Strategic Planning – Learning to Fly!

Life at Zimele has really shifted up a few paces! At the beginning in 2007 we were learning to crawl; in 2009 walking steps were taken and in 2012 we were learning to run. In 2015 I believe we are learning to fly!

With the success and expansion of the projects, the participants and the beneficiaries, came an unintentional overload of schedules and commitments to meet donor targets, especially in the Swayimane community. To address these frustrations we embarked on a strategic planning journey.

We began within the Zimele staff attending workshops and being expertly facilitated through each department’s goals, and in turn matching those with the needs of the community. It took hours of negotiating, compromising and an open mind to stretch the comforts of the team.

What started in early 2014 was followed through to January 2015; and finally an integrated, intense staff calendar emerged. With this calendar in hand the Zimele staff headed out to Swayimane to meet the Federation representatives to negotiate a framework in which Zimele would be able to operate within Swayimane. Days were strictly allocated to SHG meetings, craft activities, enterprise training, CLA strengthening and agricultural development to prevent overlaps and over-commitments for the women.

These “children” who had learnt to walk and run not so long ago have now begun to fly the nest and arguably were able to reach a stage of negotiating Zimele’s new role within Swayimane now that the ‘Inthunthuko YoMa’ Federation is born! If Zimele sets out to create “on your own two feet”, is this not a fantastic example of how?

Perhaps the ability for us at Zimele to stand back and watch this flight is the uniqueness we bring to community development. While we can see the gaps begin to emerge with limited training days as well as the opportunities that will be missed out on the road ahead for Swayimane beneficiaries; we have to respect the ability the women have achieved to stand up and plan, control and adopt for their day to day activities. The ‘children’ who we crawled, walked and ran with for these past 7 years have now taken flight. Whatever the outcome, Zimele will be there for the journey to provide support, mentoring and guidance should we need to. In the meantime, since these “children” are not so dependent on us any more, we can dedicate the much-needed time to walk with our other “children” of the Winterton and Mtubatuba communities as they work toward the self-reliance Swayimane now begins to achieve.
Xolani and staffPlan

Above & Below: Zimele staff listening to the Federations plan from the representatives of ‘Inthunthuko YoMa’ and the calendar the women presented to Zimele staff.                                                                          
Start Plan AudienceStrat plan

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