The Tsuro DzeChimanimani Trust works for sustainable environmental development and conflict transformation in Zimbabwe. It is situated deep in the Eastern Highlands Chain of mountains and just an arm's reach to Zimbabwe's border with Mozambique on the Chimanimani Mountain. The Trust started with 2 people in Chikukwa Village in 2000.
In the spirit of permaculture, the founders' focus was on utilising the rich natural environment to sustainably benefit the community, whose once dependable yields were suffering the effects of global warming. Around that same time Zimbabwe's political and economic downturn was manifesting into physical violence, and politically motivated violence was on a unprecendented rise. HIV/AIDS was also wreaking havoc, further flaring up latent conflicts. Thus, aside from their permaculture focus of 'marrying people to the earth', the organisation found itself dealing with a multiplicity of problems. In 2006, Tsuro received funding for a program on conflict transformation.
Today, there are more than 40 members of the 'Building Constructive Community Relations' group trained to provide workshops on conflict management, conflict resolution, peacebuilding as well as conflict in relation to natural resource management, belief systems, gender and HIV/AIDS. Tsuro's strength lies in utilising indigenous knowledge, in particular the age old 'people care' side of permaculture. A women's club and a men's club were formed as well as an HIV/AIDS support group and 'Talking Time' - a space for the community to get together and discuss issues in the community.
Permaculture is rooted in the timeless African philosophy of Ubuntu and peaceful coexistence, and has been found to strengthen traditional culture in the community. The success of Tsuro has inspired other permaculture projects in the whole of the Chimanimani District, which are all under the Tsuro DzeChimanimanii program. Today, Tsuro Trust works in twenty-one wards, involving more than 10,000 people, including those in drought-prone areas. This huge success rides on the wing of active encouragement by the traditional leadership. Chief Chikukwa personally offered land to build the permaculture centre and has also partaken in the conflict resolution training. The whole process has also meant an empowerment of the traditional leadership (which is very apolitical), and which continues to help keep the community peaceful during Zimbabwe's turbulent times.