The Muonde Trust is a network of people working together over the years to contribute to change through deepening community understanding.

Here you will find details on some of those involved:


Mr. Abraham Mawere Ndhlovu, Executive Director of the Muonde Trust: hails from Mudhomori Village in Mazvihwa. His education was interrupted during the liberation war in the 1970s when he joined the guerrillas as an auxiliary; after independence he did his secondary schooling locally at Gwen’ombe Langwani and joined the research team in 1986. He has interspersed a life time of field research in Mazvihwa with teaching, working with ENDA’s participatory agronomy program, serving as the area’s elected Ward Councilor, and field studies in other areas of Zimbabwe. In 2012 he spent four months at the University of California Berkeley as a Visiting Organic Intellectual, with sponsorship from the Canadian IDRC.

Dr. B.B. Mukamuri: was raised in Mhototi in Mazvihwa where his father was a headmaster and his mother ran a local store. Educated at Dadaya and the University of Zimbabwe he joined the research team in 1985 and then worked with the indigenous woodland management program under ENDA; subsequently completing his doctorate at Tampere University Finland. His research has been centered around socio-ecology and governance issues in Mazvihwa and around the country. He currently serves as Chair of the Centre for Applied Social Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe. He has no formal role in Muonde Trust but he and his family have provided crucial support for the process and he remains an advisor.

Dr. K.B. Wilson: was born in Malawi and raised there and in England before coming to Zimbabwe at independence in 1980 as a school teacher at Dadaya, when he had many students from Mazvihwa and first began to visit. Attached to the University of Zimbabwe in the mid-1980s his doctoral research at the University of London was based on field work in Mazvihwa and combined with community development efforts. He abandoned an academic career at the University of Oxford in 1993 to work for the Ford Foundation in Mozambique, and since 2002 has run The Christensen Fund, a San Francisco-based foundation working with indigenous peoples globally to sustain biocultural diversity. He serves as a Board Member of the Muonde Trust and raises funds and provides other logistical support to the Trust in a voluntary capacity through the Friends of Muonde/Earth Island Institute in California. He continues his thirty years of unfunded efforts to undertake writing and analysis for Muonde in partnership with the local action-researchers.

Board Members of Muonde Trust

Mr. Takura Moyo, Board Chair, is a long-time innovator in Mazvihwa who developed orchards and water harvesting in the late 1990s. He is also a carpenter and mobilizer of youth. His interest in the Trust is participatory environmental conservation.

Ms. Bennoniah Mafusire, Secretary, is a young primary school teacher from Mazvihwa. Her particular interests with the Board are enabling Muonde Trust to expand to neighboring areas and the educational assistance programs for adults who failed to complete their secondary schooling.

Ms. Modester Chirashi, Treasurer, is a women’s leader, farmer and gardener in Mazvihwa. She has a water catchment pond at her home and as a Board member wants everyone to have that opportunity.

Ms. Kudzai Gudo is a well-known farmer and gardener in Mazvihwa. She joined the Board on the grounds that she treasures the water harvesting techniques being promoted by Muonde Trust.

Mr. Nenero Marozve is the traditional leader of the Mhototi Ward of Mazvihwa. He is known as a progressive man ever-interested in sustainable development in the area in a way that is in tune with respect for the ancestors and the local environment.

Ms. Revai Mugiya is a mother of eleven and a long-time participant in the action-research process in Mazvihwa. Her interests with Muonde are in agriculture and its contribution to development in Mazvihwa. She is also a well-known dancer.

Ms. Cheneso Ndhlovu is a well-known as a strong farmer in Mazvihwa and at her resettlement land in Chiredzi, as well as a builder and innovator in income generation. Her interest in Muonde Trust is the demonstrated inclusion of women in the development of Mazvihwa.

Staff in Mazvihwa, Present & Past

Current Staff (2015)

The Executive Director is Abraham Mawere Ndhlovu (for Bio see Founders above). Other key staff include:

Alice Ndlovu Mutanda, Director of Operations and Administration, was born and bred in Mazvihwa. She is married to Tinashe Mutanda. Alice has Honours and Masters Degree in Development Studies from Midlands State University. In addition she holds a certificate in “working with communities affected by poverty displacement and HIV and AIDS” from the University of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa. Alice has been working in Mazvihwa and across Zvishavane District for the past 7 years. For six years she worked at Bethany Project as a Programme Officer implementing livelihoods programmes in the Mazvihwa community. 2014 marked a turnaround in her career when she joined Muonde Trust to work directly with her community to support indigenous innovation. Alice has a keen interest on girls and women empowerment.

