Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter
ABOUT 200 women in Nkayi, Matabeleland North Province were yesterday trained on how to rear broiler chickens, as part of the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe’s nationwide poultry training programme that is meant to empower zanu-pf Women’s League members. Dr Mugabe embarked on the programme this year, with each province benefiting from a donation of 3 000 broiler chicks to kick-start small-scale poultry businesses.
The programme is being run under the theme “Empowering women for increased participation in the economy”. Nkayi North Member of Parliament Cde Sithembiso Nyoni said the programme was an opportunity for women to make money and take care of their families.
“This is part of the First Lady’s efforts to empower women,” she said. “Irvine’s is training them on how to rear the chickens, while my ministry (of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development) is training them on how to run their businesses and make profits.
“We have trained women in Nkayi South and tomorrow (today) we proceed to Nkayi North.” Matabeleland North Women’s League provincial chairperson Cde Medeline Bhebhe said through the chicken project, Dr Mugabe was responding to lack of opportunities among women, which had seen them being highly dependent on men.
She said the training programme was meant to empower women with skills to rear chickens before Dr Mugabe donated the second batch of chickens. “The training is being facilitated by officials from Irvine’s,” she said. “Unfortunately, officials from Irvine’s didn’t make it today, but we have women, who have been trained already, who spent the whole day training others.
“Most of the chicks that were given to the women earlier died before reaching maturity. The First Lady has, therefore, decided to provide an opportunity to educate them on how to nurture them. Our province got 1 000 chicks from the first donation and most of them died. We’re expecting 3 000 soon from the First Lady and I’m certain that after these trainings, the poultry projects will bear fruits.”
Cde Bhebhe said Dr Mugabe launched the programme after realising that women were lagging behind when it came to education and empowerment programmes. “The First Lady believes this is a serious disadvantage for women as most of them are dependent on their male counterparts for sustainability,” said Cde Bhebhe.
She said it was the First Lady’s hope that women would form groups in the chicken rearing programme. She added that the empowerment of women can help tackle some social ills such as child marriages and prostitution. Another group of women will be trained in Gwelutshena in Nkayi today.