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Promoting Sustainable Development Through Innovation

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My view of poverty....

Posted by Luther Gwaza on September 19, 2015 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (1)

 Someone shared this TED Talk by  Mia Birdsong: The story we tell about poverty isn't true.

"As a global community, we all want to end poverty. Mia Birdsong suggests a great place to start: Let's honor the skills, drive and initiative that poor people bring to the struggle every day. She asks us to look again at people in poverty: They may be broke — but they're not broken."

This is one of the inspiring, captivating talks I have listened to. It got me thinking...that I am one of them,

the ones who think poor people needs fixing,

that those who have made it, work harder than those who are still struggling in poverty,

that the ones who are successful are smarter and more talented than those who seem to fail to make it, nomatter how you define success,

that "we" who have made it are the norm and those that are struggling are the exception, because they are lazy, unintelligent,

I am one of them...the ones who forget about the priviledges and just grace we have received,...Apostle Paul understood this principle of grace...when he said "For I am the least worthy of the apostles, who am not fit or deserving to be called an apostle, because I once wronged and pursued and molested the church of God, oppressing it with cruelty and with violence. But by the Grace (the unmerited favor) of God I am what I am, and His Grace toward me was not found to be for nothing. In fact, I worked harder than all of them, though it was not really I, but the Grace of God which was with me."

Look around you...we are bombarded by one sided story line that those who have made it, work harder, are smarter....more determined, focused, innovative ...hence their success. The danger of this side of the story, Mia continues, make us conclude that those who seem to have failed to make it, are the opposite. This is the danger of a single story...it creates stereotypes and continues to marginalise people. This one sided story make it inconceivable to think that those still in poverty work equally harder if not more, are smarter and sometimes have the solutions to their own problems.

I can also relate to this on the other end -- the receiving end, that "we" from poorly-resourced..whatever that means, or developing countries need fixing....that we are what we are because we are ...lazy, not smart, helpless, and clueless...when people talk about how to fix poverty, the poor do not have a sit on the table, because they have nothing to offer. The myriad of problems are cited as the route cause and that we do not have the solutions....people forget that sometimes it is alll just grace and priviledge..but this is hard to believe...thus we look for the tangible things that can explain the differences.

"I am tired of the stories we tell that hard work leads to success"

"The quarter truths and limited plot lines have us convinced that poor people are a problem that needs fixing"



TedxHarare 2014

Posted by SarahJ on November 18, 2014 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (2)

TED Talks are famous the world over and even books have been written on how to deliver a powerful talk like those heard at the conferences.  The last Harare edition of the Tedx Conference had been in 2011.

Both Gamu and Luther have stressed to us the importance of being able to tell your story, so when I received my invitation to attend, I was keen to take notes on this art from the various speakers who would be there. 

On arrival you could tell that this was a different crowd that had been handpicked to attend. You could almost feel the excitement buzzing in the air. A pre conference activity was to walk through a series of booths. Each booth had a meaningful picture. One had to take a few moments to reflect on the picture and then write the first word that came to mind. There were plenty of opportunities between the talks to network and interact with people from various backgrounds. I met media personalities, tech geniuses, teachers, community activists and students. The one thing that I found in common with all the people that I met, is that they are passionate about the future of Zimbabwe.

The theme of the Conference was Praxis - translating ideas into action. So the conference day was divided into three key sections: creating context, process refine and ideas in action.  In the first part, creating context, the speakers spoke on identity and mindset with particular reference to the people in Zimbabwe. Process refine focused on the socio-political and economic climate. The last section, ideas in action, brought two speakers, the lead doctor at Harare Hospital whose team recently separated a pair of conjoined twins and a young 25 year old man who build a prototype for an airtime vending machine using leftover materials.

The conference was well organised and I commend the organisers for bringing together such a diverse group of people from all backgrounds, cultures and professions. The key message from all the established entrepreneurs that I got is that start with what you have, you don't need to wait for an angel investor or for the perfect conditions. The important thing is to start whatever dream you are pursuing because that is progress and Zimbabwe needs people who are tired of waiting and can make a difference where they are.

Social Innovators Initial Training Vumba October 2014

Posted by SarahJ on November 18, 2014 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

In September, it was with great excitement that I found out that I along with 6 other people, were going to be part of Paruware Trust's second class of Fellows. At the welcome lunch, we were then informed that the initial training would be a week in Vumba. Many of my fellows were quite pleased to be leaving Harare for a little while.

The journey to Vumba was quite smooth and easy, despite the numerous road works along the way. I also enjoyed driving the second car with all the ladies. It gave us an opportunity to bond and get to know each other a little better before the initial training. On arrival in Mutare, we were impressed the the famous Christmas pass with it's stunning views of the city. Onai, one of this year's fellows is a Mutare native, so she acted as our unofficial tour guide.

We did not stop much in the city, but proceeded to our accommodation in Vumba, Samango cottage, named after a species of monkey found in the area. The views were simply breathtaking and with limited network coverage, we were truly able to relax and focus on the training.

So began an intensive week of learning and interacting with one another. The sessions facilitated by Gamu were informative and ranged from the art of storytelling to learning how to market ourselves and our product/business. There were also sessions on identity and getting to know ourselves. Some of the highlights for me were our Entrepreneurial Challenge in Mutare. Although the task had its challenges, the people of Mutare were very friendly and helpful. It certainly was an eye opener and brought home to me the challenges faced by the average Zimbabwean trying to sell on the street. Another highlight was discussing the book, the Blue Sweater at the Vumba Botanical Gardens, although that session was cut short by an impromtu shower. I also appreciated getting personal feedback on myself and my project from the group.

