Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs minister Abednico Ncube said this last Thursday in a speech read on his behalf by provincial development coordinator Latisio Dlamini at the commissioning of Ngamela footbridge in Khahlu ward 3, Mangwe district in Matabeleland South province.
“Community participation is embraced in national development as enshrined in our constitution.
“What is happening here are giant steps towards devolution,” Dlamini said.
Devolution is meant to transfer fiscal, political, administrative and market powers and responsibilities from the central government to the communities.
The construction of the footbridge was facilitated by the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) through its disaster management project funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office.
Dlamini said the project would go a long way in helping communities in Khahlu, especially schoolchildren.
“The main agenda of this project is to contribute to disaster risk reduction and disasters response capacity in Zimbabwe,” she said.
“In this case, children have had problems crossing the flooded Ngamela Bridge.
“We thank you the community for a job well done. This is your bridge.”
Speaking on behalf of ZRCS national president Edson Mlambo, the organisation’s vice-president Reuben Mkandla said ZRCS was happy to work with all its stakeholders for a good cause, fostering meaningful development.
“This project is another testimony of our quest to capacitate communities to develop community-based solutions to their everyday challenges and we are encouraged by the support from the community, our funding partners as well as stakeholders from various government departments and ministries,” Mkandla said.
“The project components that saw us reaching out to local schools as well as the general community at large were a result of meaningful engagement with our beneficiaries and the local community leadership.”
Community leaders in the area said Mapholisa and Osabeni villagers had for long endured years of suffering, risking drowning as they cross Ngamela River.
Ten schools in Mangwe were identified for the two-year project where ZRCS for two years was facilitating programmes designed to open up spaces for social participation among community members.