David Runotumbwa Chakavanda, Nursery Manager, is a member of the chiefly family in the Mazvihwa community. He is 61 years, has one wife, and was blessed with four children. He started to do research in 1987 developing a tree nursery with his late brother Mathou Chakavanda, planting trees under the program that became ENDA Zimbabwe. He was specialising in both indigenous and exotic trees. In 1993 he went to work at Kamativi mine. “In 2013 I started with Muonde Trust as a nursery manager this position is linking with my role as a chief. In Mazvihwa it is the role of chiefs to ensure that trees are preserved. The fact that Muonde employed me as a nursery manager shows that Muonde is working within what we treasure as Mazvihwa community.”

Ms. Ratidzai Chikudo (Soil and Water Management)

Adnomore Chirindira, Research Officer, is a 44 year old man who is married and is blessed with 4 children. Adnomore started working for Muonde in 2010. He says “I started doing Manure study and also studying our old way of fencing which was done by heaping brushwood cut from live trees. I wanted to find out how many trees were cut to fence one homestead. The research findings which showed that more trees were being cut down for fencing steered something within me to guard and try to restore our environment. I discovered that we are slowly destroying all our natural resources. In Muonde I am a research officer who promotes live fencing, advocating and building stone wall and researching the history of our area.”

Lucia Dube (Mai Tsau), Soil and Water Management, was born in 1981 and is married and has 4 children. She joined Muonde in 2013. She started with training from Zephaniah Phiri. She now works at Muonde teaching people and assisting them on how to harvest water and also to prevent soil erosion. Lucia Dube also practices what she teaches, for if you go to her homestead you can actually see that the work that she does comes from the heart. She has innovated further even on top of the things that she has learned. She has a pond which she is now using for horticulture, dead level contours, sand traps and she has her own system to manage grey water. “I am now a community technician. I now know how to use an A frame. It is now in me and it moves like electricity. I love volunteers who frequently visit our community I enjoyed the shade and sun harvesting lesson by Brad Lancaster and the one on Dry stone walling by Paul Nash.”

Ms. Shamiso Gwatipedza (Soil and Water Management)
Ms. Lucia Horogodo (Soil and Water Management)

Britain Hove, Action Researcher and Stone Wall Builder, says “I started working for Muonde Trust in 2013 coordinating the stone wall building. My family has been in the sample of Dr Ken’s research for the past 30 years. I also do manure study. In my spare time I like to do gardening and tree pruning removing mistletoe because it improves the vegetation of our community. I also like to go to church.

Ms. Colletta Hove (Soil and Water Management)
Ms. Ndakaziva Hove (Soil and Water Management)
Ms. MaiJabulani (Maria Fundu), (Kitchens and Domestic Architecture)
Ms. Tererai Mabweazara (Soil and Water Management)
Mr. Handsome Madyakuseni (Soil and Water Management)
Ms. Melody Malunga (Soil and Water Management)
Ms. Simbisai Makumbirofa, (Kitchens and Domestic Architecture)
Ms. Retina Mapfumo (Soil and Water Management)
Ms. Vaida Maraini (Soil and Water Management)
Ms. Egness Masocha (Soil and Water Management)
Mr. Daniel Mawere (part time, Action Researcher)
Ms. Ustina Mazarire (Soil and Water Management)
Ms. Memory Mhizha (Resettlement Studies)
Mr. Austine Mugiya (Soil and Water Management)
Ms. Christine Mukokwayarira (Resettlement Studies)
Ms. Ruth Munhundagwa (Soil and Water Management)
Ms. Judith Muringi (Soil and Water Management)
Ms. Valising Mutombo (Soil and Water Management)
Mr. Moses Ndhlovu (Digital Program)
Mr. Fidelis Ndumo (Resettlement Studies)
Mr. Philemon Ndumo (Resettlement Studies)
Ms. Nyengeterayi Ngangu (Soil and Water Management)

Beulah Ngwenya is the Muonde Trust Secretary. Her duties are to type and file all Muonde documents. She had knowledge of computers and was later trained by Alice Ndlovu when she was helping as a volunteer at Muonde Trust. She says “I love Muonde Trust and have a keen interest on water harvesting. Though I am a secretary I have an appreciation of everything that happens in the field, and sometimes I join my team and work in the field pegging contours and dams.”

Ms. Vonai Ngwenya (Soil and Water Management)
Mr. Nehemiah Pasira (Stone Walling Training)
Ms. Guilter Shumba, (Kitchens and Domestic Architecture)

Persistance Sithole is a 23 year old lady married with one child. She started to learn more about water harvesting and conservation farming methods at Lucia Dube’s homestead and she developed a keen interest in the work and also asked to go for the apprenticeship training at Zephaniah Phiri’s wetland farm. She says “due to our upbringing we used believe that working was only for men but with Muonde Trust women have been empowered we are now capable to work and improve our way of living”.

