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The empowerment of communities through access to training, micro-finance and the strengthening of community self-management capacities is central to the mission of the Zalala Foundation. This includes support for savings and credit groups, the establishment of autonomous Community Associations and the provision of community spaces to be used as desired by the local communities.

Community centres

In August 2017, the offices of the Zalala Foundation were inaugurated in the village of Supinho. In addition to serving as an office and store room for the Foundation, this space serves as a Community Centre and is regularly used for trainings, meetings, gatherings and a working space for the sewing activity. Moreover, because it is equipped with electricity, it enables classes, including literacy sessions to be carried out in the evening, as well as the day.

Subsequently, the Foundation turned its focus to Idugo. After the completion of their sewing training in Supinho in the spring of 2019, a group of young girls have started up their own small business making and selling clothes and other items for the local communities. The Foundation provided them with sewing machines, chairs and tables but the existing meeting place was falling apart. In consultation with the community, the Foundation agreed to provide funding and logistical support to build a secure Community Centre for the people of Idugo.

A space was selected by the local people and building blocks and materials were transported by canoe from Supinho. Men, women and children all helped to carry them to the building site. Soon after, a traditional ceremony was carried out to mark the laying of the first foundation stone.

A team of locals was recruited, most of whom had no prior experience of construction. Under the guidance of an experienced foreman, they learned rapidly and the building is now close to completion. Once complete, it will be used for community meetings, the sewing activity, literacy classes and other uses to be identified over time.

The formal inauguration of the new Centre took place in Idugo on the 20th February 2020. The District Administrator of Quelimane, along with other district officials attended the inauguration, which began with the traditional ceremony carried out by the community elders, followed by the cutting of the ribbon and a meal prepared by the local community.

The day was rounded off with dancers and singing and speeches made by officials and community representatives.