Last year SEED ran skills development courses for groups of former farm labourers on the outskirts of Zimbabwe's capital, Harare. Those involved were trained in life skills that would enable them to start up small businesses. The income generated from such activity both meets needs in the local community and enables the trainees to support their families.

Gletwin Farm beneficiaries

Our community development workers are pleased to report that "today members of the group are proud to be selling washing-up liquid, floor polish and peanut butter in their area. Those who used to have nothing to do, especially the women, have finally found something to do for themselves and their families."

They are now able to send their children to school and to afford decent meals. Some women from the group have even managed to secure employment in their area with house owners who recognise that they can benefit from the women's newly-acquired skills.

Another positive impact that the project has had is on the HIV/AIDS problem. About one-in-seven adults in the country are affected by HIV/AIDS. In the past, unemployed women used to be "chased away" by their husbands for the whole farming season in order that the women would return to their villages for subsistence farming. However, this also meant that some of the husbands would engage in promiscuous relationships. Now that the women trainees no longer need to stay away from their husbands for lengthy periods of time, they say that SEED has given them "keys to their homes". As our local staff have observed, "So in a way we helped in reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS." A positive development, indeed!

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