Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa known for its dramatic landscape and diverse wildlife, much of it within parks, reserves and safari areas. On the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls make a thundering 108m drop into narrow Batoka Gorge, where there’s white-water rafting and bungee-jumping. Downstream are Matusadona and Mana Pools national parks, home to hippos, rhinos and birdlife.

Capital: Harare

President: Emmerson Mnangagwa

Population: 16.53 million (2017) World Bank

Currencies: United States Dollar, South African rand, Euro, MORE

Official languages: English, Shona, Ndebele, Tswana, Southern Sotho, Xhosa, Venda, Chewa, Tsonga, Tonga

Supporting nature is key to improving the "GDP of the Poor"I grew up in a small mining town in Zimbabwe called Kadoma, and as soon as school was out, my parents would bundle me off to Mhondoro, a rural area to the south. There, I would become a cattle herder. This is not an unfamiliar story to children across the continent. I loved it in Mhondoro! In that village I learnt to swim and to catch fish in the river. I even learnt to talk to a girl in that village. Life was good. The forests were lush, teeming with wildlife; rivers were bountiful, teeming with fish, fowl and freshwater. City folk went home with their “hands full.” Today, my village in Mhondoro is heart-breaking. The lush forests and wildlife are gone, replaced with dry croplands. The river is dry. When visiting, I now have to bring my own food and bottled water. Tragically, the story of my village is not unique. It is shared by thousands of villages across Africa that are suffering the worst impacts of climate change and development choices.   The world-over, we are losing forests at the rate of 27 football fields per minute. Picture of slash-and-burn farming in Malawi. Photo Credit: GIZ/Lisa FeldmannIn their efforts to feed themselves, farmers, like those of Mhondoro, expand their croplands into wild and forest lands, bringing their families into dangerous conflict with wildlife, whilst at the same time destroying the source of their bounty. Elsewhere, industrial-scale farming, forestry and mining clear land of nature, marginalising communities and wreaking havoc with natural systems. The result is entrenched poverty and unsustainable development. It is a global crisis. The world-over, we are losing forests at the rate of 27 football fields per minute. These same forests underpin the resilience of agricultural systems. It is a downward spiral. But this outcome is not inevitable. Although we live in a climate-constrained world, we have an important opportunity to improve the prospects for smallholder farmers, especially those living on the margins of wild spaces. It begins with an exercise in accounting. The standard methods of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) accounting fail to acknowledge biodiversity and ecosystem services as essential for livelihoods and leave them out of GDP calculations. Yet, ecosystem services such as grazing land, fresh water and forest products account for 47 per cent of household income in India, nearly 75 per cent in Indonesia and 89 per cent in Brazil’s Northern Amazon. Ecosystem services such as grazing land, fresh water and forest products account for 89 per cent in Brazil’s Northern Amazon. Photo Credit: GIZThis means that the poorer sectors of society are disproportionately dependent on their natural ecosystems, and disproportionately harmed by their loss. This value must be accounted for in the spreadsheets of business, budgets and national GDP. Therefore, economists are advocating a new accounting metric, entitled the ‘GDP of the poor.’ It includes all the natural resources on which people depend for their livelihoods. To do so, countries can draw on work undertaken by institutions such as UN Environment through ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity.’ It provides a framework for accounting for nature in agriculture and food systems. The framework captures all traditionally hidden impacts and contributes to breaking our narrow focus on measurements such as GDP and ‘per hectare productivity.’ African countries can also look to examples emerging in other parts of the world.Costa Rica, for instance, ignored the value of nature for much of the 20th Century, resulting in the loss of almost 80 per cent of its rainforest cover by the 1980s. Subsequently, Costa Rica changed course, establishing strong environmental governance and incentives for conservation. The result is that, despite a doubling of population, income per capita has tripled and forest cover is now over 50 per cent. For better or worse – Africa is increasingly viewed as the world’s next bread basket. To achieve sustainable development, villages like Mhondoro will need help ensuring the benefits that flow from nature are not put at risk as agriculture and commodities trade expands. As I think of my village in Zimbabwe, I know that large scale expansion of croplands into pristine forests and wildlife territory is a race to the bottom. Our existence depends on nature’s capacity to sustain agriculture and livelihoods, and we must now face the facts: we cannot solve the crisis of rural poverty and hunger without also solving the crisis of nature. Ensuring that economic accounting measures the livelihood basis of poor farmers, including environmental liabilities and degradation, offers new hope.

