Bopoma Villages strengthens and equips families and communities in rural Zimbabwe to move from extreme poverty to opportunity, self-reliance and hope
What is Capacity?
Capacity is the ability of individuals and communities to meet their needs, solve their problems and achieve their goals. Giving aid can temporarily alleviate the symptoms of poverty, but building capacity equips people to address the causes and find long-lasting solutions.
Building capacity requires time, commitment, and solutions to a range of problems – contaminated water, malnutrition, poor health, lack of education, unemployment, and hopelessness. Feeding a hungry child is good, but how much better to equip a family to grow its own nutritious food, prevent illness with clean water and good hygiene, and send their children to school?
Here are some of the ways Bopoma Villages is building capacity in Zaka, Zimbabwe:
Increasing the knowledge and skills of our leaders is an investment that will continue to pay dividends for years! Phainos (right) is the manager of our Healthy Homes Program. He has natural leadership skills, is hardworking, and dedicated to improving health and lives in Zaka. Bopoma Villages sponsored a project management program for Phainos. He says: “I am now equipped with skills to plan projects, solve many different types of problems, and work with different stakeholders.”
Capacity is destroyed by illness. Sick adults cannot work, farm, or care for children; sick children cannot grow and develop as they should, go to school, learn, or play. Sick families end up on a downward spiral of disability, unemployment, malnutrition, and poverty. Improving health builds capacity. Bopoma Villages’ programs bring clean water, improved hygiene, and good nutrition to rural villagers.
Equipping Local Volunteers
Bopoma Villages trains community volunteers to meet the practical and emotional needs of orphaned children and their caregivers. These dedicated volunteers conduct regular home visits, encourage families to participate in agricultural and other training opportunities, ensure that families have access to clean water, provide counselling, detect and address child abuse, and work with families to improve parenting skills and relationships between orphaned children and their caregivers.
Nourishing Families through Biointensive Farming
Most families eat only what they can grow, yet farming practices are poor and the land is depleted. Handouts of seed and fertilizer create dependency but invariably are short-term; when they are gone, families are worse off than before. Improving farming techniques and helping families develop productive community and household gardens can take them from food deprivation to sufficiency and even to surplus!
Bopoma Villages trains women in “table banking”, a simple community savings and loan system that is making a big difference in the lives of women and children in rural Zimbabwe. Members gather monthly to pool their money in a fund from which they can then borrow. The money is paid back with interest, causing the fund to grow. Table banking offers women who have little income and virtually no access to banks or loans the ability to save and to borrow funds to start small income-generating projects or to meet unexpected needs.
These women in Ndume Village took a big step towards self-sufficiency when they started a business making and selling buns to pay their children’s school fees.
Building the capacity of families and communities to care for themselves and others ensures that the generosity of our donors will change lives for generations.