CHIREDZI, (Lowveld Post) THOUSANDS of locals are set to benefit from a life skills and entrepreneurship training programme the Lutheran Development Services (LDS) is rolling out in the Chiredzi South constituency.

LDS, whose project is underway in Chikombedzi Growth Point, is developmental arm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ).

LDS is implementing the programme in partnership with the agricultural extension service (Agritex).

Ulibile Gwate, LDS Programs Coordinator, said his organisation had so far trained over 100 people from Wards 10, 11 and 12 in smart agriculture such as aqua culture, poultry, goats, bee keeping and vegetable gardening.

He said after training, the beneficiaries would be put into groups and given startups like goats and chickens.

LDS is setting up a community learning and development centre on a 2-hectare piece of land.

Developments have started with the drilling of a borehole and setting up of a solar system for irrigation.

“We are targeting thousands of people and so far we have trained three groups from wards 12 and 10 and each group was given 30 goats after training so that they start to run their business,” Gwate said.

“We will do the same to everyone who will be trained at the centre. They will be given start-ups after training which will be done by officials from the Agritex department,” said Gwate.

The official said 280 families from the area would also be provided with seed for sorghum and cowpeas.

Chiredzi Rural District Council Chief Executive Officer, Ailes Baloyi, said the council signed a memorandum of understanding with LDS after the community indicated that they are willing to work with the organisation.

Gabriel Matsilele of Vhivhinya village, appealed to other organisations to carry out such programmes in the area that is usually shunned by donors.

“We are very happy with what LDS is doing in our area. Our lives will not be the same. Other organisations should copy what this organisation is doing,” said Matsilele.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Chiredzi South, Kallisto Gwanetsa, said the relationship between his constitutions and ELCZ was bearing fruit.

He said the church had just completed building a secondary school at Gulungweni, which would enable local students access education nearer.

In 2015 ELCZ started the construction of five classroom blocks at Gulungweni Secondary School.

The church is putting final touches to the classrooms and the commissioning will be done next year.

They also constructed two teachers` houses, toilets and drilled a borehole.

Gwanetsa supported the construction by providing 100 bags of cement with funds from Constituency Development Fund as well as financial and moral support.