Kufunda Village

A learning village learning our way into healthy and vibrant communities of the future


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Leadership for Sustainable Communities

Reflections from two Youth Leadership Programmes in 2013

In April we completed a Youth Leadership Programme that offered us the insight to perform a more stringent selection process for future programmes.

climb youthThe Youth Leadership programme followed a similar structure and curricula as our previous programme. The participants however seemed to experience more difficulties to go deep.

This helped us clarify that our key intention with this programme is to support young people to discover their passion and life work and to develop the courage and the freedom to choose who they want to be. This requires people who are willing to work with getting to know themselves. The other aspects of learning about community building and the practical skills required for sustainable community flow from there.

Kufunda’s mission is much broader and encompassing than those practical elements. Real change requires change in individuals. People waking up to who they are and who they can become.

For the second programme of the year, we focused much more on ensuring that we were selecting the right people. Young people who were willing to go on an inner journey as well as an outer one. They had to fill an application form, and were then invited for a four day Art of Hosting Training. This training served as a selection platform. This process enabled us to choose sixteen participants in a very conscious way.

The programme is just coming to an end, and it has been a rich and fruitful journey – for them as well as for us as a village.

The second big change from previous programmes, was to integrate them fully into the village. They joined our planning sessions, our weekly meetings, and our learning sessions to have a first-hand experience of how community life can be organized. They in turn brought their ideas and energy to the issues and projects at hand. So in addition to being in leadership sessions, and apprentices to the practical skills of Kufunda, they were also real contributors to the life and work of the village.

We look forward to welcoming a new cohort in 2014.

community work


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MY JOURNEY BEGAN

With no idea of where I’m going
In the dust and tarred road
passed many  towns
until  I reached  the city of lights

Leaving   behind  the view  of Harare
Moving into the outskirts
Along   Twentydales  road
By road, I was  taken to kufunda

My life  at a new place began
It   began  with a warm  night
In the dark I was able to see
Welcoming  smiling faces at kufunda

As the following morning  arrived
A group of young people gathered
Inside a big house of council
The Dare as it called

Siting in a circle
We paced the talking piece
Within minutes  we know each other
And  present  to the circle during the same time
From the roots  to the leaves
The trees of  life was planted
Getting  to know each ourselves  and to know each other better

Who am I, where  do I come from
Who do I want to be ?
Personal  leadership was  used  as  a weapon
Answering and streangthening  everything.

BY  IGNATIUS   SANGOYA…………………………Image


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Thank you! From the Youth

youth climb Thank you from all walks of life
our friends of our hearts
with gratitude we receive you
and with our magnitude we embrace you
we thank you for making kufunda a success

like a tree we stand
like nature we are balanced
from the roots to the leaf
you are the stem and we are the fruits
we are family
we thank you for making kufunda a success

like bees we unite
our enemies we fight
we are the hive
we are the workers
we are the drones
and you are the queen
together lets make our sweet honey, Kufunda.
we thank you for making kufunda a success

We are warriors with weapons
to build and not to destroy
like birds we fly
as we spread our wings to the world
you inspire, we admire
our vision we explore
like kids we play
and the world we transform
we thank you for making kufunda a success

we have vision
we have gifts
we have power
we have passion
with your hand you are our stepping stone
for to give is to receive
we love you our beloved friends
we are always together in spirit
we thank you for making kufunda a success.
by Carlington Zinyau.

ariadne


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Engaging the Community through Appreciate Inquiry

By Francis Zinyama, Youth Programme Participant

Recently a practical assessment was undertaken by all the youths at Kufunda in a nearby community in a bid to identify the resources available, talents, skills as well as the visions of people. Youths engaged with teenagers, young adults, the old aged and a few leaders of the community.

Questions were asked openly, in a positive way that made both the interviewer and interviewee enjoy the conversation. Some of the questions asked were as follows:

  1. What are the talents & skills that you have in your community and when was a time you were proud of yourselves, what had happened?
  2. May you share with us your visions of your society say in 10 years time and were do   you see yourselves, what are the available resources you have and how can we work together to build your dreams using the resources available?

We learned a lot, though at some point we faced challenges from other members since  some thought we were donors and others thought we had something to do with politics in Zimbabwe.

Having shared with us the outcome was that they wished to renovate the road to allow transportation of their crops to the city freely. A foot-bridge to be constructed at Hunyani river between their homestead and the schooling center in Chitungwiza, since when there is heavy rainfall student spend 2 weeks being absent from school due to flooding. Most hoped to have an irrigation scheme since marketers as far as Manicaland come to buy tomatoes from them. For most of what they wish to do they have all the resources – it’s just a matter of man-power – which is what we are hoping to help them mobilize as we all come together for three days to work together to make some of these dreams and ideas a reality.

