A UK-based community initiative group has lined up a series of workshops at the end of May aimed at driving growth and development in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland region.

The Implementing Change Initiative Group will host three free workshops in London, Manchester and Birmingham on 31 May, 7 June and 21 June 2019, aiming to bring together UK based residents who are looking to invest in Matabeleland, to exchange innovative ideas that will influence and rebuild the three provinces of Bulawayo, Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North provinces.

The organisation’s Founder and Director, Sithule Tshuma said that now is the time to rebuild Matabeleland as a whole and empower, not only the aspiring entrepreneur but, to develop the various communities provincially.

“We want to create a sustainable nucleus of businesses and socio-economic programmes that will grow and transform the respective regions into economically viable export hubs in Zimbabwe. Some of the key economic opportunities in the three provinces include tourism, ranching, mining and manufacturing. Matabeleland North and South alone have extensive potential for cattle farming but we need to work together to invest in its growth,” Tshuma said.

Historically, Matabeleland North is known to be endowed with teak hardwood forests, while Matabeleland South boasts Mopani forests, making them potentially significant players of timber production.

Tshuma added the initiative will look to outline plans for regeneration and garner the diaspora’s support, with the aim of creating viable partnerships that reflect its commitment to empowering communities in Zimbabwe.

“By developing communities in Matabeleland and shaping the social mobility narrative, we look to collaborate with existing and new community groups, stakeholders and service providers so that the local residents can benefit from the various schemes that will include a range of things such as project management, business development, farming and agriculture,” Tshuma said.

The group is looking to work with the local council and is in talks to see whether they can provide training and development opportunities for local residents and support them to develop their skills as they give their time to community projects.

There are also plans to help improve the education system in the rural areas by facilitating training and leadership workshops for teachers, so that they are better equipped for their job roles.