MICAIA Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees drawn from a mix of professional backgrounds. The Foundation is led by its Executive Director, Milagre Nuvunga, whose career has included senior posts in Government, the UNDP, and international organizations.
In the period 2011-2015 we have enabled 12,500 smallholder farmers to increase yields of maize and other crops, establish Farmer Groups and Co-operatives, and negotiate better contracts with major buyers. We’ve also worked with the Co-ops to help them secure short-term bank loans that they’ve used to buy crops from farmers and meet contracts. With three of the Co-ops we’ve leveraged grant funding for building large grain stores, enabling the farmers to store bulk crops and benefit as prices rise.
Natural Resource Management
Our work in this area is extensive and varied, including supporting the establishment and training of local natural resource management committees and community rangers, delimiting and zoning community land and natural resources, setting up nurseries of local trees and shrubs and establishing small plantations using a mix of native species, and establishing a forest learning centre linked to a seed center. We have been working with several partners including Kew Gardens (UK), the National Agrarian Research Institute as well as local Universities to carry out botanical surveys and conducting laboratorial tests to learn more about the different properties of local useful plants. A number of socio-economic baseline studies have been carried out in forest communities to learn about people’s current natural resource use systems and their outlook on the development of their communities and this has been used to develop sustainable community development plans.
In the period 2011-2015 we have trained more than 2,150 people as beekeepers, helped them access hives and other equipment, and linked them with a new company that processes, packs and markets honey. In the last two years we have also enabled 500 women harvesters to get a better price for the Baobab that they harvest every year, and to be part of a new company that is developing products for local and international markets.
In all our work we help people learn about their economic and social context, their rights and responsibilities as citizens and the laws that relate to the main aspects of their lives and to the work they want to do. We help establish formal and informal community groups or associations to enable them to participate in local planning processes and help them identify and secure financial and other means they need to help them invest in themselves thus giving them the confidence, assurance and pride to work their way out of poverty and vulnerability. One of the most recent examples is the work with young people in Chimoio city, where we have secured DFID funds to provide grants to young boys and girls (18-24 years) to be used as start-up funds for their businesses, following the youth Bank model.