Mwenezi Development Training Centre - In Detail

The District
Mwenezi district is in the lowveld south of Masvingo Province and largely made up of communal farms. With a population of over 120,000 people it is the poorest district in Zimbabwe. Poverty is linked to poor agricultural productivity and unemployment. This in turn is due to the low and erratic 400 mm annual rainfall, low literacy levels, especially among those over 39 years of age, and a lack of skills for developing non-agricultural enterprises.

Neshuro is the council seat of Mwenezi District and also contains the District Hospital; it is located some 420km from Harare, and 120km from the provincial capital, Masvingo (formerly Fort Victoria). Mwenezi is bounded to the south by Beitbridge, beyond which is the Republic of South Africa, and to the north by Chivi, while to the east is Gonerazhou National Park and the Mozambique border. Previously Neshuro was part of Matabeleland South Province which now borders it to the south west along with Midlands Province to the north west.

The Centre
The Mwenezi Development Training Centre is a a membership based non government organisation situated at Neshuro. It was established in 1986 as a skills training project of the Glen Forest Training Centre in Harare, and became an independent organisation in 1991. It is registered with the Zimbabwe government (Registered Welfare Organisation WO 25/91) and is accredited with the Government's Technical Support Unit to participate in Land Reform and Resettlement. It is seeking accreditation with the Ministry of Education as a further education institution.

Its major objective is to foster development in the district through training in self-reliance skills and through support of community initiated projects.

The Centre operates under the management of a Board of Trustees and with the support of foreign donors and the local community, and has around 8000 members. Area training committees from the seven chief's areas are responsible for planning and evaluating programmes.

A full time complement of 22 trainers, administrators and enterprise staff is supplemented by casual workers from within the district. The Centre has hosted volunteer workers from The Netherlands, Ghana and Australia, and takes Zimbabwean graduates on attachment for them to gain experience in relevant positions.

Programmes

Training programmes run by the centre include:

The emphasis is on 'in situ' training combined with post training support and follow up. There is a gender programme and a general awareness raising in the community of development issues and responsibility.

Practical programmes include support services for ex trainees and local artisans, and assisting in the establishment of local water conservation and erosion control schemes and grain banks. The Centre administers a micro finance scheme, and a tool making and refurbishment workshop has recently been built on the campus. Some programmes of other organisations are delivered by MDTC, such as the donation of tool kits to artisans, and the delivery of flood and drought relief programs (such as those following Cyclone Eline in 2000). Other organisations bring programmes to the District with the collaboration of MDTC, utilising the facilities, skills and local network of the Centre.

Income Generation
Enterprises run by the Centre include broiler production, toolmaking, carpentry shop, rabbitry and garden. The Centre also provides
accommodation and conference facilities to other organisation and to the public and sells a range of products that are produced by the Centre itself and by graduates of our training courses, and other items not otherwise available locally. During times of shortage the Centre sells maize to local consumers and is looking to expand into other items.


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