The role of women in reducing absolute poverty in rural Zimbabwe: A case study of Bindura district (2008 to 2011)
Karambakuwa, Roseline T
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The study sought to assess the role of women in reducing absolute poverty in rural Zimbabwe. Specific objectives were to analyze the nature and characteristics of men and women participating in rural development, to compare production levels under male and female headed households as well as to analyze the role of women in decision making. The Descriptive survey method was used on a population of 300 smallholder households. A sample of 52 households was randomly selected. The data collection instrument was a Formal Household Questionnaire Survey administered through personal interviews. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Scientist (SPSS). The research found that most of the women were illiterate, their households were large and some were elderly people and their major source of income comes from agricultural activities and informal sector activities and from casual labour. Some of the women got training on crop production from AREX, and training on entrepreneurship through NGOs that were implementing developmental projects in the area. The production levels by the women were low in terms of yield per hectare and area planted. Major products were maize, groundnuts, vegetables, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Very few women are into agro-processing, major processing was on drying vegetables, sweet potatoes and peanut butter making and most of the processing machines were old. Major challenges for the women include large family size due to the effect of HIV/AIDS, high dependency load, lack of innovative, lack of appropriate training,, financial support, land ownership, low produce and climatic change. The research recommended strong capacity building on the women to instill a commercial orientation that is motivational to move them from a subsistence mentality to a commercial focus through increased production, and for further assistance from both government, NGOs and private sectors, to ensure sustainable development.