Despite the challenges we managed to make a fruitful harvest, which we are going to work with them the whole of next week. The whole idea was to encourage them to work with what is already available.


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Serving for Deforestation Corruption

By Tatenda Chinopfumbukah, Youth Programme Participant

They always told me, the ministers of
Agriculture, the commissioner of land,
the commanders of nature,
Even the environment management authority
Used to say the importance of trees

I did not listen
So my predicament cannot lessen
Now, could not hear
Now, could not bear

Filled with gloom with pain
I sit in a shadow of chain
I hear the echoes
As they bellow out the ethos
It’s all coming back to me
But the dungeon surrounds me

I suffer heart break and pain
Wish I will amend my ways past
To relive for better
Memories bellow out instruction
So simple it is
So worthwhile it is

I neglected instruction
For the love of fast life
Quick money and celeb life
Eminence I revered
No matter what demand
It’s what send me into remand

Detained for deforestation corruption
I am serving for my term
This cost much, my carrier time
My love for money, dumped me
Into era of predicament


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The Youth Initiated Youth Club

irvine 2

My name is Irvine Muzuva aged eighteen and I am one of the youth who have attended the Kufunda Youth Program this year from April to July. At the beginning I did not know the real purpose why I was in the program. 

I still remember sitting in a circle under a big thatched roof while feeling connected to the earth on the floor in the Dare (place of council). That was when I when I was Introduced to a lesson of knowing who am I , who really am I. It led me to the questions: Who am I, what are my skills and how can I be leader to myself? That was not all. 

Community development, project management and sustainable living were involved in the program. Through being among a group of young people and changing conversations I became someone who desires for change in my life, my community and my world at large. So because of that I stayed behind at Kufunda to learn, to try some things out to see if I am that someone else. After the youth programme I started a Kufunda Youth Club for youth from the area. I am so passionate about it because it is one of the fruits I harvested from the youth program. I really love it and I am committed to it because it means something to me in my learning journey . The idea of having this youth club came to me when we did the proaction café, a really powerful way of hosting conversations and raising active ideas. Other youth have helped me to nourish the idea and came with a deeper purpose, which is to help other youths in the community have a positive thinking of that we can do something and bring change into our community by doing things using our skills and talents. I believe that because of this youth club, most of the youth will start to see the light and to believe in themselves that there is this thing called hope. 

The community I am working with now is a neighboring community near Kufunda. During the program we did an appreciative inquiry with it and it has a challenging background. Some of the youth did not manage to finish school and some are orphans. I feel like they will be revived and have new thoughts about their community and their lives through this youth club. We have planned to do sustainable projects by using the available resources and doing some educative activities like learning how to use computers, using the Kufunda library, indoor and outdoor game. These will keep us together entertained and walking towards one dream. This is made possible by all of the Kufundees and Stephen who sometimes meet with the youth when I am not there. This has taken me to another level in my learning and leadership.


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Gifts of the Youth Programme

Who would have thought they would leave so many gifts?                            

by Marianne Knuth
IMG_3827

They came, they saw, the learned. As did we.

The biggest mark they have left is the invigoration of the learning space at Kufunda. Together we entered questions such as “what is a healthy community? And how do we nourish it?”; “What are the gifts of our communities?” . This which began practically with an appreciative inquiry of a neighbouring community that has been struggling with social challenges for years, discovering in the process the wisdom and beauty just below the surface. Our lesson: If we stop and listen, focusing on beauty and wisdom we will find it, and be surprised in the process.

Out of it has come a commitment to host a monthly community learning gathering at Kufunda for all nearby communities, where we stay with the questions of what good seeds are growing in our midst and how we might support each other in nurturing them.

Conversations during the programme around local economy have led to bigger consciousness of what comes through our learning centre and from where – and how might we minimise the outside purchased products, and make and grow more as a village, and as a broader community.

Out of it has come smaller weekly learning sessions at Kufunda practicing together the art of making natural soap, body lotion (that you could eat literally!), natural dishwashing liquid and much more. Things good for nature and good for the community – in so far as many hours of fun and laughter have accompanied their making.

We are launching a crowdfunding campaign for the next Kufunda Youth Programme which will begin October 15. We hope that you will join us in making it happen. Pass it on to your friends, and friends of friends. This is work that is needed for the future. It is clear to us how important it is, and how much it is affecting not only the youth but us and others who are connecting to it. It is helping us ask bigger, deeper, more significant questions of ourselves, and our communities, and to act on those questions. We have written a report of their time with us that you can access if you would like to read more, and a reflection on the journey that awaits them as they return to their communities.