In Zimbabwe we have contact with and support Mangwende Orphan Care Trust

A local and social project. https://mangwendeorphancaretrust.org/

Goals; Realising a Food Forest, services and help to the local people

Location and backgroundinformation Situation end of oktober 2018;

  • At the moment here in our project things are going from bad to worse, I think we are going to face our worst farming season. We still haven't received the first rains to mark the beginning of the rain season. That’s why we have to become more efficient and self sufficient as soon as possible
  • That’s why we are working so hard to develop our sustainable food production system and the food Forrest
  • We have less than 4 months of rainfall every year. An average of 866mm per year. The soils are sandy and bare
  • We have access to a river as a water source
  • The land is situated where 3 rivers meet. It is offgrid and we are still fencing it

The local garden from above;

GFAM-20180417-3654 (1).pdf

More background information and an overview about possibilities and another inspiring way of working supporting local people. We support these initiatives in any aspect.

Mangwende Centre

Perimeter: 863.184 m Area: 4.496 ha



Evans Mangwende is the founder of the Mangwende Orphan Care Trust. He was born in 1972, is a Zimbabwean citizen, and from a young age became passionate about the welfare of the less fortunate. His father was a traditional leader from 1968 to 2013 when he passed away.

Evans is a student of Permaculture Design (PDC, working on diploma).

Other programmes under the trust's umbrella are;

1. Old peoples home

2. Teen mothers and girl child vocational training centre

3. Palliative care homes/Chronic illnesses

4. Albino Wellness Centre

Mangwende Orphan Care Trust is ‘A movement for uplifting communities; it is an overall vision that collectively brings together community empowerment concepts from a broad base of players, partners and solutions into a movement platform that can be replicated across most of Africa.


Is to facilitate the socio-economic transformation of Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole, by educating, assisting and advocating for widows orphans,the elderly, vulnerable and the underprivileged.


We hope to restore the family unity, through a paradigm shift from the begging bowl mentality to one of civic engagement, by raising a generation of socially responsible leaders grounded in stewardship service and entrepreneurial self-sufficiency.


In Zimbabwe today there are more than 1.8 million orphans and vulnerable children and many communities are vulnerable to drought and, hence, experience hunger and malnutrition from time to time.( This scenario raises many questions about what went wrong with the agricultural revolution technologies such as the use of fertiliser, improved seed, irrigation schemes from the government and donor investments in agricultural research.)



In Africa there is a concept known as ‘UBUNTU' – the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this life it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievements of others.” :~NELSON MANDELA~

Zunde is a social security system providing protection against food shortages to vulnerable families and is coordinated by the chiefs. Although the concept is as old as the Zimbabwean culture, it had been abandoned as communities became urbanised.

Mambos are communal leaders or Chiefs and Zunde is the chiefs granary or chiefs land. Traditional custom requires the chief in any given locality to designate land for growing food crops/staple cereals as protection against food insecurity in the community. Members of the community take turns to participate in the entire production process from ploughing and sowing to weeding and harvesting voluntarily. The harvest is stored in granaries at the chief's or village headman’s homestead as food reserves, which will be distributed to chief's subjects in the event of food shortages or during normal times. Priority is given to older persons, orphans, widows, vulnerable and persons with disabilities.

This voluntary participation helps to sharpen the community's sense of belonging and identity. Mangwende orphan care trust is the organisation working with communities promoting Zunde raMambo using Permaculture design principles.

For the volunteers, fulfilment comes from meeting the food requirements of orphans, widows and older persons in the community. They know that one day they will also be old and will thus rely on the community for support. They are also mindful of the fact that they may die leaving their children without care and support, and in this context participating in Zunde raMambo is akin to purchasing a pension annuity. The Zunde Practice is consistent with many communities in Zimbabwe. It has withstood the test of time and is not outdated regardless of the socio-economic and cultural changes that Zimbabwe has undergone. It has been handed down from one generation to another through oral communication.


