Zimfest News Blog

Posts Tagged "giving back to Zimbabwe"

The Make It Grow Project

Make It Grow: Supporting community-based food initiatives in Zimbabwe to fundraise using participatory video proposals

[Posted on behalf of Pamela Richardson-Ngwenya and the Make it Grow project]

In an attempt to empower communities to alleviate increasing food and nutritional insecurity, especially during the pandemic, the Make It Grow Project has been running online capacity-building workshops with community groups and NGOs in Zimbabwe to equip participants with the skills needed to create their own video proposals, using smartphone technologies. These video proposals pitch home-grown ideas for community food projects and can be used by the community groups and NGOs as a fundraising tool. The intention is to increase the accessibility of start-up funds for implementing community-based, sustainable food projects, while at the same time building up local video-making and project planning skills.

We devise learning resources for community groups and facilitators, to support straightforward ways of enhancing the social inclusion, production and dissemination of video proposals. We also work with the United Nations Development Programme’s Global Environment Facility (Small Grants Programme) and other donors to support and pilot the integration of video proposals into their grant management and application process, making it more inclusive for all. Following the workshop series, we continue to support our participants and their fundraising campaigns through ongoing public events and online publication of their video proposals.

We are now asking for YOUR help! Please support our community partners in Zimbabwe to fundraise for their sustainable food projects by donating to their crowdfunding campaigns and promoting their videos on your social media networks. Make It Grow is a Knowledge Exchange project from the University of Sheffield’s Institute for Sustainable Food, supported by the UKRI’s Economic and Social Research Council. You can visit our website at www.makeitgrow.org.

You can see some of the participants’ videos here: Video Proposals :: Make It Grow

Pamela Richardson-Ngwenya
Project Leader, Knowledge Exchange Research Fellow and Learning Facilitator
Make It Grow

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Introducing Zimfest’s Virtual Marketplace

Hello Zimfest Community,

Zimfest 2021 is instituting a Virtual Marketplace featuring vendors and importers selling instruments and other goods made by Zimbabweans. There will be no fees for 2021 Virtual Vendors, as Zimfest wishes to provide a service to Zimbabwean instrument makers and craftspeople during these trying times.

Vendors of Zimbabwean goods: are you able to carry out mail order sales and shipping, and do you have a website (or reliable email) for visitors to browse and shop? The Zimfest Virtual Marketplace on our website will help to connect buyers and sellers but will have no role in the resulting transactions.

Applications are now open for vendors or importers of Zimbabwean instruments and other wares. Go to the Virtual Vendor page for more info and the link to applications. Questions? Write marketplace{at}zimfest{dot}org. 


Program information and performer/presenter applications coming soon!

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Don’t Miss Zimfest Online Events This Weekend!

Greetings all,

Zimfest weekend is almost upon us! To make up for the COVID-19 cancellation of the physical festival, we have scheduled online activities throughout the weekend. Please join us by registering (donate whatever you can afford!) through Zimfest Online for:

  • July 31 – Tanga Pasi from Zimbabwe to GermanySinini and Pamela Ngwenya present a hybrid live/taped concert. 
  •  August 1 – Mvenge Mvenge Dance Party with Zivanai Masango!
  • August 2 – Mbira lesson with Musekiwa Chingodza/Dr. Jennifer Kyker by proxy. (Companion singing lesson to follow on Aug 9.)

We have a few more Zimfest Online presentations to schedule during the month of August, and there has been a request to change the time for these presentations from 1 PM to 5 PM PST. Please let us know in the comments section below whether or not that would work for you.

We had a great Conversation/Interview with Lucky Moyo last Saturday! The recording is available for free on the Zimfest YouTube channel as well as the Overview page. Those who wish to donate can do so on Lucky’s (UK) Facebook page.  Alternatively, to support organizations like Bana BeNgwana Trust, you can donate to Kutsinhira’s Zimbabwe Community Development Program.   ZCDP supports community development, health and educational efforts in Zimbabwe like BeNgwana Trust’s building and borehole projects. 

Thank you for your support of Zimbabwean artists and development projects!


