Friday, May 08, 2009

Community empowerment for sustainability through Cluster Facilitator training

by Collins Mutsvairo
ASAP has been improving the household and food security for rural families in Zimbabwe through the Internal Savings and Lending (ISAL) methodology since 2001. In each of these villages the community selects a leader, or Cluster Facilitator (CF). CFs work closely with ASAP field staff and attends supplementary training sessions offered by ASAP. It is her responsibility and privilege, as the community’s chosen representative, to share information and skills with her community during regular savings club sessions. In this way, skills and knowledge cascade throughout remote communities, reaching most villagers in a very cost effective manner.
A total of 80 CFs received additional training in the ISAL methodology in Nyanga in April under ASAP’s Rural Micro Finance project – a 5 year project partnership with CARE International funded through the Swedish International Development Agency. The CFs are ASAP’s link persons who coordinate project activities at cluster level in the communities.
The training focused on empowering the CFs on the five ISAL modules that include Member selection, Group formation, Constitution, Fund Development and Record Keeping, The workshop was facilitated by ASAP field officers headed by Joseph Miti.
Lovemore Manjoro, one of ASAP's field staff members in Mutasa is facilitating the module on Record keeping in the above picture.The CFs also discussed other issues that effect lives in their villages each and every day, including Gender based Violence, Cholera, HIV Aids, Inheritance, Child Rights and Child Abuse. In this way they are able to facilitate such discussions in their communities after the workshops. Pictured above, some participants present a drama to raise awareness of child abuse issues. Pictured here, Mrs. B Chikumba of Old Murapa cluster in Mutasa is presenting her work-group's discussions on cholera.

Care International technical specialist Ernest Musinamwana graced the occasion at the same time taking notes to enable CARE Zimbabwe to finalize the "Official" CF training manual. The fact that ASAP was chosen by CARE to enable them to finalize the Manual exemplifies the respect and fine reputation that ASAP Zimbabwe has earned by successfully improving the income and security of over 25,000 clients in Eastern Zimbabwe through various ISAL projects.

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