Dressed in white and yellow Apostolic Church garments, the two women look like they have just come from church. However, they are members of the Banga Irrigation PPE group modelling some of their products which they manufactured after receiving training and funding under SIRP’S Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF). The fund was extended to farmers to help build their resilience after they were affected by the Covid 19 pandemic.
According to Mrs Faith Mupereki, Chairperson of the group, they were trained in September 2021. The group comprises 26 women and one man.
“After training, we were given materials by SIRP. These include ingredients for manufacturing sanitisers, toilet cleaners, foam bath, sewing machines and materials for sewing masks”, she said.
Mrs Mupereki said they sold most of their products to the local market. She said, “The Chivi community now understands the importance of having these products and is very supportive. These products have become more accessible and affordable to the local community.”
The project has also empowered the local women as they are able to raise money for small expenses around the home such as money to pay at the local grinding mill, soap and sugar.
Her counterpart, Mrs Chiedza Eunice Chikanyata added that the group has now gone beyond masks and sanitisers to sew other items that are on demand in the local community. “At first we were given navy blue material which was not very popular among the locals. We then embarked on a research among the local churches and schools to ascertain the most popular colours. We discovered that at Chihaya they wanted masks in maroon while at Shindi they wanted blue. Our sales later went up, especially when schools opened. All the women in the group marketed and sold products to the local community”, she added. The women said business was good as they supply some with sanitiser in bulk. She said “At Shindi High School, we sell our hand sanitisers and handwashing liquid in 20 litre containers. We sell each bucket for US$30. We also supply boarding schools such as Lundi Mission
The women were optimistic that their business will continue to boom, Mrs Mupereki says “By the end of the year we want to pool money together to buy groceries, buy kitchen utensils and also set aside money for school fees for one child for each PPE group member. We also want to further diversify and grow our income by investing in a poultry project. We want to buy chicks for broilers which we will rear and sell”