First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa introduces 20 000 fingerlings into Mwenje Dam with the assistance of Radco Pvt Ltd representative in Chiweshe yesterday. — Pictures: John Manzongo
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s drive to take everyone on board in the quest to empower communities, ensure self-reliance and better livelihoods for the underprivileged through her Angel of Hope Foundation, continues to inspire the corporate world, among other stakeholders, with the latest being a donation of 20 000 fish fingerlings.
The donation was made by Mr Tim Kilner, through his company, Radco (Pvt) Ltd.
Speaking at the handover ceremony at Mwenje Dam in Godzi Village under Chief Chiweshe’s domain of Mashonaland Central yesterday, the First Lady said her foundation decided to launch a fisheries project to support livelihoods in three constituencies in the province.
The 20 000 fish fingerlings, 60 percent of which are females, were handed over to Chief Chiweshe, who was represented at the occasion by Headman Nyachuru, Godfrey Mudyiwa, before being introduced into the dam for the benefit of constituents in Mazowe Central, Mazowe South and Mazowe North.
“The main objective of this initiative is to support community livelihoods through providing alternative protein from aquaculture.
“When we have a water body such as Mwenje Dam, its utility value is enhanced when we make use and derive meaningful benefits which support our daily living,” said the First Lady.
She underscored that the benefits of a balanced diet could not be overemphasised, saying it is crucial for communities to derive both economic and healthy benefits availed by aquaculture; as this would ensure both food and nutrition security
Situated on the Mwenje River, a tributary to Mazowe River, the dam provides livelihoods trajectories to citizens in villages such as Gweshe, Godzi, Kaviya, Kusema, Ushe and Munyengeterwa.
The mother of the nation, who is also the environment ambassador, highlighted the essence of natural capital, without which humanity is doomed.
“The environment is the springboard upon which life on earth depends. And, it is up to us to take full advantage of the natural capital available to us, such as the fingerlings we have officially handed over today,” said the First Lady.
She acknowledged the presence of traditional leaders, urging them to continue observing traditional values and norms which have endured the test of time. Traditional rules regarding the preservation of natural resources, such as fish, she said, should be recognised across all jurisdictions.
“Growing up, we knew of certain times of the year when fishing was restricted, and even some places where fishing was not allowed as that gave the resource breeding and spawning space,” she said.
She implored the community to refrain from engaging in destructive fishing methods, where everyone fishes everywhere throughout the year, resulting in depletion of the resource, leaving water bodies devoid of fish.
Amai Mnangagwa called for responsible and sustainable consumption on the part of beneficiaries, taking into consideration the breeding and spawning period of between six and eight months required for fish production.
Future generations should also benefit from the ancestral resource; hence, their opportunities should not be compromised through reckless behaviour.
She also urged citizens to desist from cutting down trees, and starting veld fires.
The First Lady encouraged women to embark on self-sustaining projects to empower themselves and provide for their families, instead of relying solely on their husbands.
“Going forward, I encourage all women with vegetable gardens with a good water source to venture into fish farming as an integrated approach for simultaneously accessing a healthy diet and source of income,” she said.
“Such an integrated approach provides a stable and healthy diet for our kids and families. A healthy family is the key cornerstone for a solid education system, and economic growth for our country.”
Amai Mnangagwa thanked Radco for the donation, saying such a gesture dovetails with Angel of Hope Foundation’s thrust to economically empower and raise the standard of living for the underprivileged.
“I would like to thank specifically Mr Kilner for your efforts to expand aquaculture in Mashonaland Central, and would like to assure you that this donation will go a long way in improving the livelihoods of the citizenry residing in Mashonaland Central,” she said.
“May this be the birth of a partnership that will initiate more projects such as this for the empowerment of vulnerable members of society?”
Mai Mnangagwa, who is also the health ambassador, said Covid-19 was still with us, urging citizens to get vaccinated, and consider taking third jabs or booster shots once the programme is rolled out in the country.
Regarding child marriages and gender-based violence, Amai Mnangagwa said it was everyone’s responsibility to curb the ills. She called on leaders of developmental programmes to organise training schemes for the benefit of young people and women to occupy and draw them off societal mischief.
Mrs Margaret Dzapasi (56) thanked Amai Mnangagwa for her timely intervention saying the project would help them to sustain their families, and preserve the marriage institution that is usually put on the rocks due to lack of income.
The event, which was held under strict Covid-19 protocols, was attended by Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Tsitsi Gezi, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe, Mashonaland Central Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Monica Mavhunga, Mazowe Central National Assembly Member Sydney Chidamba, Mazowe South National Assembly Member Fortune Chasi, and Bindura North National Assembly Member Kenneth Musanhi, among others.
SOURCE: The Herald