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Lights in the darkness

Last night we closed our youth programme. After three months and two days at Kufunda their journey will be taking them back home to their communities. 21 beautiful young people from across Zimbabwe (Central, South and East). Last night I saw their tears, and felt their tremors, their sadness and their fear at returning home. Their love for each other and the time they have spent together.

Irvine reflecting during a conversation on his Youth Club

I have felt over the last weeks how lights have been turning in on in each one of them, how they have come to know and see and believe in themselves. It is as yet a fragile flame. It is only a beginning. Many of them have come from living as orphans, struggling young people in challenging circumstances. They have joined with others here, where they have been asked to tell their story, and their mind, and their heart. They have been guided to connect to their deeper passion and impulse, whilst working side by side with others, dancing, singing, learning in community, about community and sustainability – about working with what we have, together.

Have we taught them enough? Have we ignited the spark of self and of love of learning for them to be okay to journey on alone? For them to know how to begin the work of building a community of fellow learners around them?

Only time will tell. I must believe both yes and no. Both yes and no. I was stunned last night to only fully comprehend how enormous this is for many of them, for most of them. How I still hold a romanticized version of the rural communities. Of there still being community out there. I am sure there is, and yet so many of them spoke of alone they had felt before coming here, and of their fierce appreciation for the friendships they had made here.They spoke of a desire to go back and begin their work, and of their fear of being alone again. They spoke of how few people these days seem to want to work towards community, connection and learning to live in harmony with nature.

Just a few months ago, some might have said the same of these young folk. And so perhaps many are out there, isolated, disconnected, not yet even conscious that there can be another way, or that our world today is slowly but surely eroding our strong bonds of community.

Winnet, who wishes to work with the orphans and vulnerable children in her community

As this programme has come to an end I have been reading Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein. In it I have become increasingly clear how our monetary system is inherently flawed, and is influencing every single one of us across the planet. With it we will continue to commoditize our commons – our nature, our community, our culture, our social connections. In the relentless search for growth everything needs to be turned into money. And so it is – I see now even more clearly – that it is becoming harder and harder for someone to return to their community with the intention to work with the orphans and vulnerable children (25% of Zimbabwean children are orphaned, 37% are vulnerable, source: UNDP). Because how can they afford to? Rather have them cut down trees and burn bricks for sale, or create a chicken project, or a bead project, or some small income generating project – which actually is not that essential in the rural communities, that are still quite self-sufficient – although with the monetisation of everything, this is also disappearing. To be pragmatic the youth must go back and find the projects that can pay – because in this they will find money and thus a ‘living’. But the children without parents, the reforestation projects, the community learning centres – these are not practical, these are not easily monetisable and so they cannot easily be done. Can’t the community pay for it, you might ask. Yes, but when it is between someone else’s child and sending my own to school – what will the choice be?

So as this programme ends, I feel a little fear as they go back with wonderful intentions, important questions, and good ideas for things they can do to begin to build a stronger community that comes together beyond the domain of money, that comes together to discover what it cares most deeply about and begins to work together for that. And I know that money can and will get in the way.

At Kufunda we will continue to learn our way into what a more full gift economy can look like. It will include growing more of our own food. Let us grow almost all of our own food, even if it means spending more time growing. It will include doing more things for each other, sharing the things we have that we don’t need, both in the village and in the community around us – I think it will include some of what Ria Baeck and Helen Titchen Beeth writes about learning the deeper practice of collective presencing. It seems that we are in a place where we can truly begin to practice some of what the future is calling for. Infinite growth in a finite material world is not possible, and so the time will come when we will either redefine our monetary system which is driving this growth (with its debt based money) or it will collapse. The time will come when we need to come back to what we know of community, of working together, of learning and creating the things that we truly need – health for ourselves, our communities and our children, laughter and joy from our playful exploration, our creation of music and dance and theatre and art… and I realise that we have it all already. It is all already here.

And so I sit this morning as Winnet and Listen, and Evans and Kudzi, and the others are travelling back home, looking at the challenge they will face, of going ahead with the work with the children despite there not being money for it, or the work of the reforestation or the building of the community centre.

I hope the flame that is burning in them will be strong enough to keep alight. I commit myself to support them, to be with them as together we figure out what it means to do that which is needed – and longed for – in a world which by our flawed design is asking us rather to sell our soul and our time, than to heed our soul and bring our most treasured gifts.


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Reflections from Youth & Learning – one month in

By Sikhethiwe Mlotsha

A month has passed. There is a lot I can witness from the group since the beginning. The focus for the first month was on personal leadership and introduction to all sustainable projects that  Kufunda is doing. The intention for the first month was to know each other better, working together as a family, building each ones confidence, listening to our inner wisdom  and potential, and to help sharpening each ones leadership.

