WEST LONG BRANCH — Monmouth University and the Macheke Sustainability Project will work together to help a non-profit organization obtain grants, provide students to work on projects and otherwise assist in a sustainable development project in Macheke, Zimbabwe, a country in southern Africa ravaged by economic, political and environmental problems.
Monmouth signed a memorandum of agreement with the company to provide assistance.
MSP is led by Monmouth University alum Molly Madziva, a graduate of the Class of 2009. Madziva began the propject in 2008 while studying for her master’s degree in software engineering at Monmouth University. The non-profit organization focuses on social, economic and environmental initiatives to empower people and eradicate poverty in Madziva’s hometown of Macheke.
The basis of the project is to research solutions for community sustainability in order to help locals to stabilize Macheke’s economic, health, food, education and energy systems over the long term, according to a release from Monmouth University.
For example, MSP provided aid to Macheke for the launch of a small brick-making business that employs many residents and was contracted to build the village’s new health center.
Macheke is a small farming community in Zimbabwe with about 8,300 people based on the 2006. The village dates back to Zimbabwe’s colonial period and was attractive to farmers because of its rich agricultural soils, according to the project’s website.
Despite this, Zimbabwe remains one of the poorest countries in the world defined by high unemployment. The majority of its citizens live in abject poverty, the website explains.
In the recent years, Zimbabwe suffered one of the worst economic downturns in the world and in 2008, it was estimated that the inflation rate soared to 87 sextillion percent.
Within the last three decades, Macheke has gone from hosting more than 300 active commercial farms to just about 14, most of which are producing at less than 5 percent capacity, according to the website. The majority of the land is used as subsistence farm land, with most of the locals living below the poverty line as defined by hunger.
Its population is ravaged by disease such as HIV/AIDS and has no meaningful access to education.