COMMUNITY OF MACHEKE, ZIMBABWE
Macheke is a rural farming community in Zimbabwe. It was formed during the colonial period due to its rich, agricultural soils. The 2006 census lists the population at about 8,300 people. But current estimations based on the number of students place the population count well above that number.
The native Shona people of Macheke live within the context of the “Hunhu” embodied practice. Hunhu is a legendary African ethic. In a nutshell, it is the essence of being human and it places an emphasis on co-existence. Principles of Hunhu are built on hospitality, harmony, love, justice, and balance, and offers a sustainable approach to social development, bio-cultural diversity, and protection of the natural environment.
The Economic Struggles of Macheke, Zimbabwe
In recent years, Zimbabwe suffered one of the worst economic downturns in the world. In 2008, it was estimated that the inflation rate soared to 87 sextillion percent. The government of Zimbabwe released the largest bank note, at 100 trillion dollar bill, in January 2009. Within the last four decades, Macheke has gone from dozens of active commercial farms to less than 10. With the majority of these farms producing at less than 10% capacity. Locals are now living near the poverty line and are being faced with under-nutrition, prevalent disease due to underserved public health, and lack of access to relevant, sustainable education.
The village of Macheke has one small clinic, five schools (no university), no banks, and no formal industry. The years of unsustainable agricultural practices have negatively affected many plots of land across the village. There is one river which is currently devastated by the effects of dam development during the colonial period and much of the wildlife has migrated due to fires, extreme deforesting, and hunting.
“It’s not what you call me. It’s what I answer to”
Despite challenging circumstances, the people of Macheke continue to work hard and carry the hope that these socio-economic issues will resolve and an opportunity for a life of sustained dignity will arise. It is their perseverance that inspired the creation of the Macheke Sustainability Project. Anyone interested in donating and helping us continue to make an impact can do so here: https://machekeproject.org/support-macheke/
RESEARCH-BASED FINDINGS IN MACHEKE
We use research as an ongoing tool to understand the community of Macheke. It is our goal to provide you access to the most relevant resources as part of our efforts.
We have conducted research that helps reveal some views of Zimbabweans living in Macheke, and we will be presenting that information here as soon as we are able.
CHALLENGES IN MACHEKE
- Weak communication technology
- Unreliable power supply
- Diminishing natural environment
- Deficient learning facilities
- Chronic conditions of poverty
- The undermining of the potential of women and girls
OPPORTUNITIES IN MACHEKE
- Local schools are embracing sustainability initiatives
- The existence of traditional ecological knowledge (e.g. Hunhu)
- Adequate fertile land
- Increased interest & investment in learning
- Women and girls are actively working to be included in the development protocol