The Mezimbite Forest Centre provides opportunities for the surrounding community to access vocational training at the Centre. Considering that there is no skilled labor pool and lack of education – the opportunity to work with Mezimbite means a great deal to the people who grow with the organization.
Artisan and agroforestry skill learning has historically been part of the company’s many training programs, but in 2012 Mezimbite is opening up the opportunity to the global community to sponsor artisans, agroforestry and nursery workers – via tax-deductible fiscal sponsorships. Contact us in the meantime if you would like to contribute.
Agroforestry and Nursery Technician Scholarships are used to teach local inhabitants proper planting and management techniques, therefore helping break the cycle of non-nutritious agriculture production and unsustainable forestry practices.
Agroforestry scholarships are reserved principally for women (but also given to men) who train and work at Mezimbite for three months. They are trained to be agricultural technicians who understand the soil, all that is in it and its cycles, how to grow nutritious plants, harvest them, and manage the process. Traditional foods and skills to grow and prepare those foods have degraded since independence. Mezimbite trains people to grow a range of nutritious foods that are important for a healthy diet.
About thirty percent of the women who go through Mezimbite’s training use the agroforestry systems at home and continue to grow vegetables and higher nutrition crops.
Training involves a rotation of 12 women every three months. Mezimbite feeds over 100 people every day through the women’s sills. Given that there is so much need for proper nutrition, this kind of skill is limitless. Minimum wage for three months is approximately $270.00 – which is roughly twice the legal minimum wage – and largely what is needed to raise the women out of poverty and gain enough skill to grow their own nutritious foods successfully.
Nursery technician scholarships are also primarily reserved for women. Given the fact that most women are illiterate, the skills are reduced to drills. Nursery staff learn how to build a proper nursery through building one under guidance and supervision. This includes: Selecting a site, choosing and harvesting local materials, assembling the materials together to build a nursery, collecting seeds, preparing soil and planting pockets, germination techniques (over 40 indigenous species used), identifying and labeling trees, taking care of them, planting them, and fostering their growth over a three-year period (which is invariably passed down from nursery technician-to-nursery technician).
There is a constant requirement for supplies and support and supervision, so training is always being updated informally. It takes about three months to train a nurseryman, but often individuals learn at their own pace. Mezimbite has the capacity to train 30-40 nurserymen every year. If you would like to sponsor a family for agroforestry and nursery training, please contact us.
Artisan training scholarships are used to teach qualified artisans ancient craft traditions. Artisans then take on the responsibility of passing on their skills to new apprentices who in turn become journeymen and masters. Community outreach through tree planting and teaching workshops are part of the scholarship.
Mezimbite Forest Centre’s journeymen and masters have developed the reputation of being the best craftsmen in Mozambique. Part of this is due to the rigor of training. Though many people are eager to train – not everyone has the patience, talent or diligence to become a well-trained artisan – and still others may die due to AIDS and other tropical diseases before the training is all said and done. All this being said, the results of those that make it through is seen in the high quality of work and pride of the artisans.
Carpenters and cabinet makers have a minimum of five years training as an apprentice; wood turners take three years minimum training; carvers train for two years – as do construction workers; Many of Mezimbite’s artisans are exposed to all possibilities – marquetry and inlay to carpentry to wood turning and more – to determine what they are best at. If you would like to sponsor an artisan, please contact us.