Self-Help Activities Change The Face of Jokwe Community

Jokwe is a name of the School with an enrollment of more than 250 pupils and it acts as a central place for 8 villages in Chief Simwatachela Chiefdom of Zimba district. It is about 75 Kilometers from Kalomo town, along the road going to Mapatizya, an Amethyst mining area in the district.

Getting ready for market day

The first permanent structure for the School was a 1 by 1 and office Classroom block by Response Network in 2007. This community had very little developmental activity before the intervention by the Organization. Later in 2017, the organization went back and carried out a full program in the area, which led to starting up of various self-help activities by the community and the extension of the School to have 1 by 3-classroom block and a teacher’s house. This time it is a registered School under government office of the DEBS. What started as a “by-the-way thing” among the community members of Jokwe after Response Network held their Sensitization meetings two years ago has now changed the appearance of the community. Jokwe was among the target communities in 2017, when Response Network went round sensitizing communities on self-help initiatives. The community members started various activities just to try out the knowledge they got during meetings. As they continued, they trained how they can make money from the activities they were doing and improve the quality. The clubs members realized that, since they started engaging in various income generating activities, their lives have improved and they can now have money to pay for their children in school and even buy food and other household necessities. They now faced challenge of how to sell their products within a short time so that they could continue making money to continue supporting their families especially during the drought period of 2019. They idea of mobilizing themselves (an idea they got after seeing the exhibition of activities held at Jokwe where many clubs from surrounding area participated) and build a market where all clubs would come and sell their products was supported.

Farming activities at Jokwe

They asked for land by the roadside from the headman, where even vehicles to town pass so that many people can easily access their goods and it was given. This time, the market has attracted many people who come to buy and even spend time during their leisure, as they do not have a nearby shopping place. The market is run by 8 clubs who have already moved to the sight and doing their business although Jokwe has 12 clubs that are active. Four have not yet moved to the market. The community is extending invitation to people who can bring some business and other structures hoping to develop their area. The hosting head-person is very happy about the turn of events in her area and appreciates the initiative and education given to her community. Everyone is now busy finding ways to support their family. The women are overjoyed and feel motivated because now they can earn their own money, and control over unlike before. They feel more empowered to add their voices in making decisions at family level and community.

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