Since the turn of the millennium, women have been finally truly acknowledged as integral to societal development. Most governments, organisations and civic societies now advocate for the empowerment of girls and women for the overall growth and development of nations. Gone are the days when women mare viewed as just the child bearers and caregivers in the home. Even if it is recognised that women can do more than that, the opportunities for them to thrive remain limited. This situation is not only true for our country and the rest of the continent but also in many western cultures, even if indeed there are greater freedoms than ever before.
In Zimbabwe, there are many individuals at the forefront of the movement of driving the next step beyond the cultural shift – creating opportunities for women. One of these is Uzillah Munyengeterwa Hove.
Uzillah Munyengeterwa Hove hails from Rusape in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. She is an established entrepreneur, life and business coach and mentor. After many years of being a housewife, Uzillah now owns Today’s Kitchen an organisation that helps women build their homes. In 2015, she founded Today’s Business and Development Trust (TBDT), an empowerment and personal development programme for women. It engages them through innovative participatory programmes tailor-made to deliver tangible socio-economic solutions for entrepreneurial growth. The strategy of the trust has seen members take business trips to countries such as Tanzania and China where they learn from their peers in different countries. Business seminars are also held to ensure the women are empowered in all aspects. The Trust has membership in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom and Australia.
“I believe each woman is endowed with God-given talent. We need to tap into that talent for women to realise their potential and step out to become the best version of themselves and achieve many seemingly impossible dreams”
One of Uzillah’s objectives is to bring women from all walks of life together and mentor them through to entrepreneurial success. “I would like to alleviate poverty, inequality and other life adversaries facing women in the 21st century. I believe that a woman has strength beyond that which she can comprehend and through determination and soldiering on in the most difficult times, she can achieve greatness beyond her imaginations.”
Using her skills as a life and business coach, Uzillah has helped women achieve many seemingly impossible dreams through her work. Individuals are encouraged and given practical support to work for themselves in various income-generating projects. They are taught to invest profits effectively while ensuring their projects remain sustainable, a challenge that sees other businesses fail. Some of the projects borne out of TBDT include housing, motor vehicle financing, household furniture, appliances, grocery financing and even burial assistance.
Most women who have worked with Uzillah say her humility makes her approachable and easy to work with and she has become more of a sister, friend and confidante for many. She also not only helps women manage their businesses but mentors them to run their homes, guiding them through the principles of things as simple (but important) as managing groceries, acquiring assets in the home and becoming person of integrity.
To add to the armamentarium for business success, Uzillah has written a book called The Gift of Woman. It’s a guide to how a woman can discover her God-given talents first and use them to realise financial freedom and self-fulfilment. She launches another book, Shift, this month. Needless to say, Uzillah has become an inspiration for women from all backgrounds and has gained well-deserved recognition for her work in and outside Zimbabwe. In 2018, she received the SERO Leadership Award and last year (2019), she was named the Business Coach of the Year by the International Coaching and Mentoring Foundation. However, her true reward lies in the achievements of those who have been part of the TBDT programmes:-
“Being in business and owning properties is a thing that has been looked at as a man’s responsibility. TBDT has changed the mind-set of so many people thinking that way. I now own properties in Harare, and run my own retail clothing business, all through the mentorship and guidance of Uzillah and the TBDT. I’m my own person and I’ve learnt proper business ethics, financial literacy and there now is a shift in my mind-set. I believe in myself, I work hard and I know where I want to get from where I am.”
~ Vimbai Chasi Kamukapa
“Mai Hove taught me not to look down on myself. I attended her seminars and what she always taught us was to not despise humble beginnings. I have grown from being that mother who would fight for the television remote with the kids, to a responsible woman who endeavours to make sure her children are well fed and have enough clothes for winter. From selling samosas in the street I now own a mobile kitchen and sell my food online and door to door.”
~ Shelter Mavhima, caterer and tailor
To find out more about Uzillah and TBDT go to:
Facebook: Today’s Kitchen and Home with Uzie/Today’s Businesswomen and Development