Friends of Muonde has also provided grants to The Muonde Trust. This Community-based organization works by seeking out, encouraging and backing indigenous innovation in Mazvihwa. Its heart is a large team of skilled local action researchers and community extension agents who can draw as necessary on the practical skills of outsider researchers and trainers in a structure that is being de-colonized. Programs emerge, grow and evolve depending on what is exciting the community and program participants. The Muonde Trust, which has its own (local) Board, is run by Abraham Mawere (Director) and Alice Ndlovu (Director of Operations) and has around thirty staff and full time volunteers working in Mazvihwa and some neighboring areas.
Everything at the Muonde Trust is focused on transforming the experience of development from one driven through top-down externally-derived resources and ideas (in which locals are a “target” and exhorted to “participate”) to instead one that people themselves own and that encourages the bottom-up generation and sharing of practical knowledge alongside providing empowering training when needed.
Investing in local minds rather than things, and doing it through inclusive peer-to-peer training means:
- Community members (men and women, young and old) feel their value;
- Local knowledge, culture and social networks become an asset;
- Indigenous innovators sense their worth and are encouraged to continue;
- Knowledge and skills are widely distributed across the community rather than being concentrated in a few professionals or leaders;
- Practical skills improve wellbeing in ways not dependent on external resources;
- Natural capital – soils, ponds, woodlands, are stewarded and grown;
- Solutions (even those taking advantage of external facilitation, such as with digital technology) are locally generated, understood, adapted and adapting;
- Innovations take root and spread within and beyond the Mazvihwa area without the need for institutional backing;
- Self-sufficiency, sustainability and resilience are enhanced; and
- The Muonde Trust remains small, nimble and facilitating and locally run.