Hwange Skills Hub

A collaboration between 7 government agencies, 6 Community Organisations and 5 schools to develop a local skills development centre
Zimbabwe - Hwange
Key Points
  • Despite being a stone throw away from one of the most prominent tourist areas, the communities in the 53km Dete ara community remain subdued in abject poverty.

  • The presence of wildlife compounded by harsh drought conditions makes sustaining a subsistence lifestyle difficult.

  • Employment by tourism entities within Hwange National Park largely favours higher skilled individuals from cities and towns further afield.

  • In Dete, on average a family of 8 are dependent on a meagre $200 per month. Not enough to sustain a family.

  • This results in a growing dependence on non-sustainable survival practices by the surrounding communities, like poaching.

  • The Hwange Skills Hub aims to serve as a community centre, and provide skills development and entrepreneurial opportunities for local populations.

Dete is an area 53km away from Hwange, a town in the Matebeleland North province. The small town is mostly disadvantaged and dilapidated and has three residential areas that resemble such with a portion of the small town having mud houses with no electricity and little running water. ABCF has over the years contributed significantly to its operational areas in Dete with community infrastructural projects, some of these include a teacher’s cottage at Mambanje Primary School, classroom renovations at Umtshibi Camp Pre-school and establishment of play centres.

The situation in Dete is a unique one in that despite being a stone throw away from one of the most prominent tourist areas it is still subdued in abject poverty and its residential people continue to lead a rural life in a modern set up. The idea of this project is to equip the people of Dete with technical skills by availing a community projects centre for them. The acquired technical skills developed at this “Skills Hub” will then improve opportunities of income generation consequently lessening poverty levels within the community. African Bush Camps Foundation through this interface will be able to curb one of the strongest threats to their conservation efforts; poaching. This project will not discriminate against marginalised groups and will cater for the needs of the youth and the disadvantaged women. It is expected that the project will significantly improve the lives of the people in Dete particularly the youth and the average adult males who often end up incarcerated for illegal activities like poaching or who are forced to migrate to neighbouring countries, virtually abandoning their families in search of income opportunities.

When the project becomes self-sustaining, the people of Dete should be in a position to have equal chances of employment as those in cities like Bulawayo and towns like Hwange and Vic Falls, as these often hold an advantage over the locals as a result of their exposure to skills development opportunities. The Dete community should be in a position to be adequately skilled or equipped for employment opportunities that can significantly contribute to their livelihoods and in a sustainable manner. Furthermore, the general buzz currently is on free enterprise and the Hwange Skills Hub will be a breeding space for entrepreneurs. This will subsequently groom further individuals to understand the components that go into their craft, thus leading to the drive to want to improve and expand one’s skill set and influence in their particular field.

The highest wage for a low skilled individual in Zimbabwe is $313 as pulished by tradingeconomics.com and in places like Dete this is most likely double the actual wage for a low skilled individual. The current economic state in Matabele North is that there is a dependency ratio of 1:8, this means that an average of 8 people are dependent on 1 person for financial related needs. Given the structure in Dete such statistics reflect that on average a family of 8 are dependent on a meagre $200 per month which is not enough to sustain the family. Consequently this gives rise to cases such as migration and poaching which ultimately results in broken families and exacerbated poverty rates, it is a vicious cycle.

The Hwange Skills Hub offers an opportunity for the African Bush Camps Foundation to spread its interface in Dete. It is a collaborative effort, with selected other local NGO’s, conservation and development organisations. The primary support needed to have a profound impact is capital and infrastructure. Our ability to see an infrastructure project through with the community’s involvement in previous cases is evident, we have the relationships and ability to expedite development in a way that involves a variety of local organisations and the community community leaders consequently cementing the community’s investment in their own development and empowerment.

Gender Group to benefit.
The aim is to have an equal representation of both genders within the DCPC. However, given the patriarchal nature of the culture in Dete the plausible and most realistic gender group that is most likely to benefit is the majority of males-60%. Dete is predominantly an area of the Nambyan people and they are a people with pride and who subscribe to the patriarchal components of their culture even in present day time.  Anhukaji (women in Nambya) are often relegated to household chores and taking care of the children and from a tender age are taught to be submissive and docile and not challenge their male counterparts at any given time. As a result, finding a loophole within the culture to promote equal opportunities for anhukaji (women) to enrol in the training centre will not be without its challenges. However, the nature of the current socioeconomic trends affecting the average male in Dete which is facing jail time or death over poaching will ensure that the impact of our project still has the intended ripple effects regardless of the gender disparities.

Age group to benefit.
The aim of the Community Projects Centre is to be a technical skills hub for the Dete community in a manner that caters for those that directly feel the pinch of an obscure economy. The majority age groups that will be catered for by this project will be Young adult (19-25) and Adults (26-64). However, all the other age groups are most likely to benefit from the project in an indirect manner at some point as the project progresses.

Project Goal
A self-reliant community with critical skills for service provision, industrial growth and is income secure, living in a well-managed environment.

Number of ‘other’ individuals or organisations participating in this project:
(ie partners, funders, in-kind support, planning and implementation).


45 Government agencies, departments inc Local Government. 7


5 Community organizations: 6

Impact results for this project are aimed to include:

  1. Increased sustainability and community resilience through poverty alleviation
  2. Reduction in poaching and related deaths and migration by young adults and fathers
  3. Increased local service delivery and stimulation of a local economy, focusing on holistic land management and sustainable business practices

Dete is an area 53km away from Hwange, a town in the Matebeleland North province.


Zimbabwe - Hwange
Having begun building relationships here since 2006, our programmes are the most established in the areas in and...
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