Kufunda Village empowers women

A group of young women who recently graduated from Young Women are Medicine Retreat, a one-month leadership programme designed to make the most of the gifts and strengths of women in Zimbabwe.

The training was conducted at Kufunda Learning Village which is located in Ruwa.

Kufunda is a learning centre that is inspired by life in rural Zimbabwe. Its training programmes combine a personal journey, community engagement and sustainable livelihoods to help transform communities through service to others.

Speaking on the sidelines of the graduation ceremony, the founder and director of Kufunda, Maaianne Knuth said: “Our main focus is leadership development in a community context, and we work with the youth, community organisers and community leaders to develop their capacity and their confidence to lead various initiatives within their communities. The core is helping people become leaders in their families and their communities.”
Being part Zimbabwean and part Danish, Knuth has developed the Kufunda leadership programmes with inspiration from the Danish folk high school tradition.

The Danish folk high school is a non-formal adult education where learning is central — not only academically speaking, but perhaps more importantly learning about oneself and one’s aspirations in life; and learning about coexistence with others in community and collaboration.

Kufunda Village uses teaching methods that help people to recover their sense of pride, wisdom and capacity in working with their own knowledge and deepening their resourcefulness.
Knuth said: “We work on three dimensions: Personal; community, and the dimension of sustainability. The central one is the personal level where we teach people to believe in themselves and get rid of the poverty mentality, the personal leadership journeys where we help them discover the gifts that they can offer and ultimately connect with their dreams and find their inner resources.”

She said Kufunda works with available resources, enabling people and communities to build on the available wisdom and resources to build resilience within their communities.
“Our objective is to work in a collaborative manner to develop the capacities of individuals to lead and find ways to bring communities to work together in addressing issues and challenges.

“We help navigate the territory of many challenges facing young women today from a place of discovering and recovering the innate strength and capacity that resides in each one. This way, these young graduates will return to their communities better equipped to face those challenges from a place of calm confidence,” said the Kufunda Village founder.

Kufunda Village was established in 2002 and it runs a number of programmes including a six-month leadership for sustainable community programme, the one-month Women are Medicine Retreat, a three-day participatory leadership course, a capacity building network for preschool teachers and a primary school.
In order to promote sustainable livelihoods, the village also teaches permaculture, organic farming, health, nutrition and making good herbal remedies out of locally grown plants. Other activities at the centre include eco-building and renewable energy.


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