Lusumpuko Women’s Club
The Lusumpuko Women’s Club, after pivoting from local catering to hosting international travellers for a traditional lunch, now uses their revenue to benefit the community of Victoria Falls as a whole. This includes a monthly lunch service, catered for the patients and healthcare workers at the local hospital, a garden project to provide produce for the community at a reasonable price, and a community fund to help cover funeral and burial costs. They also continue to grow their membership, providing opportunities for other women in their community.
When Zimbabwe experienced the world’s worst case of inflation in 2008, many of the country’s inhabitants struggled to meet the basic needs of their families. Today, approximately 95% of the population of Zimbabwe is unemployed or partake in informal work on contracts or in subsistence farming. However, there is a growing movement for those with skills in trades to form cooperatives to create thriving businesses.
Despite a traditional gender disparity, many Zimbabwean women are forming cooperative groups to provide services like tailoring, catering, and animal husbandry. These groups are taking matters into their own hands – creating income for their families and communities while empowering other women to build and launch their own businesses.
Planeterra partnered with the 29 members of the Lusumpuko Project to create a cooking demonstration and meal for the many travellers who visit Victoria Falls. Starting off as a cooperative rearing chickens and providing catering services for local churches and events, the group is thriving with the task of creating a traditional meal, much like their mothers and grandmothers used to prepare for international travellers. Planeterra gave the cooperative a grant to kick-start their traditional meal demonstration, to ensure the group launched the initiative successfully.
Not only are they rediscovering this cultural history, they are bonding as friends, and empowering one another. Harnessing the tourism industry in this small town will help the women of Lusumpuko to provide for their families.