of place that President Trump had in mind when he used a fecal epithet for poor, black and (to his thinking) worthless countries, but there is obviously great potential there, needing only to be recognized and nurtured. Countries don’t fall neatly into categories: good versus bad sources of immigrants. Reality is more complicated. Talent is universal.

For example, in another desperate part of Africa, Somaliland, there’s a remarkable school, Abaarso, that Jonathan Starr, an American philanthropist, opened in 2009. It educates children in grades 7 through 12. Its alumni have been admitted to and received financial aid from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, M.I.T., Swarthmore.

Those institutions’ receptiveness is another reason I’m writing this. Yes, America’s richest colleges stay that way by giving special consideration to families with the means to make big donations. But they simultaneously use some of their wealth, if not quite enough, to educate students who cannot contribute a dime to their tuition.

Zimbabwe’s USAP is also the story of the difference that one person can make. It’s run by and was the brainchild of Rebecca Zeigler Mano, an American who married a Zimbabwean, moved to Zimbabwe and couldn’t just shrug off the country’s misery.

“There’s a big gap — a big chasm — between the talent that we have in Zimbabwe and the opportunities,” she said on the first of two occasions over the last 13 months when I spoke with her in New York. She returns frequently to America, in part to raise funds.

Her program has become so well known and widely respected in Zimbabwe that every year she gets 700 to 800 applications for about 35 spots. “I like to tell Harvard that we are more competitive than they are,” she said. Many of the applicants are from remote rural areas; she tirelessly crisscrosses the country to interview them.

She also builds networks in the United States for the students who come here, so that they have places to go on school breaks — they can’t afford to fly home — and so that there are people to help with things like sheets and blankets. At the start she didn’t factor in their entire array of needs and got reports that USAP students were sleeping on bare dormitory-room beds.

“She’s one of my life heroes,” said Bruce Wharton, who was the public-affairs officer in the American Embassy in Zimbabwe when USAP began. “I don’t know anybody who has done so much on an individual, personal level to make our world better.”

Rebecca Mano, founder of USAP, said over 700 students apply for about 35 spots in her program.
CreditJoshua Bright for The New York Times

Her ambitions are expanding: She plans to open a USAP boarding school in Zimbabwe next year. Money permitting, it will give up to 50 Zimbabwean students their 11th- and 12th-grade educations, so that they’re in the best shape possible to thrive when they go to college abroad.

She told me that she also hoped that the school would give the kids a deeper investment in Zimbabwe. In her ideal scenario, they bring the knowledge that they’ve acquired in college back to a country with a shortage of leaders, of innovators, of hope.

Wadzi said that she could envision getting a medical degree in the United States, becoming a pediatric oncologist and then returning home to help children who confront medical scares like the one that she survived.

I asked her about her impressions of America so far. She mentioned a trip to see, up close, a world-famous landmark that was familiar from so many pictures: the Statue of Liberty.

“It was right in front of me,” she said. “I was awe-struck.”

Education doesn’t just help the individual, said Wadzi. “It helps a whole generation, it helps a whole family, it helps a whole society.”
Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

“You know the crown represents seven continents?” she added, referring to the spikes that radiate from it. She was transfixed by the fact that an icon so central to one country would allude to all the others; by the generosity of that symbolism; by its inclusiveness. “I remember really smiling,” she told me, “because I felt a part of that.”

She said that the tablet that Lady Liberty holds brought to mind studying, learning, growing. That, too, made her smile. “I’m here for an education,” she said. “And there’s a statue embodying what I’ve come for.”

The post The Surprising Path That Some Kids Take to the Ivy League appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

$40m for needy households

Source: $40m for needy households | Sunday Mail (Top Stories) Sharon Munjenjema Government will next week resume electronic cash transfers amounting to $40 million to more than 60 000 vulnerable households to cushion them against the current economic challenges and rising cost of living. The exercise, which is administered through the harmonised social cash transfer […]

The post $40m for needy households appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Source: $40m for needy households | Sunday Mail (Top Stories)

Sharon Munjenjema

Government will next week resume electronic cash transfers amounting to $40 million to more than 60 000 vulnerable households to cushion them against the current economic challenges and rising cost of living.

The exercise, which is administered through the harmonised social cash transfer programme (HSCT), was discontinued a few years ago owing to cash shortages.

An additional $63 million has also been released to clear school fees arrears accrued through the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) programme, which provides assistance to 415 900 disadvantaged children countrywide.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza told The Sunday Mail Government has since identified a platform through which the cash transfers would be made.

“Currently, a new e-payment system is being put in place within the next month after Econet won a tender to disburse HSCT funds to beneficiaries in various districts via the EcoCash platform. A total of 62 017 beneficiary households, who are food-poor and labour-constrained, will benefit. Currently, $39 472 644 – which is being reviewed upwards – will be disbursed,” said Dr Nzenza.

“Treasury continues to release funds to offset outstanding (BEAM) arrears. So far, an amount of $63 million awaits disbursement into school accounts once they have complied with vendor-coding requirements set by the Treasury as a new system.

“BEAM will, therefore, clear all arrears owing to date this month.”

In her latest report, Auditor-General Mrs Mildred Chiri said Treasury last year recalled $9 million that had been allocated for the HSCT programme, as the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare failed to release it to beneficiaries.

However, Dr Nzenza indicated that the department responsible for the disbursements failed to get timely authorisation for payments from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

The HSCT began in 2012 to support food-insecure households in rural areas.

The facility is targeted at households living below the poverty datum line, especially families that do not have able-bodied members who are fit for work.

BEAM arrears

Official statistics indicate that notwithstanding the $23 million that was released by Treasury towards BEAM last year, school fees arrears had soared to $54,5 million by December.

The 18-year programme is designed to subsidise examination fees and applicable levies for orphaned or vulnerable primary and secondary school children.

The 2019 Zimbabwe Vulnerable Assessment Committee (ZimVac) report revealed that Government remains the major provider of support to vulnerable communities in need of food assistance countrywide.

The report stated that of vulnerable households that received food assistance in 2018-19, 56 percent got support from Government, 13 percent from non-governmental organisations and the United Nations.

Three percent received support from churches, while 16 percent were aided by relatives within rural areas.

Relatives in urban areas covered 18 percent of the vulnerable, while 11 percent got succour from remittances from outside the country.

Apart from BEAM and HSCT, Government is also carrying out a Food Deficit Mitigation Programme from which 600 000 households are benefiting, a Public Assistance Programme for the elderly and disabled, and the Assisted Medical Treatment Orders (AMTOs) targeting needy persons who are assisted to get medical attention at State-owned institutions.

The post $40m for needy households appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.