Mukando, a Shona word which literally means to pool/throw in, is an Internal Savings and Lending (ISAL) initiative when individuals, typically women, come together as a group and pool an agreed amount of money regularly



Most of these are female led activities

The Primary School

 At the end of 2019 we floated the idea of enhancing the ECD (Early Child Development – Ages 4 – 5) provision by forming a primary school. However before we could get plans off the ground Covid struck. The Zimbabwe government shut all schools for the whole of 2020 and 2021, but we did start construction of school buildings in 2021, so that at the beginning of 2022 we could start enrolling students.


We initially planned to enrol 20 children into the school and have them registered with the Ministry of Education. However on the Saturday morning that we had set aside for student registration, over 70 children and their mothers arrived. We were faced with the problem of choosing some children and rejecting others.

Our solution to this problem was to enrol the 20 children into normal morning school covering 8 subjects, while having the remaining 50 children attend supplementary lessons in the afternoons in age appropriate Maths and English.  We published workbooks for each grade and each child so that we could do this.

 In May we increased the enrolment from the initial twenty children, to 55 children, in response to the dedication that the afternoon children had shown.

 The levels of illiteracy in the community are very high. We have a variety of ages of children with a literacy age off around six years old. This has a massive impact on all areas of the curricula, as reading across the curriculum is a vital part of learning. 

However we have developed a literacy improvement emergency curriculum, and this is now bearing fruit.

The School also gives a wonderful window into helping the health and wellbeing of the people in the community.  Some of the problems encountered are epilepsy, eyesight, and developmental issues, which have been easily helped by contacting the appropriate experts / charities.

We have also been able to make significant inroads into the registration of the community.  As the mothers start to have hope about the future of their children, the importance of obtaining birth certificates and other documentation has become clear.



About 15 years ago we started to get involved with a community at Lake Chivero, about 50 kilometres outside of Harare. The community was formed after a police enforced clear out from Harare CBD in an operation called Murambatsvina which means ‘clear out the rubbish’.

The community is very poor and characterised by general illiteracy that spans generations. The community’s members are very much on the fringes of society. Few of them have ID documentation or birth certificates, and hence struggle to get jobs, register to vote or participate in normal society.

The community is marked by levels of prostitution, criminality and substance abuse.

Our approach in all our dealing with the community is based on the premise that if we want change we must first start with ourselves. We realise that every community is filled with leaders and the community not only understands their own problems but often has the answers to the problems. We believe that miracles happen when different people interact based on respect, curiosity and generosity.

During an early meeting with the community when we were discussing the primary school,  an old grandmother (Gogo) quietly instigated the formation of a parent development committee. We watched in admiration as the community then organised themselves, with encouragement from a young 20 year old woman.  An excellent example of both young and old women working in tandem to create an innovative, sustainable model of community engagement.

The community is defined by a generalised suspicion of government and officialdom, as these institutions have often been used against them, rather than to help them. The community are suspicious of external help or support, preferring their own independence to a dependence on others.

We are also strong believers in the idea that self reliance is a virtue. However self reliance and interdependence work together, to bring about synergistic outcomes.

We did not start out with a detailed plan of what we wanted, but with a principle of helping the community become less poor.  With this generalised direction, we then took one step and then another, proceeding one step at a time - making the path by walking it.

The community now has the following projects:

  • a credit union microlending for cash farming in pigs and chickens
  • a practical skills programme in sewing
  • a primary school from ecd through to grade 7