Zimbabwe Women Empowered in Business (ZIWEB) empowers women in Zimbabwe with the opportunity to start and sustainably run their own business by becoming sub-distributors for Nestlé East and Southern Africa (ESAR).
If rising above adversity was a person, then that description would best fit 56-year-old Martha Mazengera who when life threw curveballs at her, she found it in her to find ways to make sure she took care of her family.
When Martha Mazengera’s husband passed away, she found herself as the breadwinner to her 4 children who were all still at school. The now grandmother of 3, who describes herself as a hardworking woman who never believed in hand-me-downs, had to find ways in which to keep a roof over her family, put food on the table and ensure her children went through their tertiary education.
Martha heard about a pilot project aimed at empowering women and did not hesitate to join as she saw this as a steppingstone to success. In 2015 she became a member of ZIWEB – Zimbabwe Women Empowered in Business – a Nestlé ESAR initiative seeking to empower women in Zimbabwe with the opportunity to start and sustainably run their own businesses. The women become sub-distributors for Nestlé’s range of products such as NESTLÉ CREMORA, NESTLÉ CEREVITA and NESTLÉ CERELAC.
Martha received training on critical aspects of business management such as entrepreneurship skills, financial, selling, product knowledge and customer care skills. She also received her ‘start-up capital’ from Nestlé in the form of products for selling.
Armed with the necessary skills and product, the 56-year-old Martha sought to work hard for herself and her family as all her children were still dependent on her financially. Through savings made from her sales, she saw through her children’s tertiary education which was now being paid for in foreign currency. She has managed to renovate her home and buy new property.
Martha’s journey has not been without its own challenges – “the Covid-19 pandemic really hit me and the other ladies hard. A lot of small stores in the neighbourhood we used to supply were demolished and we didn’t have many customers to supply. Despite the demolitions, I managed to soldier on as regular customers would call me and I would deliver with limited movements due to COVID-19 regulations. These challenges were however managed, through her working relationship with Nestlé, who assisted me with a letter that would permit movement and help reach my customers”.
What started off as a mission to provide food for her family has grown into a family business as Martha has recruited two of her children to distribute if she is not available so as not to disappoint customers. Her wish is to grow from being a sub-distributor to a micro distributor getting products direct from Nestlé.
For Martha and the other 250 women under ZIWEB, the program has impacted their lives as they found ways to create to success as women entrepreneurs who are able to take care of their families and live a life they could have only ever dreamt of.
For more information and to watch Martha’s story visit www.nestle-esar.com.