Tribute to Josephine Mutandiro, Trustee of Zimbabwe AHEAD

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing away of Josephine Mutandiro, who devoted her life to alleviating the suffering of others, and was a truly committed development practitioner in a class of her own.  She came to Zimbabwe AHEAD Organisation when it was newly formed in 1999 and brought with it a wealth of experience from her long years with Save the Children Fund. She has contributed her wisdom to our ethos, and her words have become our mantra.

We will always remember her with joy as she would take the stage at a workshop, timing her entrance to proclaim her motto, ’Development is a Process’ and how everyone was spell bound by her rhetoric. It was heart-warming how she preached her message to the Community Health Clubs, and would dance before the multitudes inspiring them to progress, ‘step by step’. It is impossible to count the number of people she helped, not only in her work, but privately, counselling and assisting where ever she could.

Josephine taught herself how to grow and use herbs from books, and was one of the first to scale up the use of herbs for treatment in the rural areas. When she was District Coordinator in Rusape, the office hosted a constant stream of people coming for herbal treatment or counselling. Every morning at dawn she was in her garden, tending her plants which have been spread to gardens all over the country, from Bindura to Chiredzi. At the height of her work in 2006, when all else was falling apart, she had a network of Ward Coordinators in Makoni running a project with over 4,000 individual gardens, 1,000 communal gardens and an estimated 5,000 bee-keepers. So much income was generated and so much hope was raised by these projects!

All these people knew and loved Josephine and will be affected by her passing, and we at Zim AHEAD want to be sure her memory survives and her work continues to expand. It is sad that she leaves us just as the programme she loved, is scaling up throughout Zimbabwe, and as a Trustee in her retirement, she was to have witnessed the fruits of her labour and help guide the organisation onwards. Her life will be our guide.

Josephine’s family must be proud to have such a wonderful mother, and we thank you for lending her to us for such a long time. We will find a way to honour her memory.