Empowerment Training

The stewardship department from the 30th of October to the 1st of November 2019 conducted a three-day empowerment training program for the Bulawayo needy members of the church at 116 Herbert Chitepo St, Bulawayo. Candidates to the Empowerment Program comprising of the needy members within the 12 pilot districts, six from each Conference, were identified during the Holy convocation week, by the Stewardship visit teams. A survey conducted during the visits to determine entrepreneurial skills members desired to be capacitated in resulted in this empowerment training.

Of the 185  participants who registered for the training, 118 attended. these included both church members and a handful of non-church members who were identified during the holy convocation week. A contigency of 18 Highly skilled professionals donated their time and skills for three days. Areas that participants were trained in included poultry, goat keeping, seedling production, sewing, farming, baking, merchandising, hairdressing, beekeeping catering and decorating.

Dr. J B Sibanda conducting devotion on the first day before training began

During the first devotion, Pastor JB Sibanda the Union stewardship director emphasised that this training was meant to equip and enable them to rise and go. Citing Peter’s words in Acts 3:6, he told them that the church had no silver and gold to give each one of them, but the skills they were to get from the training would be the seed for putting bread on the table. Pastor M Choga challenged the participant to take advantage of such an opportunity during the official opening of the empowerment training. 

In addition to transporting each of the participants to and from the training venue, they were provided with lunch for the three days. Within the three days, those trained in sewing finished designing, cutting and sewing one Women Ministries dress, two skirts and a men’s suit.  Those doing bakery baked a cake, and muffins in two days. On the third-day hairdressers showcased acquired skills while those who were trained on catering and decoration had a wedding table setup as well as birthday party decoration on the stage. Other participants, namely merchandisers, bee farmers, poultry growers, goat breeders and crop farmers in addition to theory, made field trips to see the actual product in their areas of training. 

The training was practical and beneficial form all the participants and one of the young participants who was trained on sewing received a sewing machine from a well-wisher for him to get started and implement the skills he had just received. The sewing trainer who worked with him offered to mentor him until he can set up his own sewing business. Within two weeks of having been trained, testimonies have been recorded of beneficiaries who have already embarked on income-generating projects. Bee farming and vegetable vending are two such testimonies.

Sidumiso Sigoba a professional tailor imparting skills to one of the participants

Participants expressed their gratitude towards the organisers but mostly to the trainers who took time to train them for free and yet they could have used that same time to advance their business. In response, Nobuhle a non-Adventist, from a Seed Company who spoke on behalf of all facilitators expressed gratitude for the opportunity granted them to be of help to other fellow humans who are in need. The success of this pilot program was further caped by the networking linkages with a financial institution who suggested they could assist with individual loans that participants can access.

One of the participants showcasing the displayed garments that they made

This project is another dimension of the empowerment project that the Union is currently running. The first of such projects meant for the rural needy people is the goat project which was piloted in Gwanda and Nyamadlovu. Participants in the goat project are given three female goats to rear for a year, it is expected that within the year each goat can give birth to at least two kids which are then left with the participants as the seed goats are then moved to the next set of beneficiaries. 

It is hoped that these projects will prove beneficial to the less privileged church members and non-members that are identified.