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the possibilities - Interview with Gamuchirai Chituri, Paruware
January 28, 2011
Inside/Out with Gamuchira Chituri
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Inspired by the growing need of young people to acquire the skills
needed to start their own businesses Gamuchirai Chituri founded
in 2007. The Trust runs several programmes including a business
incubation programme as well as Summer Entrepreneurship Camps. An
Acumen Fund Fellow, Gamuchira has travelled to Kenya to work first
hand on one of Acumen's projects, UHEAL.
and why was Paruware Trust formed?
It stared a long time ago. In 2005 when I was at the University
of Zimbabwe, there were many challenges and problems that I
had seen. I loved film and scripting so I wrote a story for my community.
We did rehearsals, I mobilised the community to act, and when it
came to the filming, I came to Harare to look for a production house
or any body who could help me and it was very difficult. I didn't
have the exposure that it took to get people to do it. Years later
I joined Students Partnership Worldwide, a volunteer peer education
organisation. I was sent to Chimanimani in the rural areas and I
saw so many young people who were just like me with ideas. They
wanted to do things but they couldn't. They didn't know
who to talk to or where to go. When I went to university the idea
at first was that young people needed a platform where they could
develop ideas and get ideas, even just moral support. From that
point the idea evolved. Paruware was registered in 2007, and our
mission is to promote sustainable development by supporting young
people through trainings. So we do entrepreneurship summer camps
and we do business incubation services. If somebody has an idea
we then take it through and support them, give them the finances
and help them become a real business.
website describes Paruware as a social enterprise. What role do
you see for yourselves in the development of Zimbabwe?
I worked with NGOs for four years after University. We all know
that NGOs are a nice place to be. But it doesn't really change
the situation. We gave people buckets during the Cholera response;
we gave people food handouts in Guruve. There is a place for charity
but I don't think its development. It's just helping
people especially when they are in a crisis. They need the help
but it doesn't develop them. Then there is business on the
other side which is profit making. They are not concerned about
poor people they want to do business. If they find that they can't
do business in the rural areas because people don't have the
money for their products they just don't go there. Social
enterprise is trying to take the best of both worlds and be in the
middle. We are saying we want to help poor people, we want to help
people who are suffering, but we can't do it for free, because
it's not sustainable and in the long run we can't help
develop them. We want them to pay so we borrow from the private
sector. We are saying we want them to be accountable; we want them
to pay for it.
We take young people who are poor or who are students, and we tell
them we are going to support them. If they have an idea then we
want to help you develop it. But we expect you to pay for this service.
It's really patient capital. The money will come back to us
and we will use it to help someone else. That's where we see
ourselves. I think in terms of Zimbabwe's development that's
what the country needs. It needs things that are sustainable, and
it needs the people themselves helping themselves.
has been made of the development potential of the Zimbabwean Diaspora
community. Will they become a force for development in Zimbabwe?
I think they can be though I'm not optimistic that they'll
come back. It's difficult to come back after you've
settled especially if you are doing something proper.
we have what we call a Wisdom Board. We take the knowledge and expertise
of people who act as mentors and so on. Right now we have many Zimbabweans
who are helping us. For instance a Zimbabwean who is living in America
developed the Business incubation programme. I've never met
him. We have a lot of people who are willing to do that. We have
had so many Zimbabweans helping, like designing our adverts - we
have a Zimbabwean in India doing that. I think they can contribute
their knowledge in those ways and they can use their skills to help
you do what you want. I think even if they are not there we can
get that technology transfer.
that you are an Acumen Fund Fellow. What knowledge did you gain
from that opportunity?
That's where I learnt first hand about social enterprise.
I had ideas of what I wanted to do but the Acumen Fund programme
gave me first hand experience of what that is. It's a year-long
programme with three months of training in New York, which is the
best part of it. They expose you to so many leaders, and teach what
they call moral imagination. It's about social skills. They
take people who are graduates, with Masters, but that alone does
not make you succeed. It's those other social skills, it's
how you network, empathise and talk to people. They try to show
you what innovation is, who is innovating, what they're doing.
For the operational experience I was in Kenya. What that experience
showed me was the possibilities out there. The entrepreneurial spirit
in Kenya is a lot more than here. There were a lot more young people
doing real business not just buying and selling.
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