Company Description: MWANA Trust (MT) has been operational in Zimbabwe since 2006.Since its inception it has had modest achievements, albeit under daunting challenges. It is plausible to note that the Project has withered down challenges, more so provide its worthiness through its integrity, commitment of administrative staff and the spirited goodwill of the donor community to engage and support. MWANA Trust is an after school project with its primary objective being to provide basic education to the under privileged children and orphans in Mutare district of Zimbabwe.
MWANA Trust has made great strides in numerous facets of its endeavours, despite its infancy. It is heart-warming to observe individuals with different professional backgrounds selflessly uniting for a common cause without regards for economic gains under harsh economic environment. It is equally encouraging to note the continuous commitment by well wishers to unreservedly power thousands of dollars for the christening of MWANA Trust and the subsequent operational of its project. MWANA Trust commenced operations with only an administrative of three and apparently no substantive Board of Directors. In spite of this setback, the staff team diligently executed their tasks passionately without realistic remuneration. I am glad that the Board of Directors was formally instituted in 2009, the constitution ratified and the institution registered. To date the institution has secured renting office premises, well furnished with a complimentary staff of four administrative staff, which are doubling up with field work. The Trust has managed to make a laudable impact on the ground since inception. The Trust delivers a number of programmes including school feeding, direct support for orphaned and vulnerable children around, education and responding to materials needs such as school fees, food and provision of awareness and education on HIV/AIDS.
The MWANA Trust recently constructed a kitchen at Mt Dangare Primary School in Mutare District with the assistance of African Children’s Fund so that the feeding programme takes place in a healthy environment. In addition to sponsoring and supporting the welfare of the selected children from the four schools, a two classroom block is under construction at Sabvure Primary School and ten (10) computers were donated to Mt Dangare Primary School. Some elder G.R.J church members have also been assisted with food handouts. MWANA Trust is complimenting nutrition of children in schools through a food distribution program for primary schools supporting 150 pupils from 2007 to 2009. With the current dry spell in most parts of Manicaland there is need to continue with the feeding program, funds permitting.
MWANA Trust runs an extensive orphan and vulnerable children support program by providing school fees and education materials, take home food rations and training in life skills and nutritional gardens. The Trust also works with orphaned and vulnerable children living in difficult circumstances within the Mutare district and is committed to funding sustainable ways of reducing the impact and mitigating the effects of HIV/AIDS on children and to create an environment where all children can grow and develop to their full potential. The Trust also runs home based care programs within the three schools it operates namely Munyarari primary school, Mt Dangare primary school and Gombakomba primary school.
To emphasize the importance of its partnership with the community the Trust coordinates and manages 15 HBC programmes. Though this programme specifically targets the OVCs, it also aims to keep parents and caregivers alive and healthy so that they can be there to support their children as they grow up. The program also enables the Trust to identify children before they are orphaned and build their resilience as well as strengthening support systems for OVCs at community level. As well as schooling, all children need the opportunity to play and have fun with peers. As HIV/AIDS affects more and more families, many children are losing their childhood as they are required to shoulder responsibilities and duties that under normal circumstances would be taken on by adults in their family. For this reason, we introduced the idea of kids clubs in schools to give all children an opportunity for structured recreation and to develop peer support systems that could help children share and reduce the pressure of household duties and chores.
The working environment has remained the biggest challenge to the smooth running of the project, as well as the administration of the institution in general. Firstly the hyper-inflationary economic environment that took siege of the country in 2007/2008 adversely affected operations on the ground. The political environment too, was equally not conducive during the same era, resulting in operations being compromised and the number of those vulnerable increasing. Through the grace of the Almighty 2009 offered a more favourable environment with the dollarization of the economy, the above average farming season of 2008/2009 and the political stability that is ensuring.
The electrification of Mt Dangare primary school by its community as a result of the availability of computers donated by MWANA Trust is testimony of the impact of the project and its ripple effects. All the children who have received educational support have continued to attend lessons with their end of term results encouraging. Even those who received counselling sessions have greatly enhanced their coping strategies and are more positive with life than before. It has become apparent that the 2009/2010 farming season will not yield meaningful harvest and the whole country is staring at devastating hunger. This will naturally prolong feeding periods as well as increasing the number of vulnerable beneficiaries to unprecedented levels, within MWANA Trust’s focal points.
The prevailing political climate in Zimbabwe has served to nurture scepticism within the donor fraternity, thereby minimizing if not curtaining any remaining funding opportunities: especially for institutions still in their infancy like MWANA Trust. This scenario puts MWANA Trust on a fix as it is still battling to improve its efficiency and effectiveness through acquiring modern computers, getting connected to the internet and acquiring preferably a 4×4 vehicle for transporting materials, transporting staff on work-shops, training sessions and on monitoring on-going projects.
Despite all the effort that the Trust has put into the project it still faces the following challenges: inadequate basic medical care for sick children (living positively), clothing and educational resources for the OVCs, office equipment for the Trust’s office and staff and administrative costs. The Trust’s long term objectives are: to support and care for +/- 5000 OVCs within the Manicaland province of Zimbabwe to mobilize, sensitize and educate the community about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and how it affect the child To engage in subsidiary projects that may raise revenue to sustain the main institution’s focus and project in line with dwindling donor base. Thank you very much for your support, yours sincerely, Mrs Shamiso Mangongo