We are happy to announce that the St Mary’s Papermaking project has officially begun. The group of eight women began their training at the beginning of November and have taken to it with much motivation and excitement. Due to Covid-19, this project was delayed as travel was not allowed within the country. Now that some of the restrictions have eased, we have been able to get the trainer to Hwange to make a start on the project.

This project will enable paper waste to be recycled and repurposed, instead of ending up in landfill. Recycled paper has many uses, and the group will learn how to make exercise books for schools, as well as create bespoke cards, writing paper, bookmarks, and gift boxes: products that are highly attractive to overseas visitors as something small to take home with them as souvenirs.

The St Mary’s group follows the very successful project that was established in Jabulani Village, also funded by GCF. Prior to Covid-19, these ladies reported a three-fold increase in their household income as a direct result of the project. Now that more opportunities are opening up again, we know that the paper group will be successful, and there are several plans for furthering their skills and enabling them to diversify their product range.

Income-generating groups have significant positive effects for communities. Skill development, community empowerment and collaboration, and the income generated within these groups allows the members to pay their children’s school fees – a significant issue in Zimbabwe – as well as increase overall household income as mentioned, and reduce solid waste.

We would like to thank GCF for their generosity in funding this project and look forward to providing updates on the ladies’ progress over the next few months.