MACHITENDA WOMEN ECONOMIC RYDERS
Many developmental projects set up to empower women in the Machitenda village in Masvingo Province of Zimbabwe have failed to be sustainable because of poor electricity and transport infrastructure. Machitenda is endowed with relatively good agricultural harvests which are complemented by a high yield of indigenous fruits that are marketed to raise money for the families and fees for children to attend school, colleges and Universities. Despite this, women find it increasingly difficult to market their produce and the much demanded indigenous fruits in the area. Machitenda is 20 miles away from the marketing city of Masvingo.
These factors impact on the ability of the villagers especially women to market their products effectively and safely. In order to facilitate marketing and sale of their goods women risk:
- Physical health problems because they have to walk over three miles carrying their produce to get to the main road for transport
- Unplanned long stay in town to sell their goods because the women have to sleep in town for days and sleep rough (mainly on the streets) risking their lives, theft and potential rape.
- Paying exorbitant prices for transport that they have no control over. In some cases, the prices so exorbitant that no profits are gained from all their efforts, but they continue nevertheless.
— Project Summary
The project is to build a solar power station that can power a minimum of five solar electric trikes, to promote women-based transport solution. Train ten women to drive the trikes who manage the solar power station. The allocation and management of both the power station and trikes will be agreed at meetings with the community.
This project will not only have significant economic impact on rural women who will help them have control of how they market their products. But will have an impact on health and skills development for women and other community members.
— Skill Gain
Community members especially women will work with the organisation setting up the solar power station to enable women to gain skills relating to solar powered electric systems. This will give the women some independence in dealing safely with minor repairs and maintenance of the solar power station. Further skills to be gained in addition to driving skills, community women will gain basic mechanic skills to enable them to undertake minor repairs and maintenance of the electric cargo trikes
Our mission is to support women to achieve their full potential and facilitate their active involvement in business, employment, learning and livelihood in the Masvingo District.
Our vision is to facilitate the necessary training to empower women and the community, to achieve sustainability and opening opportunities for others from the benefits of the project.
- To improve the socio economy of women as electric trikes beneficiaries through providing means of transport for transporting produce to the market for sale and food and other resources to their homes
- To increase women’s capacity to become community leaders by giving them basic understanding of public policy through entrepreneurial training and transportation supported by electric trikes in rural areas.
- To create positive change derived from electric trikes for women entrepreneurship support and empower them to take steps that lead to action
- To create a model for truly women led, female oriented presence in the traditionally male dominated space
- To enhance mobility for all the family, allow a better access to the marketplace and more productive usage of time for value -added activities
— Benefit to community members
It means they will have more free time to be creative about their livelihood without compromising their health and safety due to lack of effective transport infrastructure. Furthermore, more creative use of both the solar power station and electric trikes that include providing transport to clinics, collecting prescriptions and delivery of shopping for people in the village can earn women additional income. The solar station can also be used to charge up electric items for other community members and help to create employment in the area.