Sustainable Environmental Enterprising (SEE)
RETZ SEE intervention is anchored on the view that natural resources are finite and therefore their sustainable utilization is paramount to mitigate the impact of climate change. SEE provides training, capacity building, information, tools and technology that help smallholder farmers and SMEs adapt to climate change. SEE promotes sustainable livelihoods through entrepreneurship and agri-business management by advocating for the development of social enterprises that combat climate change whilst improving the well-being of communities through food security and job creation along the value chain system.
The initiative aims to reduce land degradation, preserve biodiversity, and mitigate the impact of climate change through the application of sustainable natural resource management practices.
Through SEE, amongst other programs, RETZ has been contributing to the fight against climate change by investing in smart enterprising towards rural development in Zimbabwe. SEE mainstreams renewable energy innovations in community livelihoods programs through a micro-finance for renewable energy project in the peri-urban town of Domboshava, Goromonzi district, Mashonaland East Province. The project involves setting up a village savings and lending (VSL) group; a group of 10-30 horticultural farmers who contribute monthly savings into a common fund pool and take loans from these savings to fund their household horticultural income generating activities or other development initiatives.
For instance, in Domboshava RETZ has formed and trained Domboshava Community Development Association (DCDA), a group of 30 horticulture farmers who are contributing $10 monthly savings into a rotating fund which they borrow to finance their individual income generating activities after which the accumulated funds and profits/interests are used to build bio-digesters at the members’ households. So far the group has managed to build eight out of thirty bio-digesters.
In turn the group is creating employment for the youths in the community towards the construction of the bio-digesters, and create demand for building supplies such as cement from local hardwares, whilst it creates viable sources of clean energy and waste management mechanism for households. The bio-digesters also produce bio-slurry, a bi-product of anaerobic fermentation, which has a high nitrogen content which households use as a rich source of organic fertiliser in their horticultural gardens.
This RETZ SEE Village Savings and Lending (VSL) for renewable energy project initiative is clearly a pragmatic shift towards sustainable rural transformational mechanisms that ensure that the rural households are food secure and have access to alternative renewable sources of energy that protect and preserve the environment.