Lusumpuko Women's Club
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
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 has partnered with the 20 members of the Lusumpuko Project to create a cooking demonstration and meal for G Adventures 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.
Not only are they rediscovering this cultural history, they are bonding as friends, and empowering one other. Harnessing the tourism industry in this small town will help the women of Lusumpuko to provide for their families. Planeterra has also given the cooperative a grant to kick-start their traditional meal demonstration, to ensure the group is successful.
Linda is the President of Lusumpuko Women’s Club (Lusumpuko means “Progress” in the local language of Tonga). She believes in the power of the tourism industry to change lives in Victoria Falls. “If tourism grows, the opportunity of employment will grow, too. There is a need for hospitality training classes, and opportunities for women and youth here in Victoria Falls.” She also says that the aim of Lusumpuko is the assist other women’s groups: “It’s our dream to help other women in our community.”