Zimfest Online


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Dr. Moyo Rainos Mutamba Interview

Announcing the initial Zimfest Online offering :

You are invited to a live multi-media interview of Dr. Moyo Rainos Mutamba by Zimfest Coordinator Claire Jones. Learn about Moyo’s ongoing project Ubuntu Learning Village, the construction of the Ubuntu Free School in the Serima area of Zimbabwe — and how you can help. The event will be on Zoom, and a link will be posted here and on the Facebook event page two hours before the event. If you are not a Facebook user, contact Dr. Mutamba at rainosm{at}gmail{dot}com for the link. Don’t worry if you cannot make it, a recording will be made for Zimfest’s homepage and Youtube channel.

Date: Sunday May 24 
2 – 3 PM Pacific time (5 – 6 EDT)
Where: Zoom
What: Zimfest Interviews Dr. Moyo Rainos Mutamba

Music Dancing Across Borders

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Support Zimbabweans: #GivingTuesdayNow

Dear Zimfest community,

#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 (in addition to the regularly scheduled Dec 1, 2020) as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

We hope that you are all faring well during the coronavirus pandemic, whether staying at home or re-emerging (safely, we hope) into public life. The situation in Zimbabwe is dire. In an economy that has come to depend on informal trading, lockdown there significantly affects peoples’ ability to earn money and procure food and supplies. The threat of COVID-19, coupled with minimal access to soap and water, puts further strain on a healthcare system struggling to deal with a high prevalence of HIV /AIDS and tuberculosis, and an emergent malaria epidemic. We encourage those of you financially able to seek ways to provide support to our Zimbabwean friends, either directly on Facebook and GoFundMe pages, or indirectly, channeling funds through non-profits working on behalf of Zimbabweans.

We ask for your support for the Zimfest Association. Be aware that ZA occurs institutional costs even in years there is no festival, so we appreciate your support whether you choose to donate outright or renew your membership.

The Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center, in addition to offering classes in Zimbabwean music and dance in Eugene OR, brings many teachers from Zimbabwe to the United States. Funds can be donated to Kutsinhira for dispersal to our Zimbabwean teachers and friends as well as to organizations operating in Zimbabwe. To make a donation through Kutsinhira, click the Donate Button at the top of the landing page at https://kutsinhira.org/

See the Links page on the Zimfest website (scroll down) for additional non-profit organization associated with Zimfest who provide direct and indirect services to Zimbabwe. These include:

  • Ancient Ways Nhimbe project: read the latest on-the-ground report from the Nhimbe team working in Mhondoro, Cosmas Magaya’s home area. Donate here.
  • Bana Bengwana Development Trust is an initiative by and for the people from Ngwana Area in rural Plumtree- Zimbabwe and beyond. Donate here.
  • Mbira.org, promoting mbira and providing support to players since 1998

This is not an exhaustive list; please add your suggestions in the comments section!

From members of the ZA Board and OC –                                     Zimfest Online activities coming soon!

Music Dancing Across Borders

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What’s New at Zimfest 2019

Zimfest organizers and participants have been quiet since registration went live on May 1. Take a look at What’s New this year and kick up the interest level! Make your plans and register now for some of the new offerings for Zimfest 2019:

  • Come learn about a different type of Zimbabwean culture: Alternative Agri-cultures in Zimbabwe. This special workshop presentation/exhibit/discussion led by musician and scholar Pamela Ngwenya is produced by Zimfest 2019 as a multi-session workshop on Saturday afternoon August 10 at discounted presentation costs (by donation); we need your registrations for either or both sessions to make it happen! Those who are motivated to give back to Zimbabwe will want to attend to learn about projects being carried out in areas impacted by Cyclone Idai and how to support them.
  • Gumboot Flash Mob – Festival Highlights Finale on Sunday, Aug 11, 4:40 – 5:00 p.m. at The Grove. Student groups from two gumboot workshops will show off what they have learned, and Lucky Moyo and Sinini Ngwenya will invite everyone at the Grove to join in with some awesome body percussion! Let’s get everyone dancing – gum boots not required! For more information, see Festival Events.
  • Some people have been confused between the skill level terms “beginner” and “novice” (introduced last year). We encourage you to look at it this way: Beginners are still the lowest skill level, ranging from those just starting out to one year of experience. We promise we’ll never change that! Novice, the next skill level beyond beginning, is the new term that replaced the old “advanced-beginner” level (which was confusing to people new to this community).