Zunde was abandoned because of:

  • Poor storage facilities and management significantly reduced the yield from the harvest.
  • Heavy losses incurred due to insects and rodents
  • Lack of inputs( fertilisers seeds and land)and community mobilisation
  • Corrupt elders using the harvested grain for their personal benefit.
  • Poor methods of farming
  • Poor harvests leading people to loose faith in participating in the communally owned plots

The Zunde Practice is being revived at 3 levels.

1)ECO-VILLAGE/PERMACULTURE ACADEMY – monitored by the chief

2) ZUNDE AT VILLAGE LEVEL- monitored by village heads


1.ECO-VILLAGE/PERMACULTURE ACADEMY - (connecting the community)


Mangwende Orphan Care Trust is a permaculture farm featuring an education and demonstration centre.

With this planet's abundance of natural resources, boundless fertility, and innumerable life forms, human beings should be living pretty well. Unfortunately our race has forgotten how to coexist with our ecosystem.

The village serves to be the main point of contact, information, and everyday activities. This is going to be the project headquarters and administration hub. A permanent team will be on site whilst events, training, trials, projects and support activities will take place regularly for community groups, volunteers, supporters and sponsors. It serves to boost and benefit individuals, the community and local economy whilst at the same time creating community independence, global participation and sustainability. The Centre will be supported by solar power and a revolutionary information and communication technology centre.


We will start as a permaculture farmer field school which will be slowly developed into an academy.

Permaculture principles (5) teaches us to turn problems into solutions “You don't have a snail problem, you have a duck deficiency “. We will turn Zunde problems into solutions.

Permaculture gives us A way of redesigning our cities,

communities, farms and habitats in a way that enhances nature, our local economies, and a healthy lifestyle. If applied correctly, Permaculture design can be used to solve many, if not all, of our planets and species current problems. It will enable us to help many desperate communities rebuild themselves, costing very little money. Strategy is more important than money. Rebuilding a community and eradicating poverty can only be done sustainably when the people involved form a partnership with nature and restore their ecosystem.


A good sustainability specialist will help a community grow its way out of poverty. During training of the TOTs (trainer of trainers) the students will build working models of food production systems, water management systems, soil management systems, regenerative, organic, natural farming demonstration plots and other appropriate technologies in the community centre, and these models are proof that the training works and can also be copied and replicated in other areas. Students will help in developing a working model farm that will show case new ideas and techniques to help change lives of the underprivileged communities. The following is planned to take place at the community centre;

*sustainable and environmentally friendly models in organic farming and other regenerative forms of farming.

*skills development

*IT and communication hub

*produce collection and distribution (construction of silos)

*horticulture and hydroponics

*food forest and tree plantations

*Aquaculture and animal husbandry


This is where love in action is demonstrated to the needy in the community. The village approved by the department of social welfare, will present a culturally mandated social welfare framework to meet immediate physical needs but then also provide psychological, spiritual and emotional healing. The model can help break the cycle of poverty by teaching, empowering and inspiring individuals to overcome their circumstances, be integrated into the society and become change makers themselves. The children’s village will include:

*widow and orphan rescue home



*feeding programme

*Christian education and counselling


Trained trainers will go back to their villages and train others on Zunde plots set aside in the village by the village headman and the Chief. The Zunde initiative will provide a platform for interaction among farmers, local leaders, and service providers. The Zunde plots will be used as permaculture farmer field schools within the community and to reduce the distance local farmers have to travel to acquire knowledge, thereby contributing to project sustainability. We are hoping that by the end of each season , the Zunde field will be declared a big learning centre exposing participants to improved permaculture technologies and promoting information and knowledge sharing. Planning and implementation is undertaken using local structures, processes and procedures under the chiefs guidance, thereby ensuring high community participation and organisation, thus feeding into programme efficiency. The social security concept leads people to believe in what village elders, headmen and Chiefs regard as a tradition and hence people buy into the programme creating a sense of ownership by the community. Produce from the Zunde fields is used to supplement the feeding of infants, the disabled and old members of the villages and also used to support the bereaved(at both the village level and the ecovillge).The programme is also used as a form of insurance or food bank as occasionally villagers who ran out of food borrow grain from the Zunde granary, to be replaced after the next harvest. Thus communities can work as partners with joint ownership.


All households will be trained at Permaculture farmer field schools(Zunde Plot) in their villages or at the Zunde ecovillage. They will receive intense theoretical and practical training in sustainable farming methods in exchange for their labour(Some can even donate open pollinated seeds). Farmers are fully equipped to return to their homeland and train their community in permaculture design system.

