RURAL communities near tourism resorts should be capacitated to be able to tap into the tourism industry to promote rural tourism and development of their areas.
A local non-governmental organisation, Youth Invest which is funded by the US Embassy is championing a programme called Siyazenzela Arts, Crafts and Village Tours Hub to capacitate Chidobe and Kachechete wards outside Victoria Falls to link with tourists and sell products directly to them without having to rely on middlemen.
A club called Siyazenzela with about 100 members, mostly women and youth has been formed and members trained on digital marketing, financial literacy and storytelling to be able to directly link with tourists and benefit as a community.
The community is one of the many used by tour operators for village tours but with little benefit to villagers.
On Wednesday 21 October 2020, Youth Invest handed over an assortment of materials for use by Siyazenzela Club to start sewing and curio carving projects as a community and cushion them in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which affected livelihoods.
“This is a project targeting Chidobe, Sizinda and Ndlovu areas in Hwange District to improve livelihoods by promoting rural tourism. The idea is to build skills and give the community a platform to utilise those skills where they will be making functional and ornamental curios and selling collectively as a hub.
“They are trained to be able to value add on sewing and curio vending, selling locally and internationally using digital marketing. This community empowerment will create an economic hub and we want women to be able to identify and define themselves in the community,” said Youth Invest Director Ms Nomqhele Siziba.
Also from Youth Invest, Mr Mgcini Moyo said the project will also give back to the community as part of social responsibility.
“They will use the revenue generated from the project at their own discretion with a certain percentage going towards helping vulnerable members of the community. We also want this to be environmentally friendly hence members will be required to plant trees since they will be using wood for curios,” said Mr Moyo.
Club members said the project has united the community and will help stir development of roads, clinics, schools and dip tank.
A member Ms Mariya Moyo from BH 36 said: “This has united us as a community as we can now work together. We will now be able to collectively identify our challenges and address them as a community.”
Siyazenzela chairman Mr Nyundu Ndlovu said the community had gained a lot of knowledge which is critical for development. — @ncubeleon
Article Link: https://www.sundaynews.co.zw/capacitate-rural-communities-to-benefit-from-tourism/