In our country, there is less and less opportunities that are being created for the coming generation, This has had a great  effect to them, as well, having gone through challenges and hardships  during their childhood, and at an early age having to face the harsh realities of life. There has been a lot of negative experience and less energy  for positive possibilities in their becoming.

Kufunda has brought a different approach to  their lives and what they thought of as challenges and helped them to understand life from a different angle.

The world is designed in a way that we all follow what  was created by someone and  we all think that things should be in  a certain way. All this doesn’t give room for the new to arise and we all  become stuck when things are falling apart.  But, at Kufunda, the youth had time to explore their inner wisdom, learn to listen to  their inner voices, looking at their strengths and finding ways of bringing that out. They had time to share and being listened to with love and care. They had time to explore and learn different projects that are happening at Kufunda that are to do with sustainability. They had time to explore their questions about their being and becoming and get help from others. They had time to understand some of their intelligences that they were not aware of. They had time to learn how to engage with each other in a meaningful way.

To them all this has brought a shift in their mindset.  There has been much shift in terms of looking at each other, as they have something to share in life as well that we as humans we have so much  in us to share, its only that we cannot see it, but if we give ourselves time to listen to our inner wisdom and if we trust ourselves and have confidence, we can bring change to our lives and we can be the away we want to be. Its only that we are used to the way the world teaches us and therefore do not listen to our inner voices.

What follows are reflections by some of the young people participating in the programme.

Irvine Muzuva

Being invited by Kufunda unexpectedly opened so many doors in my life. I have joined the group of new people from different places, with different backgrounds. I started by knowing myself when I was introduced to the Tree of Life. It was hard at first, but I realised that we are all the same, and alike to each other. After the Tree of Life I discovered the power of the circle and its principles.

Since I need to do things with my hands, practicals were introduced. Permaculture, putting rights things at the right places and maintaining the sustainability of the surrounding wisely. We also learnt how to construct compost toilets and how to grow and use herbs.

But all these things are not enough. The most important thing was about discovering the real me. I have things I did not know I have – different intelligences. I am linguistic smart and visual smart.

I have been given the chance to speak out the very personal question which was troubling me. There I found answers. A flowgame and Aikido – a daily practice with a lot of revelatory wisdoms. It left me with a lot of gifts. I am finding my centre and my ground.

I have a long way to go, but I am feeling near. I am starting to have visions and dreams of my destiny. I can hear the music from far away. Now I am to learn more and to become more. I discover that I am young, bold, dynamic. Being driven by the desire of change in my life and my community.

Knowledge, collectively leadership, personal leadership, and sustainability is power.

 

By Henry Munyamana

Being at Kufunda Village for the first time was so vital for me, since it shed a light in my life. At this particular place I have come to discover myself; that is who I am and to discover my strengths and weaknesses. I have got some valuable learnings at Kufunda. It is the intention of this essay to unravel my experience at Kufunda.

To begin with, at Kufunda Village I came to know who I am. Through the lessons of the Tree of Life, I compared my life with that of a tree. Some of the trees encounter some problems, for example, they can be disturbed by others, or be cut off by human beings. This motivates me, that I must walk through all these problems, knowing that I have got a unique destiny. By tracing my origins it has given me answers to my burning question — “Why am I like this today?”

Aikido and the Flow Game are some of the practices which have also made me know more about myself. Through Aikido, I discovered my weaknesses. At times I used to run away from some situations instead of facing them. This practice has taught me that I must ensure that there is balance between the energy you put out and what you take in – breathing in, breathing out – to maintain my centre. In real life situations, at times we tend to focus much more on the outside, and we end up losing focus of our centre. The flowgame also gave answers to my questions about myself. This practice opened up a discussion whereby I could get help from others.

Many of the lessons and the practices here were surprising to me. I was surprised with the practice such as the use of circle, world cafe and open space. The use of circle and some of its principles ensures that everyone within the circle is equal and with the use of the talking piece, everyone is given a chance to talk. With the practice of the world cafe, it allows everyone to listen and to contribute in a smaller group, and to accept different ideas. Open Space gave everyone a chance to show and use his or her own talent. These practices surprised me in my time here at Kufunda.

Most of the lessons were valuable to me, but the most was about permaculture. The core principle of permaculture is to put things in the right place. Permaculture deals with systems, and a system is interconnectedness of various components to maintain the whole. So permaculture is important to me, since it can be applied to different systems, not only agriculture, but also family and society.

In a nutshell, since I arrived here at Kufunda I had a good time here, and what I have learnt shed a light for me to know myself. My hope and prayer is to be given more knowledge and go back to share with others in my community.