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Community Partnership Programme

Pamushana - Zimbabwe

Community Partnership Programme

The Neighbour Outreach Programme (NOP) is the vehicle by which Singita Pamushana and the Malilangwe Trust achieve their community-development goals. It aims to make a lasting contribution to the local economy, the quality of education and to build awareness among the youth about the value of the country’s wildlife and cultural heritage.

Significantly, its school-feeding programme provides a fortified meal of corn-soya porridge to some 19 000 children each school day. This has a positive and measurable impact on the nutritional health and well-being of all these children, and also on school attendance at primary schools.

The NOP is also focused on food security, a critical issue at this time in Zimbabwe’s history. It facilitated the establishment of irrigated vegetable gardens that enable communities to grow their own food. Vegetables grown in excess of their own consumption needs are sold to generate income for the farming groups. In addition, the commencement of a Money for Honey bee-keeping programme has commenced, as has a poultry project, which has become the key egg supplier to Singita Pamushana Lodge and the Malilangwe Reserve.

The NOP is actively involved in the provision of community infrastructure, including the building and equipping of clinics and school buildings. The Malilangwe Trust is also in partnership with Tunza, a group that uses drama to educate youths and adults about the dangers of HIV and AIDS.

Kambako Cultural Village

Kambako is a ‘living museum’ just outside Malilangwe Reserve and has become a popular excursion for guests from the lodge.

In the past, the Shangaan people were hunter gatherers and their lifestyle is showcased through demonstrations of traditional skills, which visitors can see in action and try out for themselves. These include making fire from friction, water divining, bow-and-arrow making, identifying edible tubers, fashioning traps for rodents and game birds, smelting iron to make spears and other implements, clay pottery and basket-weaving.

Water provision

The establishment of water programmes that enable vulnerable communities to grow their own food and to supply drinking water for domestic livestock consumption, as well as to support their vegetable farming, is a priority of the Trust. Today, 16 boreholes sunk by the Malilangwe Trust provide drinkable, clean water to local villagers.

The Conservation Education Centre

The Conservation Education Centre is a bush camp that hosts groups of 20 to 30 children from 11 local primary schools. The aim is to teach them the importance of conservation and to develop a deep-seated curiosity and interest in the wildlife of the reserve.

Each three-day residential programme – conducted at Hakamela Camp in the reserve – consists of classroom lessons, physical activities, learning identification and tracking skills, game drives and visits to Malilangwe Dam to learn about aquatic conservation. Approximately 25 of these courses are conducted annually.

Fortifying young children

Extraordinary times in Zimbabwe called for extraordinary responses.

It was 2002 and schools reported an acute problem of malnourished and hungry children.

Knowing how this could impact cognitive development and so disadvantage these children for life, the Malilangwe Trust sought to play a constructive role in assisting local communities to deal with this challenge.

Each morning, at 413 feeding points on the outskirts of the reserve, nearly 19 000 pre-school children
– mostly aged between two to six years (as well as those at primary schools in the vicinity) –

queue up to receive a fortified, corn-soya-blend porridge.

The meal itself is prepared by teachers and volunteer mothers.

The programme was initially planned as a short-term intervention.

But in the face of real poverty, it was extended way beyond the intended six months and shifted its focus to younger children, as the porridge provides a guaranteed nourishing meal every day, assisting with their health and providing a basis for improved participation at school.