George Galloway Chairman : Zimbabwe Visit Report April 2022
My visit to Zimbabwe was long overdue having had to cancel a previous booking due to the Covid pandemic. Time seemed to fly by as I tried to fit in as much as could whilst there . My first stop as Chairman of Community Action Trust was Harare .Herewith a brief report :
1. C.A.T meeting: Harare (13/04/2022)
1.1 Met with team in Harare . General discussion about CAT operations in Harare.
The team is doing a sterling job considering that there are only 4 representatives in Harare. A drive should be made to get more volunteers even if it is for certain functions like food distribution. One of the reasons might be that there are other groups doing the same things and so people cannot differentiate between C.A.T and other groups. Nevertheless, if we do what we do well, C.A.T will be able to avoid the “nyayas” that seem to bedevil our Community.
A cake sale was planned for 1 st May at Arcadia Library grounds. (This has been held and another is planned for a later date at the same location.)
2 Meeting with Graeme 16/4/2022
Connected with Delma to visit 12 year old Graeme, one of CAT’s beneficiaries in Waterfalls. He was in good spirits; smiling all the time. Delma gave his Mum her parcel of groceries for which she was very grateful. We had a chat with her generally based on the need for her to ensure that his health and wellbeing is sustained and that it was important that she provided every assistance in his educational needs. She had arranged for him to go to school at Arcadia Baptist Church. (At that time, he did not have the required books, but these have since been provided). She needed to provide Delma with his shoe size.
3 Meeting with Arcadia Child Trust (ACT) 14/04/2022 (Helen McNielage / Tim Fisher / Beryl
3.1 The meeting was held at the Arcadia Emergency Centre. ACT explained their involvement in the Community. In turn, I explained the remit that C.A.T (Community Action Trust) is working under, i.e. to provide food assistance and limited medical assistance. In this regard, CAT was not responsible for beneficiaries’ medical bills.
The recent case involving one of our beneficiaries, was discussed. The incident had arisen out of the visit to the beneficiary by Delma, who, in good faith, brought the state of her health to the attention of the Emergency Centre team. This resultant bill was then construed as being the responsibility of CAT. The payment was resolved. Nevertheless, the responsibility of CAT was well defined.
3.2 One of the aspects concerning the various groups operating in the Community is the need for collaboration. The issue of a database was discussed. ACT would like to form a database which would show what assistance was being given to the needy in the Community.
Assistance was not only limited to the supply of food but also to medical assistance, educational needs, drug problems and the general wellbeing of members of the Community.
3.3 Collaboration would also be achieved by understanding the core activities of the various groups eg
the ACT educational effort could be assisted by donations of children’s learning materials; the ACT medical effort could be assisted by donations of medical stuff.
4 CAT (Gweru) 17/04/2022
4.1 It was my intention to stop over in Gweru on the way from Harare to Bulawayo and to have a meeting with CAT (Gweru). Due to network and connection problems, it was difficult to contact the members. Unfortunately, there were no members of the team available, except Eleanor Carlsson . Nevertheless, a meeting was arranged with Eleanor. We discussed the general situation of the charity in Gweru and KweKwe. Eleanor expressed the continued need to identify the needy in the Community with the aim of affording them the necessary assistance. The sentiment is that the CAT is moving in the right direction and has adequate members. The dedication of this team is very encouraging.
5 Bulawayo: CAT meeting: Rhodes Jubilee Cottages (RJC) (14/04/2022)
5.1 I met with the CAT Byo executive (Daphne Sanders / Gail Tommy/ Carrie David's / Carl Orange and Shirley Carlsson ) in the newly refurbished RJC lounge and dining room . C.A.T must be complimented on a job well done. The residents greatly appreciate the outcome. Our discussions centred around general C.A.T business and the need to be continuously accountable and to be on top of record-keeping eg requisitions, receipts and cashbook etc. 5.2 The vice pr
esident of CCDF officially introduced me to the residents. The residents provided tea and cake, and refreshments during which I was introduced to each residents. What a humbling experience it was for me to remind the residents to call me by my first name.
5.3 I was shown the bathrooms that C.A.T is planning to assist with the refurbishment. This assistance will be spread over a period and will depend on the funds raised through donations.
5.4 I had some interesting conversations with some residents. Like Tracey Bell on her visit, there was that anxiety to let me know how the Home was being run especially with the new style of direct management by CCDF through the appointment of Donovan Jones to run the Home. Diplomatically, I communicated the view that C.A.T was there to assist in whatever way but not to run or interfere with the administration of the Home. My sentiment was that, whatever way the Home was run, the priority was to provide peace of mind and a sense of tranquillity for the residents.
5.5 Another matter which was emphasized in discussion with some of the residents was that CAT is not responsible for payment of building works. In discussion and with the agreement of RJC, C.A.T will assist to source funds for selected projects. The larger building projects and renovations would be left to CCDF.
5.6 The question of solar power was raised in discussion. This would be a worthwhile project which would assist the Home greatly. Depending on a phased construction programme, the Home could also be able to assist with some of the costs later. At the moment, assistance with solar power was not a priority for C.A.T sourcing of donor funds. (Quotations have since been received for the various blocks. These are for the record)
5.7 Food donations received from C.A.T would be signed off for by CCDF.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile visit .