Heal Zimbabwe Trust’s message, “Peace begins with you, Peace begins with you, Peace begins with all of us, didn’t have any relevance in Gutu West ward 6 before a determined group of people comprising of women and youths took it personal to turn around their community.
According to a research done by Heal Zimbabwe Trust in 2012 on election violence during election time, it was noted that cases of political violence have been on the increase between May and August 2012 in Masvingo province (Gutu included) with an increase in the number of young people engaged in violence. The statistics reveal an increase of 13% to reach 55% of young people engaged in violence from a recorded 42% from the first quarter of the year 2012.
Chief Jijika, who presides over the area, had a hard time trying to contain violence that ravaged his community as case after case was dropped at his council. Many cases of violence were reported to the police and some of these cases have not yet received ruling before the courts. Such was the case of Gutu as narrated by one Mrs Muchaneta, now Chairperson of Kushinga Garden of Peace in Gutu.
The garden has brought together women partnering youths to farm vegitables,maize and other crops that they sell to nearby boarding schools such as Serima High School and Rufaro High School and Mpandawana growth point.
The garden has brought unity of purpose and peaceful co-existence for 3 villages who have built socio-economic relationship which have seen them having fundraising activities such as selling traditional beer to complement their income from the garden.The garden has acted as a source of employment to youth who now have a trade of farming .
The garden was established by Heal Zimbabwe Trust and it is meant to empower people in the community and promote peaceful co-existence in communities, strengthen women’s capacities and participation in the identification and implementation of local strategies for the prevention of politically motivated violence. These gardens have provided women with safe spaces where they can have dialogues on the prevention of violence, mitigation of its effects and actions for the post-violence phase; and facilitate their engaging with local leadership structures (traditional, religious, political, administrative, and civic) and men as vehicles for the prevention and mitigation of violence and agents for justice and reconciliation