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March 2013 Zimbabwe Trip Report – Charting The Way Forward

Dr. Gregory Fritz, Tim Windsor, Chris Windsor
Trip Dates: 3 March to 20 March 2013

March 5-8 Foundations for Farming, CHAMPS Conference at Resthaven Retreat, Harare

Foundations for Farming has three decades of experience in farming methods that bring high yields to subsistence farmers. Their work and methods are well known through Zimbabwe and beyond. GF attended this conference with the hope to learn more about their methodology and to meet the key people. He was not disappointed. They taught theory, demonstrated methods, and mingled with the several dozen attendees. Key people that GF met included: Founder Brian Oldrieve, CEO Craig Deall, and staff members Darrell and Hazel Edwards. These are key relationships that will grow our ability to serve the Zimbabwean poor.

March 5-19, 2013 Test Leadership Conference idea with a cross section of leaders

One of our goals for the trip was to test the idea of launching a leadership conference in Bulawayo and Harare. This idea was hatched during a previous trip in November 2012 and seemed to be gaining momentum. However, we desired to find more local enthusiasm for the idea before fully committing to it. Throughout the trip, especially the first half, we regularly discussed the idea with people. We were surprised that most of the people we talked to were not enthusiastic about a conference. Our conclusion was that the idea did not have as much support as we initially thought and, therefore, we have ceased promoting it at this time.

March 11, 2013 Business-person meeting in Harare

TW and GF facilitated several meetings of business-people. Our hope was to hear from them the kinds of services we could provide that would enhance their success and to give them some useful business input in return. The first of these meetings was in Harare on Monday morning. We spent most of the three hours we were together answering two questions. “What is your vision for Zimbabwe? How would you like to characterize the country in five to ten years?” and “How can we get from where the country is today to the place where your vision is realized?” The key opportunity we heard from this meeting was a request for mentoring input. People want to be mentored and they want to know more about mentoring. There seems to be an opportunity for experienced expats in this area.

March 11, 2013 Meikles Hotel Dinner meeting with Ngwiza Mnkandla and Artaj Singh

AS arranged this meeting after meeting with Ngwiza earlier in the day because of Ngwiza’s need for training for the trainers in his Kairos Leadership Development Institute. Kairos is an attempt to influence people’s paradigms. Ngwiza believes the nation can be changed by changing people’s worldviews. GF presented his Leadership Code curriculum to Ngwiza and he seemed interested. He committed to look over the material and get back with to us.

March 12, 2013 Training event with Marondera City Council

TW and GF presented a training event to the City Council. They covered three principles from the “Team” chapter in GF’s Leadership Code curriculum. We received positive feedback from the council members, particularly the mayor. He invited us back to continue developing these city leaders. We concluded the time with them by hosting them for lunch.

March 13, 2013 Marondera Business leaders meetings

TW and GF facilitated two business leader discussion groups in Marondera. The first one was with a group that was predominately younger and black. The second group was predominately former farmers, older, and white. As we did in Harare, we asked them about their vision for the country and what steps should be taken to get from where the situation is today to where it should be. The most interesting outcomes from these meetings were the similarity of vision, but different priorities regarding how to bring about a positive future.

The younger group envisions Zimbabwe becoming a country that once again can feed its people and export food. A country that has a vibrant industrial base and stable economy. People who have integrity and are compassionate toward others. They want the country to be a better place for their children. They acknowledged that depending on handouts is not right. They know that cheating, bribes, unreasonable price mark-ups and other underhanded behaviors are wrong and do not build the country.

They stated that the way to this vision is for each of them to take personal responsibility. They tended to personalize the solution and thought about how much they were willing to personally risk for their vision become reality. For example, one discussion group specifically stated, “We must personally stand for what we believe.”

The people in the second group feel that the way to a better Zimbabwe was for social structures to change.

All of the business people we talked to are struggling to survive. They seem to be grasping at any activity that has income potential. Most are engaging in a variety of business initiatives, none of which is producing much, if any, profit.

Another common theme that emerged during these meetings was the need for more effective mentoring. Younger people want life-on-life interactions that will help them navigate life’s landmines. Experienced people are willing to help younger people. There seems to be an opportunity to teach about mentoring and build formal and/or informal mentoring structures.

March 15, 2013 Meeting with Business interns in Bulawayo

TW, CW and GF travelled by bus to Bulawayo March 15. After we arrived and got set up at our host home, we went to address Business Interns and mingle with them afterwards. GF had previously addressed this group when he visited Bulawayo in November, so we attempted to build on that meeting. We talked to them about mentoring. We asked how many of them wanted life-on-life input and how many of them were willing to pass on knowledge and experience to others. We had a positive interaction that confirmed the need for more training about this topic.

March 16, 2013 Business leaders meeting in Bulawayo

We invited some key business leaders together who share a common vision for improving the city and nation through successful business to a breakfast meeting. After brief introductions, there was an enthusiastic discussion about what they could do to support one another. Again, we found mentoring to be a significant topic and found much common vision and commitment during our discussions. The group agreed to band together under the name of ACCLAIM with an overall objective to encourage Mentorship and support of small business development, Business leader support, and to engage, support, and influencing policy makers.

March 18, 2013 Meeting with Ian Conolly, Nehemiah Trust

Ian works in a family business, O. Conolly & Co. He is also involved in an effort called Nehemiah Trust. We met to discuss how Nehemiah Trust and Initiative 360 could cooperate as we share overlapping purposes in the area of our desire to train and release business mentors. The meeting was positive and we all left with the expectation that future cooperation will be good. We look forward to following up with more conversations.

Summary of future opportunities

• Develop mentoring curriculum to be taught throughout Zimbabwe
• Support the newly launched Acclaim group
• Develop partnership opportunities with Nehemiah Trust
• Provide business consulting as requested
• Provide leadership training to the Marondera City Council
• Pursue teaching Leadership Code to Kairos trainers