What Needs To Be Put Into Place:


Community seed banks are collections of seeds that are maintained and administered by the communities themselves(open pollinated non-hybrid seeds ). Seeds can be stored either in large quantity to ensure that planting material is available, or in small samples to ensure that genetic material is available should varieties become endangered. With climate change on the increase, many crops are in danger of being extinct and this will undoubtedly cause a global food crisis. Seed banks provide conditions necessary for the longevity, of seeds. Seeds are stored under low temperatures that keep seeds dormant till they are needed for replanting.


  1. Preservation of Crop Diversity
  2. Protection from Climate Change.

Crop extinction is inevitable with such extreme radical and climate changes. If seeds are stored in seed banks, the danger of total elimination of certain species of crops is eliminated.

3.Protection From Natural Disasters

4.Disease Resistance

Crop diseases are highly contagious and very deadly to plants. A serious breakout could completely eliminate crops. Where diseases have ravaged crops and left no traces that farmers could start on, seed banks can intervene and provide them with seeds that will enable them on a clean slate.

5.Preserve from Man-made Disasters

Man-made disasters such as war and oil spills could lead to the annihilation of crops.

Community seed banks are one of the important methods used to provide seed security and conserve agro biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge, providing options for adapting to climate change, as well as can contribute to the realisation of farmers rights. Seed banks enable rural tribal villages to become less dependent on engineered high-yield varieties and on expensive inputs such as fertilisers.

Exchanging seeds and other planting material formally and informally, is how societies have adding new food, fibres and medicines to their cultures over centuries.

Locally managed community seed banks are close to and will be run by farmers. The common principle of these local seed banks is that they are more concerned with the circulation of the seeds and their free availability, than their conservation per se. They are more a clearing house than a static gene bank.

These farmer-based systems of producing and swapping seeds are valuable because they are in a state of dynamic change leading to plant improvements, accepting influxes of genes and adapting to climate change. Where farmers are also breeders, varieties are adapted to a specific natural environment with less external inputs.


In response to the demand of rural Zimbabwean communities for fruit trees and their need to transition from subsistence to modern agriculture, the project will plant 250 000 organic fruit trees and 50 000 medicinal plants in 5 nurseries in the 5 traditional wards in Mrewa District. Villagers request these trees because they do not require pesticides, have a high market value and local people who do not possess vital skills for maintaining the trees and marketing their fruit will be trained by TOTs in their respective villages.


Ninety percent of rural households in Zimbabwe earn less than the national average. Population growth and the low market value of traditional staple crops (maize, sorghum and millet), from which most households derive their income, have made subsistence agriculture unsustainable, compelling farmers to transition to plant cash-crops, most commonly tobacco and fruit trees to generate significantly greater income. However, the high demand for young trees has made them too expensive for many families.


This project will build community-managed organic fruit tree and medicinal plant nurseries, giving the community access to a sustainable source of income. Mangwende orphan care trust will train Permaculturalists, especially women and youth members, on organic farming certification, methods of growing, grafting, budding trees and plants and monitoring and registering carbon offsets. We are aiming to plant 1 million trees during the first phase with farming families, sequestering carbon, preventing very serious erosion and generating income.


The project integrates solutions to socio-economic and environmental challenges, and will:

1.After 6 years increase the income of involved households from fruit sales, benefiting all those involved;

2.diversify the livelihoods and empower women and youth;

3.prevent soil erosion and sequester carbon;

4.develop technical skills in women and youth in maintaining and replenishing the organic nurseries and;

2.diversify household diets with fruit consumption.


Value addition is the key to raise farm incomes. Value addition to agricultural products is the process of increasing the economic value and consumer appeal of an agricultural commodity. Value adding technologies such as processing and preservation techniques, dehydration and drying technology, freezing technology, packing and labelling can be used to add value. Value addition creates jobs, which is critically needed at this time when employment has been shrinking due to the economic crisis.

In Zimbabwe and many developing countries here in Africa, we produce a wide variety of agricultural products, but have not yet optimised the economic benefits we can derive from them. This is due in part to inadequate knowledge of appropriate value adding technologies coupled with poor infrastructure facilities and the absence of coherent policies to support such an undertaking, especially in rural areas.

