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Institute for Global Understanding

Macheke Sustainability Project

The Macheke Sustainability Project is a collection of social business initiatives whose focus is to eradicate poverty in the village community of Macheke, Zimbabwe. Macheke is a small farming community with about 8,300 people (est. 2006 census) that was formed during the colonial period because of its rich agricultural soils. Today there is a vital need for sustainable development in order to change this community from a state of poverty to one where it is thriving with dignity. Our holistic approach to development will aid the much-needed changes in health, agriculture, finance, education/IT, and renewable resources. The Macheke Sustainability Project is a University-wide research project and a highlight of our 2010-2011 United Nations Academic Impact Project.

Ongoing Crisis

The CIA World Factbook reports that Zimbabwe is the poorest country in the world, with a PPP (GDP per capita) of $200 (est. 2008). This ongoing economic crisis in Zimbabwe caused inflation to reach 231 million percent in July 2008 and the share of people living in poverty to increase to more than 80 percent of the population. In January 2009, a New York Times article reported a life expectancy of 37 for Zimbabwean men and 34 for Zimbabwean women – the lowest in the world.

Instruction and Training

Sustainability involves the ability for people to live a quality life without depleting the natural resources that future generations will depend on. Similarly, sustainable development is a model of resource use which enables people to meet their needs while protecting nature’s life support system. Our sustainability model will feature the use of instruction and training to preserve the balance of the natural and social capital in the Macheke life system. This is significant for the renewal of this village because we believe there exists a link between poverty reduction and how much the locals are in tune with their environment, community, and economy.

Doable Action

Our work is to identify important and doable action built on a foundation of collaborative research. We will explore theories, processes, best practices, and conditions through which individuals, groups, and organizations learn and transform in ways that support a sustainable future. Our goal is to support the community of Macheke in achieving sustainability. Our vision is to collect and analyze data that will serve as proof of our contribution towards the UN’s Millennium Development Goals for 2015.