Interview with the Chikupo Modeling Church Pastor in Murewa on what he feels as the Modeling Church Pastor and his experiences working with the Community: Story by Kudakwashe Kurashwa
Lieutenant Enerst Chikangangeni from Salvation Army-Modeling Church for Chikupo in Musami Murewa Traditional ward
“Being a modeling church involves transforming people’s mindsets...It is a leadership role that requires one to think beyond the normative rules of the game and to be exemplary so as to convince people to adopt positive behaviors for development” echoed Lieutenant Enerst Chikangeni from Salvation Army which is the modeling church for Musami traditional ward in Murewa District. He narrated his story with regard to what it took him to get the community into action during the construction of the Chikupo well site. “It was a tall order initially for me to settle and get the community to do the work.
Although, I have always been convinced in myself that it was possible to mobilise the community, I strongly doubt if others held a similar line of thinking. As has been the norm for the people in Chikupo area that when donors come with development initiatives, they do everything for the community and that has been the thinking framework that the still had; what a disempowered mindset! When we started work, only a few people showed up; I and my team of pastors and church members had to get our hands dirty so that people would see and learn what they needed to do. Together with other pastors in our section, we organised several meetings with the community and their leadership trying to drive home and to educate them on the need for them to own processes of development and being good stewards. It was a long and taxing journey especially with the understanding that people were in a water crisis and someone has come in to bail them out. Normally, people should easily commit to the work. But in this community, it was far from that
What was a bit inspiring was the fact that numbers that were coming to the borehole to do the work were added each time we had a meeting with them. People came to appreciate that we are the church and very different from non-governmental organizations. I saw people pledging to bring the river sand, the stones, and the food as the need was unraveled. These were great signs of change. We did not stop, we continued singing the song of community participation and ownership and more resources were mobilised from the community to the extent that funds towards thebuying of the fencing material were mobilised.
At the end of the process of construction, people emerged as the rightful owners of the project. The work was well done and we were all proud of it. Through the process of organising and leading the community to a successful project, I earned a lot of respect from community people, which was never before. The following time, there was another borehole that has been down for close to three years and the community was in a difficult situation. They approached me as the modeling church pastor, to see if anything could be done to resuscitate it. The most intriguing and interesting thing was that they had already mobilised resources on their own and were willing to assist in any for possible within their means. This is how were are managing to transform communities through the WaSH program and we love our work”, Lieutenant Chikangeni spoke with smile