People need training to broaden their understanding of the importance of value adding activities as well as enhancing their knowledge and skills in using various value adding approaches and technologies ( construction of pack houses, silos, movable milling containers and a cold storage facilities).

GRAIN SILOS: are important for communities that want to become self-reliant and sell their crops at the highest price. When communities have limited storage facilities they tend to sell their food to buy food eliminating the risk of spoilage in storage. Unfortunately this leaves the community little choice in choosing the best time to sell and more often than not they sell for the lowest price or are forced to pre-sell their crops in the dry season when their money is scarce. A grain silo can store produce like:

Maize, rice, pigeon pea, beans, sorghum, sesame seeds, millet, dry cassava, pumpkins, yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, sunflower seeds, ground nuts, cow peas, rice, melons

Some of these crops can be stored long-term and others short term depending on the on the spoilage rate. The silo provides a temperature-stable, vermin-free storage facility for the community's farmers. Here they have safe storage until they can arrange a buyer for their produce.

The silo can also support other village-based industry such as:

  • A grain mill and bagging plant
  • Animal feed production
  • Cassava chips or flour
  • Bakery
  • Cooking oil press


  • Will raise the value of commodities and can do much to reduce poverty. Value added products need a distinct identity-they need a brand. Branding is one of the most important factors influencing an items success or failure. A brand is a combination of name, words, symbols or design that identifies the product and its company and differentiates it from competition. It offers instant product recognition and identification. Branding is beneficial for
  • Differentiation
  • Conveys value- consumers perceive brand name products as high quality, more reliable and a better value than non-branded products.



Start small and grow in phases is the best way for a ZUNDE raMambo permaculture project. Trickle funding is better than a lump sum. Large amounts of money spent in the wrong way can destroy a community rapidly.

  1. Improve Financial Inclusion.

Lack of financial inclusion is a massive problem in many low-income countries around the world. According to World Bank, there are more than 2 billion unbanked people worldwide. This lack of access to banking instruments precludes them from being able to participate in global commerce.

With cryptocurrency services millions of unbanked people can finally get access to banking services and financial instruments through cryptocurrency. We need platforms that offer cryptocurrency banking services through mobile phone apps. Telecommunications has been able to achieve a much greater market penetration than banking services. These crypto banking platforms will use the reach of telecoms to take financial emancipation to the doorsteps of the unbanked and underbanked. The end result is greater financial inclusion.

There is also the added incentive of empowering small and medium-scale businesses. Local merchants can begin to think global in terms of imports and exports. Banks in developing countries like Zimbabwe are notorious for their unwillingness to give loans to small-scale businesses even when suitable collaterals are provided. We need cryptocurrency, platforms that can offer crypto-backed loans to small-scale and medium-scale merchants. This will go a long way in getting them started in the import and export business which is a fundamental part of national commerce.

Another aspect of financial inclusion that many places in Africa and the rest of the developing world lack is access to international payment systems. Global commerce is largely denominated in the US Dollar and it requires specialized systems for payments and receipts. This is often a challenge for many merchants in developing countries as they have no access to foreign exchange as well as the means to pay and receive money in foreign currency. We need service providers that provide a digital wallet which allows users to receive Visa card payments.


In developing nations, misappropriation of state funds by corrupt government officials is a big problem. No adherence to project contracting best practices results in capital projects being handled by cabals who divert state funds for their own personal interests. The use of cryptocurrencies, especially those built upon smart contract protocol will allow for a more transparent contract system.


The Zunde raMambo concept takes a holistic regenerative approach. The “pillars" upon which it based are the provision of energy-positive homes, doorstep high-yield organic food production, mixed renewable energy and storage, water and waste recycling, and empowerment of local communities. Zunde itself stands for "regenerative," which reference the intention to use the outputs of one system as the inputs of another system.

The aim of sustainable development is to create communities that are economically and environmentally sustainable indefinitely. Families in these communities can become self-sufficient and produce more than they need using their own resources. This is an organic process that begins with basic sustainability education. As people master the strategies and techniques of sustainability, their communities begin to prosper. Step by step, a new culture of conservation and self-reliance develops and the positive changes flow on to future generations. This culture becomes permanent because they are fully sustainable, a true permaculture.

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