Caritas Zimbabwe Advocates for “proper capacity building” to Aid Project implementation

Sustainability of the project lies in the hands of the community. Credit: Catholic Church News Zimbabwe

Officials of Caritas Zimbabwe’s Catholic Dioceses are advocating for “proper capacity building” of those involved in implementing projects in the Southern African nation amid “general donor-fatigue amongst our donors”. 

In a Sunday, April 10 report, officials of the development and humanitarian arm of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) say empowering members of local communities with skills in project implementation would facilitate the running of “small projects” in Dioceses.

“Once the donors withdraw, it would be difficult to continue new projects because of lack of resources and technical know-how,” the Vicar General of Zimbabwe’s Masvingo Diocese who doubles as Ex-officio of Caritas Masvingo has been quoted as saying.

In the report, Fr. Walter Nyatsanza says, “If people are well resourced and capacitated, they will make sure that the project continues but what is lacking during implementation is proper capacity building.”

Fr. Nyatsanza further says that there is need to build up local resources that will complement donations due to the increasing levels of donor fatigue.


He explains, “The funders are no longer getting large sums of funds as they used to do and the demands for the same funds are also increasing overseas with refugees and displaced persons. There is now general donor-fatigue amongst our donors because they have supported our projects for a very long time,”

“If we run small projects, this would assist our offices to build up our local resources,” Fr. Nyatsanza further says.

In the April 10 report, the Coordinator of Caritas Chinhoyi Diocese echoes Fr. Nyatsanza’s sentiments and underscores the need to involve African traditional leaders in the implementation of projects at the grassroots.

Fr. Johanes Zevhito says, “Coupled with financial incapacitation is lack of project leadership in terms of instigators to drive the projects beyond donor support timeframe.”

“Involvement of local key figures such as Chiefs, headmen, Agritex officials and lead farmers will help in sustaining community projects when the donor pulls out,” Fr. Zevhito says in the April 10 Catholic Church News Zimbabwe report, which Br. Alfonce Kugwa authored.

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The Caritas Chinhoyi official further calls upon donors to develop appropriate exit strategies, which include ongoing formation for committee members, training of committees, and ensuring official handover of projects to the relevant stakeholders before the end of the project.

In the report, the Coordinator of Caritas Gweru Diocese is quoted as faulting the approach by some  non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of leaving out members of local communities when initiating projects hence “there is no complete project ownership by the community.”

“In this case people usually consider the project to belong to the funding partner or donor which does not create a sense of ownership,” Sr. Blandina Makuvise is quoted as saying.  

She urges donors to use the asset-based approach where community members participate in the decision-making process and the formulation of program design especially in issues that affect them. 

The asset-based approach, she says, “creates a sense of ownership and hence leads to sustainability.”


In the report, the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Head of Programs, says the institution is keen on including locals in the implementation of its projects. 

“CRS works through local partners to strengthen existing capacity to ensure sustainable and responsive growth. Projects will engage and continue to build the capacity of local partners, local government, and private sector partners,” says Sekai Mudonhi.

She adds that CRS “will make clear the end date for this project, as well as its intentions, and will work with participants to define strategies for sustaining its benefits.”

To ensure sustainability of projects, Mudonhi says CRS will seek to engage with government at all levels, strengthen their collaboration with existing partners and communicate with local leaders and community members regarding the timeline, objectives, and completion of programs to avoid confusion and disappointment.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.