Macalester Student Receives $10,000 to Improve
Irrigation in Zimbabwe this Summer
Davis Projects for Peace Initiative Renewed for Third Year
Douglas Mapondera, received $10,000 from the Davis Projects for Peace Initiative. Mapondera, a native of Zimbabwe, will use his award to refurbish the irrigation infrastructure in Vuka Resettlement Community of Zimbabwe, an eight-year-old village of about 700 people in Vuka, Centinary, Zimbabwe.
Karin Trail-Johnson, Associate Dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship and Director of the Civic Engagement Center, was part of the Macalester selection committee. “Douglas’ project exemplifies creativity, feasibility and originality, with potential for a lasting community impact,” said Trail-Johnson. “It’s his vision and ability to solve real problems that exemplifies the kind of “global citizen-leader” that Macalester fosters.”
Mapondera’s project objectives are to provide a sustainable source of income to Vuka villagers with a reliable water supply so they can farm lucrative cash crops, improve local standards of life and foreign currency inflow. Other objectives include creating a Project Fund to which beneficiaries can make monthly contributions to protect and maintain the equipment, improving food security thereby providing ample food year-round and reducing the odds of malnutrition, and encouraging hard work and optimism as well as dispelling discontentment.
“I plan to execute this project with my brother, (who is the project technical lead) and one of his colleagues,” said Mapondera. “They have worked together for the government for over five years in borehole and pump maintenance. My brother's expertise is in fitting and welding, his colleague is an expert electrician. Together they offer the technical knowledge critical to this project. The community head has also pledged support, mostly in manual labor.” Mapondera also said his brother has been working on the preparatory and logistical work for months.
Mapondera chose Vuka because he lives there, knows the villagers, understands the village’s needs, and will spend little on his accommodation and food expenses. In 2000, the area was a successful commercial farm when it was invaded by former liberation war fighters who damaged the irrigation system and stole parts. The land was divided into 70 family plots but now the villagers must carry water a significant distance to irrigate their crops. Vuka also has two large dams, the smaller being 1800 cubic meters (1000 meters liters is enough to irrigate the entire farm). And it has an established electrical supply, existent structures to house irrigation water pumps, functional, permanent, underground pipes, brick tobacco curing and sorting buildings, and very fertile land. This project will provide the resources for Mapondera to work with the family farmers to create a functional infrastructure for utilizing the water from the dams to water the crops.
Kathryn Wasserman Davis, on the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007, launched and continues to fund the “100 Projects for Peace.” She has renewed her challenge to today’s generation of college students to undertake innovative and meaningful projects. She is the mother of Shelby M.C. Davis who funds the Davis UWC Scholars Program currently involving over 85 American colleges and universities, including Macalester.
“Kathryn Davis has been a lifelong internationalist and philanthropist, and has left her mark on a wide range of institutions and countless students,” said Executive Director of the Davis UWC Scholars Program Philip O. Geier. “The wisdom of her years has led her to look to young people for new ideas and fresh energy to improve the prospects for peace.”