Kindernothilfe (KNH) from Germany continued to support the Self Help Group (SHG) concept as an instrument used to combat poverty in a sustainable way. The concept aims at socially and economically empowering poor women using locally available resources. The approach does not give temporary one-off benefits in the form of money or food, but empowers poor women to develop themselves and their children sustainably. The goal of the project is to sustainably empower poor women socially and economically for the betterment of their lives, families and communities. In 2016, this project continued targeting women in Mutare Rural District in wards 13 (Temberere), 20 (Munyarari), 36 (Dzobo) and 26 (Muradzikwa).The project reached to 1119 women. Since the inception of the project in 2013, the objectives to be achieved by 2018 include;

• To enable poor women to help themselves in a sustainable way through substantial capacity building inputs and facilitating them into self-organizational groups.

• To empower women to realize their hidden potential through coming together to form Self Help Groups, Cluster.

Level Associations (CLAs) and Federations

One of Toitei CLA representative (standing) explaining the CLA action plan to the other CLA members in ward 36 of Mutare Rural District Achievements realized

• 92% of children under the care of SHG project are regularly attending primary school because the women involved in the project can pay school fees on time.

• Increased number of meals from 1 to 2 per day in the households of SHG members has been maintained.

• 90% of women were able to take loans from groups in 2016.

• Increased number of CLAs from 1 to 5.

• 3 linkages established at Cluster Level Association (CLA) with Local leadership, Ministry of Health and Child Care and Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development

• Total number of functional Self Help Groups (SHGs) to date has increased from 49 to 68

• Total capital for all SHGs (savings, fines and other income) also increased from $50 034 to $60 244.85.

Self Help Group a life transforming approach

Eves is a 40 year old widow. She has five children. Her polygamous husband passed away in 2014 when she was pregnant. This disturbed her a lot since she could not get enough to provide for her children. When the husband died, there was nothing in form of preparation for her expected baby and that made life very difficult for her since she had to start all this alone. She started to do part time jobs from other villagers who would then give her used towel nappies as payment. When she gave birth to her child, she joined Kumboedza Self Help Group in ward 36 of Dzobo area. She was however not very confident since they were saving only $0.50c per member per week. She thought nothing big would come out from such a small amount. The other SHG members encouraged her to continue with the weekly savings which she did.

She borrowed USD50 from the group and bought wool from Mutare for re-sale. She was surprised by the rate at which the wool was being bought. She started to get profit out of her business that she would pay back her loan on time, pay school fees for her children as well as buying food for them. For every USD50 she would get a profit of $15 dollars. She also managed to have her kitchen floored with cement, something that she had failed to do before the introduction of SHG. In her own words, Eves had this to share: “Indeed my life has been transformed by the Self Help Groups.”