First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa has been officially announced as patron of Zimbabwe Women in Cotton Development Trust (ZWCDT), a move aimed at boosting women’s participation in cotton production to improve livelihoods.
Dr Mnangagwa has a passion for the economic empowerment of women.
Chairlady of the Zimbabwe Women in Cotton Development Trust, Mrs Patience Zhakata, said the trust appointed Dr Mnangagwa as its patron last year and had been working closely with her ever since.
To show their appreciation for her teachings, guidance and hard work, the trust donated cooking oil to Angel of Hope Foundation which was made from their produce for onward distribution to the less privileged.
Mrs Zhakata highlighted payment challenges women cotton growers previously experienced as they would sometimes get paltry sums or be paid in groceries that included green bar soap or soya chunks.
This, she said, discouraged the farmers and hence reduced participation by women in cotton production.
However, the First Lady had brought together growers and other stakeholders in the industry, including buyers, to iron out grey areas and give an assurance that the farmers will be paid well for their produce next season.
“We chose you Amai to be our patron so that you lead us as we spearhead development as women in the cotton industry. We have been working with you so well and have come to officially announce so that the nation knows that you are our patron.
“As we work closely with you, people should know that you are our patron as Zimbabwe women in cotton development trust. We thank you for all the things you are doing for us as women farmers countrywide, and for all the teachings and guidance you always give us.
We see the beauty of your interventions because as mothers we were crying as our children were now getting into drugs.
“Our daughters were rushing into marriage, but since you came up with your Gota/Nhanga/Ixhiba programme, we started seeing changes in our children who are now joining us as farmers. They are now appreciating working hard using their hands. With your guidance Amai, we are seeing our cotton production projects succeeding,” Mrs Zhakata said.
“We can now work with our children planning our things as a family. We want to thank you for doing splendid work for us as women and for our children. We had lost dignity but since you came in, you restored our confidence.
“We thank you immensely because people had lost hope and dumped cotton production because of the meagre payments we were getting. We were being paid with a bar of laundry soap and chunks which were not taking us anywhere.
The First Lady said it was heartening to note that as women, they had the courage to work with the private sector in the empowerment drive.
“This should inspire women to follow your footsteps and knock on the private sector doors to boost their projects. Let me once again thank you for this timely donation and implore you to pass on your experiences to fellow women in your local communities for the betterment of your livelihoods as mothers,” she said.