women’s business

Since I attended the Training for Transformation course in Kleinmond (2010-11), the Self Help Development Foundation [SHDF] savings group members have started two bakeries in the rural Buhera district of Zimbabwe. The 42 new business owners (of which 90% are women), will eventually offer bread to 4160 households. In an area where the possibility of drought is a constant companion, this means improved food security.
After two community workshops on applying the methodologies learnt at Training for Transformation, the possibility of setting up a commercial bread business was born. Historically bread is baked in pit ovens, but with the nearest bakery 60 kilometers away and with a potential market of more than 4100 households, it was clear that they would need more efficient facilities.
The two bakeries were established in different wards, each serving about 52 villages. The biggest village capacitates about 70 to 80 households and smaller ones about 40 to 60 households. 28 Members collectively own the Chiurwi Bakery (25 female and 3 male) and 14 members own Masasa Bakery (13 females and 1 male).
When it became harder to save more money, those who had saved in the past years and bought goats and chickens for breeding, sold excess livestock to contribute towards building. Under the leadership of two steering committees the women defied all the prophets of doom, who prefer to divide tasks according to gender. The women molded the bricks at home and carried it to the site they negotiated with the council. Brick by brick, they built the facilities and an official opening is to be done on 24 April 2012.
By Mendy Mkondwa