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ZimDignity Development and Basket: Sustainable Housing SolutionBy Uyapo Majahana - @uyapomajax (Twitter)
04 August 2020
COVID-19 has turned the world upside down, upending our lives, shattering our sense of normalcy, and causing the largest economic downturn in history.
With millions of newly unemployed, families struggling, and entire sectors of the global economy in ruins due to the pandemic, we face an unparalleled rebuilding effort.
In this context, 'rebuilding' is both literal and metaphorical, especially for the urban population living in informal and unplanned settlements.
It is literal considering how impractical it is to live in crowded spaces and avoid COVID-19 infection. It is metaphorical in the sense that the current system of living has shown itself to be inadequate and hence new ideas of sustainable living have to be thought out.
Fortunately, an unprecedented number of governments, development agencies, and corporations are seeing the benefits of transitioning and embracing new ideas.
ZimDignity Development Basket is one such organization.
They seek to help people acquire land from the government, city council and developers difficult – and then help them in the construction of their houses. For most people, this has become a far-fetched dream.
The organization's founder Mr Muzi Mthunzi said the cooperative's mission was to develop members who are competitive in the private sector agribusiness to cultivate self-sustenance among their members.
"We want to launch an all-out war against a dependence syndrome in our members and cultivate winners in our midst even in these difficult times. This is an achievable feat especially by focusing on innovative agribusiness strategies," he said.
He said his organization goes a step further than most cooperatives go by training their members in different skills that pertain to development and self-sustenance.
"To be truly competitive and have the capacity to meet the nation's demand of high-level professional manpower in agriculture, we delve into agricultural sciences, agricultural economics, agricultural administration and agribusiness management in research, teaching, advisory work and business management. We know that by covering these fundamentals, there is no way in which our members can fail to be self-reliant," Mr Mthunzi said.
He also said that ZimDignity Development Basket is a cut above the rest because it has the people at heart.
"We are a humble organization that is people-driven and people-centered. I believe that is one of our strongest points. We genuinely care about people. Our love for people got us into this business in the first place. So everything that we do has that motive in the center.
"For us, it is not only about making an extra dollar, but it is about trying to make sure that even the most marginalized members of our society get decent housing at affordable prices. After all, this is a basic human right"
The right to housing is recognized in several international human rights instruments. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the right to housing as part of the right to an adequate standard of living.
It states that, "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control."
Article 11(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) also guarantees the right to housing as part of the right to an adequate standard of living.
Mr Mthunzi also said that ZimDignity Development Basket is an environmentally conscious organization that has the vision to construct buildings that use renewable sources of energy and self-driven mandate to encourage sustainable land-use practices such as regenerative agriculture, to reduce the carbon footprint.
In the past, action to combat climate change was viewed largely as running counter to economic growth, with "going green" implying a sacrifice of prosperity for the sake of the environment. Today, research and science have sung to the world a different song and resultantly companies are promoting sustainable growth and creating high-quality employment.
Worldwide, an estimated 5.7 million people were employed directly or indirectly in the global renewable-energy industry in 2012 – a figure that is expected to triple by 2030.