It was a wonderful, refreshing and meaningful experience to have this training. It has laid the foundation for what will be a meaningful year being part of the Paruware Trust Fellowship


The DO School

Posted by Gamuchirai on October 8, 2014 at 11:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Education for impact

 

Programs currently open for application:

 

The One-Year Program with the Packaging Challenge

Location: Hamburg

Open for emerging social entrepreneurs from around the world, aged 21 - 31

 

Application Phase

24 September - 27 November 2014


Visit the website http://apply.thedoschool.org/ for application and more details

 

 

Two kinds of people

Posted by Gamuchirai on July 14, 2014 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Yesterday I took my daughter to a hairdresser. I had to book an appointment before I took her to the saloon. The hairdresser is very good and always on demand because of her excellent work. When she comes to work everyday, she has a line up of clients who need her services. This literally means she does not need to be there if there is no work.

When I got to the saloon, I saw another hairdresser in the saloon. I always see her there sitting in her chair, and very rarely with a client. Sometimes you see her standing on the sidewalk outside looking for clients. She has done my hair once and not a very good job. She usually waits for walk-in clients, clients with no particular hairdresser, clients who need someone who is there, available to give them a service and are not particularly looking for excellent results.

Both make a living doing people's hair, one excellent and another mediocre. Now obviously, if you want to be a successful hairdresser, you need to very good at what you do so that you create demand and rely on referrals, which I would say is relatively easier work. On the other hand if you are just mediocre, you can still be a hairdresser and work harder to get clients and make sure you are always there to provide a service to people anytime. Your choice.

Creating room for opportunities.....

Posted by Gamuchirai on July 8, 2014 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Recently a friend visited me. She was impressed by my new home, which was considerably bigger than the previous home I used to rent. I took her around the house and into a children’s play room which I also use for the children’s reading club I run every Saturday morning. She asked me one question that got me thinking, “Would you have thought about running the reading club if you still lived in that small place?” Maybe, I am not sure since I always loved books.

But one thing I realised is that just having the space to do it got my creative mind going. Sometimes we need to create room for opportunities to come. This may just mean travelling to a place you have never been to or talking to new people or in my case building a home. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone can open up new opportunities and ideas you never thought of. That is the idea behind the entrepreneurship camps where we take people out of the comforts of their home to some nice quiet place, often holiday homes, where they can begin to dream, think of possibilities and revive forgotten passions. Give yourself a challenge to do something different, visit a new place, read a good book or meet new people and create new opportunities for yourself.

 

Rules of the game

Posted by Gamuchirai on July 2, 2014 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Playing a game without understanding the rules of the game makes a game appear much tougher than it actually is. You begin to rely on guess work. Such is life, money, business, the economy. You need to know the rules /principles that govern them before you can play well.

A drop in the ocean

Posted by Gamuchirai on June 26, 2014 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

I just attended a conference with about 250 development practitioners coming from various sectors. They shared some good work of what they are doing to improve people's livelihoods. There were so many successes. However, I had one big question, if all these people were doing such great work, how come poverty is still persistent? What would it take to see real change, a thriving economy and a reduction in unemployment rates. Is the work all just a drop in the ocean? If so, how many drops would it take to make a difference? Just food for thought.

When to let go

Posted by Gamuchirai on June 25, 2014 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

When is it okay to let go of your dream and to stop pursuing your passion? Every book/person I have talked to encourages you to pursue your dream relentlessly, to never let go, never quit, keep fighting despite the odds, discouragements, failures and disappointments. Recently, I met a bright young person with brilliant ideas, big dreams and eager to pursue her vision just after graduating. She refused to take a job because she wants to create jobs for other people...brilliant right! Things have not gone too well for her and she is disillusioned and now wants a job.

This is what I told her. There is nothing wrong with working for someone, gaining some experience and learning from others, if you know what it is you are preparing for. Taking a detour on the road is not the same as quitting. You will still get there. It just takes a little longer. Sometimes you need to go under the tutorship of others, to be a worker so that you know how to be a good employer. To prove and test your ideas on safe ground, to allow yourself to lose some battles as long as you win the war. As long as the war is worth fighting. As to the subject above...I am all for it,never quit, keep going!

Why children should read

Posted by Gamuchirai on June 15, 2014 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Reading opens the door to success. This may sound like an overused cliché! Actually the proper saying is, education opens the door to success. A bit of an exaggeration, maybe, but I really believe reading, which makes all the education possible does lead to success. Fortunately scientists and researchers have enough facts to prove this to be true. Parents are by far the most important educators in a child’s life and it’s never too young for a child to start, even if you’re only reading with your child for a few minutes a day. Here are some ten good reasons why you may need to invest in ensuring your child know how to read.

1. Children who read often get much better at it and can read fast. As it happens a grade 2 child should be able to read 60 words per minute. That means they should be able to recognise their level words in a second.

2. Reading improves a child’s comprehension skills, which means that they get better at other subjects such as maths, history, geography and science etc. which require one to read and understand what has been written.

3. Reading improves a child’s vocabulary and leads to more highly-developed language skills. They have richer vocabulary.

4. Reading helps improves a child’s concentration skills…an important skill in learning.

5. Reading improves logical thinking skills, the ability to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic in various scenarios, recognize cause and effect, and utilize good judgment.

6. Reading exposes one to a bigger world, have better general knowledge, opens children to develop their imagination, learn new things and places far away from where they are.

7. Children who love to read for pleasure are more likely to fulfil their ambitions

8. Reading exercises the brain…much better than watching TV!

9. Knowledge is power, and books are full of it. It’s all hidden in letters and books and one has to read it.

10. Most importantly reading is fun! It helps one to relax.

 


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