It’s not often that you hear of a Zimbabwean Facebook group making impact on the community. But Proudly Zimbabwean Foundation, a Facebook group created in 2008 to bring Zimbabweans together for community advancement is paving the pathway.
The approximately 7,000 Proudly Zimbabwean online community – one of the biggest Zimbabwean Facebook groups – has a motto which reads, “We are, therefore I am.”
To prove that they don’t just operate in airy digital space, the group is currently pioneering a comprehensive community based program to see litter cleared off Zimbabwe’s environs by 2017.
Founded by Fungai Chiposi, definitely one of Zimbabwe’s pioneering digital social innovators, the group is on a mission to instil pride and confidence into the Zimbabwe psyche.
According to Chiposi, the purpose of the group is for all progressive Zimbabweans to come together and bring sustainable development to their communities.
“PZF’s purpose is to develop communities through the people in those communities. We want communities to be involved in initiatives that advance their interests. Thus when a borehole is introduced into a community, let the community be involved in digging, fundraising, assembling etc. At the end of the day they must be able to say this is our asset, then they will guard it jealously and caution abusers. When we get there, you will find most of our problems today will evaporate. Currently, no one cares. People pee in public on a durawall and no one says, hey, stop that! That is not right,” he said.
He added that Zimbabwe has many inspirations points for him which keeps him inspired to continue managing the online forum and actually achieve real results.
“First, our Diasporan contingent is a big factor in development. They have travelled, they have seen the world and they can help us jump many stages in development by sharing what they have learnt. Second, I believe as a nation we can do better,” he said.
“When I walk around and see the level of poverty we have around us, and the other extreme, the fancy cars on our roads, I feel there must be a balance that can be achieved and moderate wellness achieved for all.”
Chiposi credited social media with the power to create long-lasting change within communities.
“Social media will advance so much in the next ten years, we are all in a for a shock honestly. Social media is a great asset for Zimbabwe today, especially with our spread out diaspora population. If harnessed properly and advantages exploited to the best of our knowledge the change factor on the ground is staggering. A plan can be crafted in the UK, perfected in the USA and executed in Binga all by Zimbabweans,” he said
“The ability to share in real time means solutions and funding can stream from all over the world. That is why I have always advocated for a million members on Proudly Zimbabwean Facebook Group. A group that big may be ungainly but the talent if identified and harnessed can be astronomical in achievement. The results will cascade to the ground as we are seeing with Zero Litter Zimbabwe program.”
He added that Zimbabweans need to undergo a change of mindset in order to address the issue of litter.
“The litter issue is central to many themes currently obtaining in Zimbabwe. One is a social mindset that has ceased to care about where we live and what we are contributing to the problem. We have Harare water barely drinkable because of waste creeping into Morton Jeffrey Works. Litter leads to high crime rates in areas where it becomes drastically manifest. The whole issue is about the mind. If we manage to change mindsets on litter, we will begin to see the communities we desire around us,” he said.