Community Builders with Takemore Mazuruse
Growing up in the Dzoro area of Zaka district in Masvingo, Liberty Mupakati, now a PhD in International Development holder, never imagined himself amounting to much, let alone becoming an answer to some of the community challenges he grew up experiencing. Like Oliver Wendell Holmes posits, all limitations are self-imposed and the respected development practitioner has fast morphed into a community builder of repute with great development plans not only for rural Zaka, but other disadvantaged parts of Zimbabwe.
“We would go to school barefoot even during the biting winter cold and the scorching summer heat,” Mupakati said.
“Growing under such limiting conditions awakened my resolve to become a fountain of hope for others and I am happy that I am taking the daily steps towards that ideal.”
With the fully-registered and functional Dr Liberty Mupakati Foundation, the development practitioner believes there is never too small an effort in development work and he will work with all progressive minds and stakeholders to foster development.
“No one of us on his own is as strong as all of us together. Beyond politics, I believe it is important for all self-respecting citizens of this country to reflect on what roles they can play in bringing positive change to their communities,” he said.
“It’s so easy to become an armchair critic even when you can play a part nomatter how small to champion sustainable development.
“I am one open-minded person who does not shy away from pointing out the wrong, but equally important is for us to find each other and devise ways on how we can synergise for national good.”
Through his foundation, Mupakati said he was working on championing a holistic approach to the diverse humanitarian and developmental challenges that disadvantaged communities face around Zimbabwe.
“I believe in community-driven initiatives and I am currently working with a team of highly-motivated community development enthusiasts and leaders who I believe will help us achieve sustainable development not only in Zaka, but other areas we will target,” he said.
To demonstrate clarity of intent, the Dr Liberty Mupakati Foundation made a generous donation of football and netball kits to eight schools in ward 25 and ward 30 of Zaka East.
“Realising the importance of sport in community health, talent development and eradication of other vices like drug abuse, our foundation donated complete football and netball uniforms to eight schools in Zaka East in May,” he said.
“The recipients of the uniforms were Dabwa, Machiva, Muzinda and Muzondidya primary schools, Muzinda and Svuure secondary schools, as well as Dzoro High School.
“This was just a precursor of the good we are initiating and we are hoping that beyond that sport-related donation, we also bring some scouts to identify talented youths whose sporting careers can be further developed.”
The well-travelled development practitioner, who has had various international development-related stints in various African, European and Asian countries, pointed out that sport was a respectable career with various athletes across the globe raking in millions a week from its practice.
“We value the importance of sport, hence our desire to use it as an entry point to the various community development initiatives we will champion,” he said.
“The handover of the kits coincided with the cluster sports competition that was held at Dzoro High School where Dzoro, Muzinda and Svuure secondary schools were battling it out for the right to proceed to the zonal competitions.
“The event was attended by the constituency MP, the late Honourable Katson Ringisai Gumbwanda, headmasters, sports directors, school development committee chairpersons and two councillors for the area. The kit donation was therefore a befitting climax to already existing initiatives in the area.”
Being an alumni of some of the schools in Zaka East, Mupakati said he felt compelled to support them through the generous donation of complete netball and football kits, including soccer boots.
“These schools play an important role in nurturing students during their formative years, hence our initiative to support them,” he said.
“The foundation aims to donate uniforms to all the schools in the constituency and would have done this by the end of September.
“It is our hope that the gesture will unearth the next Peter Ndlovu, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Mupakati said he is alive to the various challenges of the most underprivileged, especially women and children, and his foundation was created to carry out humanitarian activities in the areas of education and social services.
“My vision is to continue working with the local leadership to mitigate some of the problems that schools, learners and the community at large are facing. To complement the government’s new curriculum, the foundation is working on donating science laboratory kits,” he said.
“All the seven secondary schools in the constituency will be benefiting from the laboratory kits initiative to enable students to engage more in experiments which will ignite their interest in science in furtherance of the government’s STEM agenda.
“Beyond education-related initiatives, we are also focusing on other community health as well as livelihoods initiatives that can help empower the disadvantaged.
“I am a big fan of Robert H Schiuller’s assertion that problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines. Working together we will foster community development and we will continue engaging and consulting so that we achieve our goals collectively regardless of current limitations,” Mupakati said.