Ukuthula Trust is a Bulawayo based non-profit organization committed to deepening democracy in Matabeleland and Zimbabwe by empowering people towards taking an active part in the development and governance of their communities. We envision a community that has greater influence in decision-making processes that affect their lives and demand transparency and accountability from their leadership.
To deepen democracy by empowering people to release their energy towards taking an active part in the development and governance of their communities, through rehabilitation of survivors of historical and current torture, and through prevention of conflict in Zimbabwe in the future by generating knowledge and promoting accountability.
Where we work
Ukuthula Trust has worked in Matabeleland for the past twenty years and has, over the years, attained vast experience in enhancing good governance and development in marginalised rural communities. We work directly with communities in the identification and adoption of peace building and conflict resolution skills with a particular r focus on rehabilitating victims of violence and empowering communities with skills to prevent further violence.
An important aspect of our work is the empowerment of women and youth so that they become not only active participants in decision making processes that affect them but also influential leaders in their communities
Enyandeni Peace Centre
Ukuthula Trust and Masakhaneni Projects Trust started working with the Enyandeni community in rural Gwanda after the 2008 elections which were quite violent, with political clashes between MDC and ZANU PF supporters. This violence resulted in many people sustaining serious injuries and the burning down of a farmhouse, which was used as a torture base by ZANU PF (Picture of quilt with burning house). Ukuthula and Masakhaneni worked with the community and facilitated the creation of a multi-party community-based committee that pioneered the rebuilding of the farmhouse which was then turned into a life skills training centre. Through the committee’s leadership, members of the Enyandeni community provided material and labour to rebuild the house turning what was once a torture base into a productive space.
Skills training at the Centre
Established in 2015, the Enyandeni skills centre offers skills and citizenship training targeting mainly the youth and women. The centre was established in response to the realization that women and youth in Matabeleland have limited opportunities to contribute meaningfully to decision making processes or income generation. The centre provides skills training in a number of fields that include computer literacy, building, welding, food preparation and sewing.
Our first training class began in 2015. Scores of young people have been trained and graduated since. Upon graduation, our trainees are awarded certificates that they can then use to seek employment locally or elsewhere.
The centre also boasts a women’s quilting club. The club was established in 2009. This group of women has acquired skills in knitting and quilting. Their main project each is the production of a themed quilt. The themes include the socioeconomic conditions in the community, violence that the community has faced in the past, among others. Pictures of quilts. The women have also learnt to use cheap and easy to access materials to make goods that they can then sell and make some money. In 2016 they used E-pap plastic packages to knit colourful bags and handbags that they then sold at a profit.
We have been working in a number of wards in Lupane for over a decade. Our focus has been empowering the community with conflict resolution interventions. This intervention has, more often than not, resulted in the revival of failed projects as members of the community are imparted with skills in collaborative work and conflict management. Our goal is to empower these communities so that they have a voice and are able to work together towards democratic, accountable and transparent governance. In the last three years, we have seen the construction of a secondary school and a clinic in Lutho village.
We work with communities mainly through meetings, workshops and focus group discussions with traditional leaders, members of the community, the church community, the district administration and other stakeholders. Our goal is the complete eradication of conflict as our experience over the years has been that conflict results in poverty and under-development.
Mazwi Women’s centre
This is a community centre that was spearheaded by women at Mazwi village in Lupane in 2009. This project should have been completed in 2009. However, because of conflict and lack of cohesion, the construction of the centre stalled. Through working with the community, we have succeeded in helping the women resume the construction. The whole community is now committed to working together with the women to see the centre completed and functioning. Families have come together and pledged to donate building material. The centre is now at roofing level and should be completed soon.
The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC)
Ukuthula Trust is committed to transitional justice. We have over the years been working with victims of violence across the country.
Ukuthula Trust is part of a group of NGOs working with the NPRC to realise transitional justice in Zimbabwe. Our experience and expertise working with victims of violence in the last twenty years is a resource that the NPRC values. We have worked with victims of Gukurahundi over the years and provided counselling and physical therapy to a significant number of victims.
Our team has vast experience in exhumations. We have assisted a number of families in the exhumation of their loved ones who were either not properly buried or buried in mass graves.
In 2016, we began the first of a series of critical thinking workshops. These workshops are part of a project by the Trust to enhance the capacity of civil society leaders for thought leadership and the ability to apply enriched theoretical frameworks for evidence-based programming. It is in our view a necessity for civil society groups to engage in a process of critical thinking in spaces that allow civic leaders to reflect on new ways to re-imagine the following:
- The theoretical tools they utilise in order to deepen their analysis of the challenges they face.
- The forms in which they operate.
- The ways in which they shape their strategic objectives.
- The new types of political subjectivities they are trying to nurture in the Zimbabwean polity