Enjoy the long weekend and remember our veterans!
Claire and the 2019 Organizing Committee

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Zimbabwean Guests and Vendor Information for Zimfest 2014

The performer and teacher application deadline was February 28, and this year we received a record number of applications from Zimbabweans. With the help of donations pledged by many of you in the Zimfest community, we will be able to host most, but regretfully not all, of the applicants at Zimfest 2014. You should know that the time period following the application deadline is an extremely busy one for the Organizing Committee, and we are hard at work finalizing invitations and acceptances and working out schedules.

We are thrilled to welcome to Zimfest for the first time (pending visa approvals): dancer Caroline Mangwiro from Bulawayo and marimba specialist Patience Musandirire, who is currently teaching in Botswana. Some of our returning Zimbabwean friends who will be attending this year (also pending visa approvals) are: Cosmas Magaya, Musekiwa Chingodza and Sheasby Matiure, all coming from Zimbabwe; Lucky Moyo, England; Nhapitapi Mbira, Toronto; Julia Chigamba and Chinyakare, Oakland; and Loveness Wesa from Portland. We hope to be able to announce more exciting news about this year’s lineup in the very near future. For further details, see the Zimfest 2014 web site.

Also, Zimfest 2014 marketplace vendor information and applications are now available. We anticipate a variety of vendors selling marimbas, mbiras, hosho, CDs, clothing, accessories and art. Crafts sold at the Marketplace should be of Zimbabwean or related African origin, and in keeping with the spirit and intent of Zimfest.

—Zimfest 2014 Organizing Committee

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Call for Help – Zimfest 2014 Zimbabwean Guest Sponsorship

Dear Zimfest Community,

We have received great news from the 2014 Zimbabwean Music Festival organizing committee! The festival has received applications to teach and perform from 26 Zimbabweans based in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe. Some of these visiting artists are first time participants at the festival, but have dozens of years of experience in Zimbabwean music and dance, both internationally and in Zimbabwe. This increased number of Zimbabwean guests presents significant cost challenges to the festival itself. We would like to host as many of these talented individuals at the festival as possible. Unfortunately, without additional assistance it is impossible for us to host all 26 applicants and have a balanced budget. Therefore, we are asking for your help in offsetting the cost of their attendance at Zimfest 2014.

Between now and March 21st, we will be accepting pledges to help support Zimbabwean teachers and performers at this year’s festival. Based on the pledge amounts that we receive between now and then, we will determine how many Zimbabweans that we can invite to the festival. If you’d like to help, please send an email to with the amount of your pledge. There will be an online mechanism for you to donate for this purpose shortly. If you’d like to donate immediately, you can do so at http://www.zimfest.org/membership/. However, please also send an email with your pledge amount so that we can ensure that the funds go to the right place.

This year’s festival will be July 24-27 at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Below are the costs associated with Zimbabwean teacher / performer attendance at the festival:

  • Full festival room and board – $300
  • Full festival room and board + travel – $575

We are hoping to raise enough funds to cover all expenses for as many of the Zimbabweans as possible. Please kindly donate at whatever level you feel comfortable, and feel free to pass this letter to your friends, colleagues, and other community members. All donations to Zimfest Association are tax-deductible.

We look forward to seeing you, and all the Zimbabwean guests who have applied to come to the festival, at Zimfest in July.

The Zimfest Board

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Zimfest Annual Campaign and Membership Drive

Dear Zimfest Association Friends and Members:

We hope that you are all doing well and are planning to join us for another amazing Zimfest next year at the University of Puget Sound from July 24 through July 27th. The organizing committee is already hard at work with detailed planning for the festival. In parallel, the Zimfest Association Board has been busy creating a stronger and more sustainable organization. We encourage you to review what we’ve been up to on the Zimfest blog which can be found at https://zimfest.wordpress.com.

Call to Action!

We are writing at this time to solicit your help. No organization can survive without financial support, and the Zimfest Association is no different. While the annual festivals provide some income to the Association, these funds are unpredictable and are insufficient to sustain and grow the Association. For example, in 2013 the festival made less than $1500 in profits, which greatly limited the funds available to pay our Zimfest coordinator, pay our festival musicians and make charitable donations to other organizations which support Zimbabwe. For this reason, we have instituted an aggressive strategy aimed at raising money via other means. With this letter, we are inaugurating our first Annual Campaign and Membership Drive.