Lucia Sigauke, Soil and Water Management, is a 25 year old mother of two beautiful children. She has completed her Ordinary level and passed two subjects. She has also undergone apprenticeship from Zephaniah Phiri and is now well versed in several water harvesting techniques. She says “Muonde has taught me many things and has empowered me as a single mother. Besides earning a decent salary I now know dead level contours and the importance of hygiene and cleanliness. The exposure and interaction I get with different people from different countries is priceless.”

Tendai Simbine is the Muonde Trust driver.

Ms. Sarah Tobaiwa (Soil and Water Management)

Godknows Chinguo Zhou, Researcher, tells us “I am 33 years married to one wife and we were blessed with 3 children. I live in Chikwera village. I try to live an honest life and I am good at interacting with others. I was trained in data collection by Abraham Ndhlovu and Adnomore Chirindira. I have conducted a series of research on the history of our land. It’s quite interesting to learn information from elders which we did not even know but which have an impact on the development of our community. I have also conducted Mistletoe (Gomarara) and Manure studies.

Other Members of the Team and Local Partners (2010s)
Obrian Mudyiwenyama of Fine Line Media (left) teaches Moses Ndlovu (Muonde’s lead with digital media) the finer points of editing
Obrian Mudyiwenyama of Fine Line Media (left) teaches Moses Ndlovu (Muonde’s lead with digital media) the finer points of editing

Mr. Sabada Chikombeka (late)
Mr. Johnson Madyakuseni (assisting with Zvishavane Water Project)
Mr. Morgan Magwisanya (Mazvihwa community)
Mr. Obrian Mudyiwenyama (Fine Line Media)
Mr. Abumelek Mutsenhure, Shashe Community/Zimbabwe Organic Smallholder Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF)
Ms. Sindisiwe Ncube, former student Department of History, Midlands State University
Dr. Gerald Mazarire, Department of History, Midlands State University
Mr. Livingstone Muchefa, National Archives of Zimbabwe
Mr. Nelson Mudzingwa, Shashe Agroecology School and ZIMSOFF

Student Bursaries (2014)

Blessed Chikunya (for first year of “A” Level at Muzondo High in Takavarasha)
Maria Chinguo (for second year of “A” Level at Muzondo High in Takavarasha; now awaiting results)
Lodreck Ndumo (for first year of “A” Level at Muzondo High in Takavarasha)
Paula Zvidza (for first year of “A” Level at Muzondo High in Takavarasha)
Mthulisi Phiri (first year at Chinhoyi University, Zimbabwe)
Daniel Mawere (Student Placement with Centre for Applied Social Sciences, University of Zimbabwe; third year at Midlands State University, Zimbabwe)

Members of the Local Team (1990s)

chakavandaThe late Mr. Mathou Chakavanda and Abraham Mawere in the hills above his home, 1998

Mr. Davie Chakavanda
Mr. Mathou/Black Chakavanda (late)
Mr. Tavengwa Chifamba
Ms. Farisai Hove
Dr. Billy Mukamuri
Ms. Simbisai Makumbirofa
Mr. Abraham Mawere
Mr. Gift Mubhemi
Mr. Kudakwashe Murudhe
Mr. Cephas Ndhlovu
Ms. Ngonidzashe Ndhlovu
Mr. Philemon Ndumo
Mr. Zephaniah Phiri
Ms. Guilter Shumba
Mr. Robson Shumba
Mr. Emmanuel Sigauke
Ms. Ilene Siziba
Mr. Jacob Zhou (late)

Members of the Local Team (1980s)

mawereAbraham Mawere Ndhlovu on his first day of interviewing, April 1986 (with Mr. Peto – sewing a boot and Mr. Chikombeka, – weaving a basket). Chikombeka was a fisherman who provided elaborate descriptions of the changes in the watershed due to government land-use planning. His son, Sabado, a professional footballer when this photo was taken later joined the research team as an elder in 2013 before his untimely death.

Ms. Knowledge Bwoni
Mr. Mathou/Black Chakavanda
Mr. Tavengwa Chifamba
Mr. Oliver Chikamba
Ms. Farisai Hove
Mr. Johnson Madyakuseni
Ms. Simbisai Makumbirofa
Mr. Abraham Mawere
Ms. Irene/Anatolia Masango
Mr. Benius Moyo
Dr. Billy Mukamuri
Mai Faith/Ms. Maureen Mukamuri
Ms. Ngonidzashe Ndhlovu
Mr. Zephaniah Phiri
MaiThandie/Ms. Florence Shumba Wilson
Mr. Robson Shumba
Mr. Jacob Zhou

Some of the Researchers Associated with Mazvihwa

In the 1980s the so-called “University of Mhototi” included (along with its local research team members, and elders such as Mr. Zephaniah Phiri and Mr. C.G. Mukamuri, see above):

