via Community nips starvation in the bud | The Zimbabwean by Sofia Mapuranga 16.10.13
From small underground ovens to a fully-fledged bakery, residents in Buhera are cooking up their own solutions to poverty and starvation.
Hit by regular droughts, most communities in Buhera district, under Chief Nyashanu, had to depend on food relief from government and donors. In 2011, in a move aimed at alleviating poverty and stopping the dependency syndrome in their community, a group of 25 people formed Wasara Wasara Co-operative Society.
The co operative, which drew its inspiration from training workshops held in the area, was spearheaded by Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who saw the positive results of a ‘baking for a living’ enterprise in Buhera. Residents had proven that working together in a co-operative was more effective than working as individuals.
The 25-member Wasara Wasara co-op set up small bakeries with underground ovens, supplying schools, clinics and households with baked goods in a community where shops are few and far between.
The co-op’s chair, Tsitsi Charambira, said: “Project members benefit from the income made from selling the products, and starving families are able to eat bread, buns and scones despite the failure of crops in the past season.
“We decided to bake for a living after realising that we are responsible for solutions to our own problems.”
As business picked up, the co-operative decided to build a proper bakery. Each member of the group contributed $50 to buy the land, and donated 1,000 bricks to the project. A power generator was donated by a well-wisher, but was too small for the equipment.
The Self Help Development Foundation (SHDF) came to their rescue with training for members and new machinery. With the support of the British Embassy, SHDF donate equipment worth $10,000 to boost the co-operative’s bread production.