Zimbabweans too can be aid donors
The Standard, Sunday, 28 August 2011 10:12
At the mention of the word donor we immediately think of foreign support for our local needs. No wonder there is sometimes ill-feeling towards this support from those who think we can do our own thing. While we very much appreciate and need this cushioning from our external friends, there is something which we have not promoted that was done by our ancestors.
Recently, however, to my total surprise, I came across someone who is doing it. I was also informed that there were many others who were providing similar support which is equivalent to donor funding. My father, the late Francis Kadenge, used to tell me stories about very rich individuals who did a lot for other people in the area I was born. He used to mention two big names in particular: a Mazhindu and a Dodo.
Although these men had several cattle and big cattle pens, this was apparently not enough for them. According to my father, they had far more animals in several villages near and far. They would identify poor people in the communities they could reach out to. They would give these families a heifer each to keep. After a few years they would follow-up on the cattle and leave these couples with a cow or two, depending on the length of time they would have kept the cattle.
Not only did the two men empower locals that way, they also went further. Those who did not have draught-power would be provided with oxen from their own pens which they would let them use for a couple of days. These men would then ask for just a bucket or two of maize after the harvests. In a sense Mazhindu and Dodo were donors par excellence.
I was told they did not wait for people to come to them to ask for help. They actually identified the needy and proffered help. No wonder people loved them and these names have not been forgotten in our community.
Recently, I met one local donor like the two described above and was impressed. He has many cattle but there is no single cow of his in his pen. The cattle at his home are not his. They belong to his worker, who he now treats as his partner. They started working together 11 years ago. The worker now has eight cattle of his own. He was given one heifer 10 years ago and from his lot he gave two cattle to his in-laws, he told me.
The cattle belonging to the owner of the plot are dotted all over in Mhondoro, Chivhu and Macheke areas. It seems he is using the same philosophy of Dodo and Mazhindu. His policy, he told me, was that he would give each family four cattle. The first heifer born there would be for the family looking after his animals.
My advice to those of us who have the means: let us share with those who are in need. Never mind that you are alone doing it in your area. As many of us begin to go out and help, our combined efforts will not be in vain.
What I have discovered is that donors actually benefit more than those they are donating to. They have all the blessings and the good will of the community.
Rev Dr Levee Kadenge