Mr. C.G. Mukamuri, headmaster of Mhototi School in 1980, our host with his wife, of Mhototi University and a constant advisor
Mr. C.G. Mukamuri, headmaster of Mhototi School in 1980, our host with his wife, of Mhototi University and a constant advisor
Mr. Phiri (second from right), the elder on the research team in the 1980s (with the Mhike men exploring for groundwater, 1987)
Mr. Phiri (second from right), the elder on the research team in the 1980s (with the Mhike men exploring for groundwater, 1987)
  • Andrea Cornwall – then a high school teacher at Gwavachemayi School who wrote an important 1990 study of women’s own understandings of fertility and contraception before undertaking doctoral research in Nigeria.
  • Ian Scoones – then attached to the University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Biological Sciences and researching his 1990 doctorate Livestock Populations and the Household Economy: a case study from Southern Zimbabwe with Imperial College London. Ian has in recent years focused on resettlement issues in adjacent Masvingo Province.
  • Bryn Higgs – as a student of Zoology at the University of Oxford wrote a 1987 undergraduate dissertation that demonstrated how indigenous understandings of woodland change explained the dynamic between Acacia and Mopani along the Runde River. He is now writing a doctoral thesis on the International Criminal Court’s role in Uganda at the University of Bradford.
  • B.B. Mukamuri now Chair of the Centre for Applied Social Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe, but first as an undergraduate at the University of Zimbabwe doing research in his home area, then as a staffer for ENDA-Zimbabwe and ultimately for his 1995 PhD Thesis at the University of Tampere (Finland) Making sense of social forestry: a political and contextual study of forestry practices in south-central Zimbabwe.
  • K.B. Wilson – then attached to the University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Land Management and researching his 1990 doctorate Ecological Dynamics and Human Welfare:
    Mr. Madzoke from Murowa in 2010 holds an historic photo kept by his family from the action research of 1986 of elders in his community now mostly passed
    Mr. Madzoke from Murowa in 2010 holds an historic photo kept by his family from the action research of 1986 of elders in his community now mostly passed

    a case study of population, health and nutrition from southern Zimbabwe with University College London. His research on environmental history (issues such as indigenous woodland management, traditions of wetland farming, changes in agrobiodiversity and small grain agriculture) contributed to many of the local initiatives in the area in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He supported the local research team in a study of the resilience during the 1992 drought in the era of structural adjustment with funding from Oxfam-UK and has continued to back the local research team since then, with funds and support, including in studies of the land struggles and resettlement process.

Some of the other researchers who connected with the Mazvihwa group in the 1980s included Dr. Michael Drinkwater who worked on the state and rural development policies with the University of East Anglia, Peter Holland who researched a history of drought for his undergraduate degree in Cambridge, Dr. Joanne McGregor who wrote her University of Loughborough doctorate on forestry in neighboring Shurugwe, and Dr. Frank Matose, who was later to work on forestry and land issues,

More recently Dr Josphat Mushongah – then a student at the University of Sussex produced a 2009 doctorate, Rethinking Vulnerability: Livelihood Change In Southern Zimbabwe, 1986-2006

Several graduate students and other scholars from Universities in Zimbabwe and around the world, including the Universities of Helsinki and California are now exploring continuing the research tradition in Mazvihwa in collaboration with the Muonde Trust. In particular it has been a delight to have the historical skills of Dr. Gerald Mazarire of Midlands State University.

Some of Our Volunteers (in addition to our Advisors)

Robert Hickling: a graphic designer and digital technologist from San Francisco who helped introduce the first computers and video-cameras into local hands in Mazvihwa in 2013 (for Muonde Trust and the Gwavachemayi Secondary School) and helped with this web site and much else.

Patience Mlingo: a Zimbabwean living in the California Bay Area, in addition to donating money she has volunteered to assist with Shona-English translation for the website and international materials.

Paul Nash: a traditional drystone waller from Gloucestershire England who in 2014 freely shared with the team building techniques almost identical to those used at Great Zimbabwe and which are now re-establishing themselves across the area for managing livestock and other purposes.

Alice Ndlovu: the first woman from Mazvihwa to earn a Masters degree in Development Studies, she first volunteered for Muonde and then decided to give up her job to come and work with us.

Marc Tognotti and Clever Musonda from the Tikva Grass Roots Empowerment Fund came for a visit but ended up sharing much experience with group dynamics and development.

Robby Zeinstra: a University of California Berkeley agro-ecologist and now environmental history doctoral student at Princeton University who has shared a passion for trees (hedging, horticulture, agro-forestry, symbiotic mushrooms) and much else in 2013 and 2014.


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