Exciting collaboration in Zimbabwe
A workshop worth waiting for
The workshop was a culmination of over a year-long collaboration between the above-mentioned parties, and the main goals of the workshop have been a continuation of the work on establishing Engineers Without Borders Zimbabwe and discussing collaboration opportunities between the parties, with a focus on WASH, recycling and efficient use of energy in agriculture. In addition, several rural schools were visited to gain a firsthand understanding of the local circumstances and challenges faced by the communities.
The workshop started in Bulawayo on Monday, August 22nd 2022, with a series of meetings held at the National University of Science and Technology. After a warm welcome from some of the key university employees, and relevant faculties and departments were presented to us. After that, EWB Denmark and EWB Norway presented our organizations to our partners, and shortlisted pilot project areas were discussed. On the second day (Tuesday, August 23rd) we visited the Institute of Development Studies and numerous faculties and their laboratories.
Visits to rural schools
On the third day (Wednesday, August 24th) we traveled to Lupane where we visited the Lupane State University. After that, we started the most exciting part of our trip – visits to rural schools. On Wednesday, we visited Sichongo Primary School and Fatima High School, while on Thursday (August 25th) we visited Kana Primary School, St. George Primary School and Mtupane Primary School. It was the school holidays season so there were no pupils at the schools, but we were welcomed by schools’ employees and local people (and sometimes parents) who showed us around and presented some of the challenges they are facing, mostly related to WASH-related themes (water, sanitation and hygiene). We inspected and collected information about wells, boreholes, water tanks, solar panels, toilets, water supply systems, etc. Bo N. Jacobsen from EWB Denmark, who has the most experience with WASH-related topics, led most of the questioning so these trips were a learning experience for us from EWB Norway as well.
On Friday we returned to Bulawayo, where we spent another two days (August 26th and Saturday, August 27th) where we worked on a Memorandum of Understanding between the parties, and where Bo presented potential projects related to the schools mentioned above.
Time outside the official workshop
Our time outside the official workshop was just as exciting, and our hosts took great care of us and showed us everything we were interested in (and many things we didn’t know we were interested in!). We visited street markets, tried local delicacies such as caterpillars and cow heels and experienced the nightlife in Lupane, while Ginta and Cristina from EWB Denmark got help finding a local tailor to sew them a traditional dress. In addition, our hosts were very patient in answering many of our questions about Zimbabwean culture, history, nature, etc.
I (Marin) traveled to Zimbabwe one week before the workshop and started my trip by visiting Matobo Hills where I spent a few days in the Green Island Vision community center and learned a lot about their work and discussed collaboration opportunities with EWB. After that, I went to Gweru where Midland Children Hope Project (MCHP) provided me with an opportunity to spend a few at their orphanage and learn more about their community work. Lastly, I traveled to Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls where I met with Ginta to see one of the world's seven natural wonders. This first week proved to be an invaluable experience to get a glimpse of Zimbabwean society and helped me better understand the things we learned during the workshop later on.
More information about our trip to Zimbabwe can be found in a report that will soon be made available on the EWB Norway website, and we will give a presentation about our trip on Thursday, October 20th 2022 at 15:00.