On a date that is synonymous with the House of Lords gunpowder plot, Makomborero was privileged to take part in a House of Lords event in support of UK charities working in Zimbabwe.   The event was attended by two of our Trustees Nicola Baldwin and Nathan Whitaker and here is their report.

Over the summer a rather official looking House of Lords envelope arrived for the attention of the Trustees of Makomborero.  On opening the envelope we were delighted to learn that we had been invited to take part in the inaugural ‘Zimbabwe Charity Alliance Meeting’ hosted by Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick. Lord Hastings is an inspirational life peer who amongst other accolades received a UNICEF award in 2005 for his ‘outstanding contribution to understanding and effecting solutions for Africa’s children’.  We readily accepted the invitation and were asked to prepare a 4 minute presentation of the work of Makomborero.

When the day finally came we arrived early and positioned our banner stand and literature, and began networking with representatives from the 15 or so fellow organisations working in Zimbabwe such as ZANE (Zimbabwe a National Emergency), Christian Aid, Mike Campbell Foundation, Oasis Zimbabwe, World Vision, Zimbabwe Rural Schools Development Programme and the Zimbabwe Farmers Trust.

Lord Hastings and Tom Benyan OBE (founder of ZANE) opened the meeting and we then heard short presentations from all of the charities represented.  When it came to Makomborero, we shared a timeline of our history, our aims and objectives, the detail of our scholarship programme and results, a case study of “Peter’s story”, and finally we shared a SWOT analysis of the charity.  We were commended on the quality of our presentation, although what stood out to all who commented was the quality of the Makomborero scholarship programme, and particularly the results of our pioneer students who had fought against so much adversity in order to succeed.

After hearing from other organisations working in Zimbabwe, at the end of the day we came away enthused and challenged but most of all full of ideas and with a much bigger network of contacts!  The charities represented at the forum covered all aspects of Zimbabwean society, including other primary and secondary education providers and humanitarian organisations whose role has become more critical since the currency crisis in the last 10-15 years. There were plenty of heart wrenching and harrowing stories!

One of Makomborero’s key strengths is its adoption of social media and online presence, and it looks like we’ll be involved in supporting some of our fellow charities in this regard moving forward as well as helping to establish an informal networking event for like-minded trustees of charities working in Zimbabwe.

Overall the inaugural Zimbabwe Charity Alliance Meeting was a great success and we understand there are plans afoot to establish a similar forum in Zimbabwe itself.

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