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Impact Hub Harare, in partnership with the Presencing Institute, facilitated a 6 month project with an intensive 8 week ‘Communities for Change (C4C)’ workshop designed by MIT’s Presensing Institute (PI) using Theory U. This program aimed to educate and mobilize stakeholders and the general public in an action oriented innovation process to bring about social change in the community, with a focus on the environmental sector. Collectively the members of this program had to formulate and identify strategic ways of addressing and ensuring sustainable, affordable, and clean energy in Zimbabwe. The C4C program offers citizens the opportunity to go through the Theory U course, where they reflect on self, challenges facing society, and how a collective approach can bring about social change.
IMPACT HUB HARARE’S JOURNEY FROM WEEK 3- 5
Over the last three weeks the C4C participants embarked on their personal journey of ‘co-sensing’ (developing empathy skills, being aware of what is around you), ‘presencing’ (understanding yourself and your true values) and ‘crystallizing’ (using your skills to create action). Through these phases the change makers had the opportunity to connect to the community, and practice their listening and conversation skills. The participants took an enriching field trip to Berachah Vocational Training Centre, located on a farm in the rural areas of Guruve, and owned by Mr and Mrs Muzvondiwa, whom are local pastors in the Guruve community. Whilst in Guruve the participants explored the locals’ perspectives and experiences of green energy.
The solar powered farm had a range of green energy activities from water harvesting and the production of biogas, to a solar powered drying cardboard created from recycled cans. It was such an educational and inspiring moment to see Mr Muzvondiwa and his team demonstrate the use of simple tools that are more accessible and affordable than more commonly used advanced apparatus. Pastor Muzvondiwa and his team are trying to empower their community by offering free courses to locals, such as practical workshops on how to install solar panels, creating food dryers from recycled materials, and how to harvest water. They also provide solar power for the main clinic and police station. One of the main challenges noted was that the local communities resisted green energy products due to a “fear of the unknown” and a lack of understanding.
The following week (week 4) participants jumped right into the ‘presencing’ phase, where they sought to understand themselves and their true values. This was a challenging session as they had to consider their bad habits or thought processes and how to let them go, in order to grow and reach their desired future.
Armed with the field trip experience and the knowledge and tools gained from the previous weeks’ workshops, the participants entered the ‘crystallization’ phase in week 5. Drawing from the interviews with community members in Guruve, participants identified a need for educational activities on the benefits of green energy for citizens in lower density areas. Participants then started conceptualizing their prototype,guided by a series of questions such as:
- What need is the prototype meeting?
- Who are the target market based on your experiences?
- Who are the stakeholders and what are their roles?
- What resources are needed?
Energy levels were high as the participants began presenting their prototype ideas. Most of the proposed prototypes focused on finding ways to educate people on the importance of green energy, such as biogas structures, online information platforms, and water recycling systems. The session closed off with reflection to see where improvements could be made. Finally, the now informed and inspired group challenged each other to seek more innovation and creativity in the following week.
Overall the C4C process has been an enlightening process, encouraging individuals who wish to bring change to begin with changing themselves. It has also been beautiful seeing people from different walks of life coming together to try and bring change in Zimbabwe particularly to disadvantaged communities through green energy initiatives.