Become a Member of the Zimfest Association

This year, we have changed the way that membership to the Zimfest Association is handled. Beginning January 1st, the term of membership will run for a full calendar year until December 31st. Our goal is to have all recurring Zimfest participants be current members of the organization. The minimal fee of $25 will allow a Regular member to attend the festival without paying a registration fee of $12. Members may choose to have their names published on the website and in the Festival Guide. It is our hope that a healthy dialogue about the festival and association can emerge from a membership that feels a sense of ownership in the Zimfest Association.

Provide Charitable Donations to the Zimfest Association

While fees from membership are a great start, if we hope to be an organization that will continue to put on festivals for years to come, it will take more money than membership fees alone can raise. For this reason, we are also soliciting tax-deductible donations to the Zimfest Association. While we would ideally like to see each member who is able to renew their membership also make a donation, we realize that our fund-raising efforts often go no farther than the same group of generous donors. Therefore, we are asking each of you to refer a friend or acquaintance to our donations page. Is there someone in your circle of friends or extended family who is familiar with Zimfest, has enjoyed performances by our Zimbabwean guests, or has seen how enriching your involvement in the music has been? If so, ask that person to make a donation to help support Zimbabwean musicians and assist Zimfest on its path towards a sustainable infrastructure.

We hope that you will seriously consider becoming a member of the Zimfest Association for the 2014 calendar year, as well as making or enabling a charitable contribution. If each Zimfest member can find a willing donor we will be well on our way towards sustainability! Your contributions are tax-deductible either in the 2013 or 2014 tax year, depending on when you make your payment. Please visit our Membership and Donation page on our website at http://zimfest.org/membership for instructions on how to make a contribution.

Thanks for all that you do to make Zimfest a success. Happy Holidays…

—The Zimfest Association Board

P.S. Zimfest Association Donations to Charities

This year, Zimfest is pleased to announce our support for five non-profit organizations working in Zimbabwe. The Savannah Arts Center, based in the neighborhood of Mbare, on Harare’s southern edge, will receive a donation of $500. Savannah Arts Center has a past history of participating in Zimfest, and sent a small group of musicians to perform at our festival in 2000. The other four projects and organizations will receive grants of $250 each. These are MBIRA, Tariro, the Jangano Club for teaching mbira in schools, administered through Ancient Ways, and the Chinhoyi High School Project, administered through Kutsinhira’s Zimbabwe Community Development Project.

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Zimfest Funding Requests Due December 5

Dear members of the Zimfest community,

On behalf of the Zimfest Association board, I would like to communicate with you briefly about our commitment to making charitable donations to other non-profit organizations.

Our history of giving

In the past, the Zimfest Association has frequently disbursed amounts of up to $8,000 in festival proceeds, split between several worthy charitable causes. These organizations have included MBIRA, Ancient Ways, Tariro, Patience Chaitezvi’s Chinhoyi High School Project, the Dispatch Foundation, and the Portland-Mutare Sister City organization.

Our unique current circumstances

As the festival continues to evolve, each year brings both new promises and new challenges. This year, the Zimfest Association has committed to putting more of the festival’s proceeds toward ensuring our long-term stability and sustainability. This effort has taken several forms, including the hiring of a new part-time festival coordinator, as well as small payments for evening performers. Combined with last year’s festival, which did not result in a large profit, this decision has meant that the Zimfest Association has significantly less money to contribute to other non-profit causes this year.

Reaffirming the principle of giving – a call for proposals

At our recent board meeting, the Zimfest board made the unanimous decision to continue making charitable contributions this year, reaffirming our commitment to the principle of giving back to Zimbabwean communities through development efforts. However, we wish to advise applicants that available funds are very small this year. As a result, we may offer funding to a single organization alone, or give much smaller amounts to a number of applicants.

Applicants who wish to be considered for charitable donations must submit a formal proposal by December 5th for consideration at our next board meeting. This applies equally to all organizations, regardless of prior history as a Zimfest Association grantee.

For further information, please feel free to email me:
jennifer [at] zimfest {dot} org

Jennifer Kyker

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