The agriculture committee includes men and women who have above average harvests, and possess natural talents related to aspects like water conservation, pest management, grain storage and seed selection. There are also biodiversity experts who possess in-depth knowledge on the characteristics of woodlands, wetlands and sacred groves. The technol- ogy committee includes natural experts in sculpture, tool making and garment making, while the natural medicine committee includes natural health experts for humans and ani- mals, as well as health spirit mediums. The entertainment committee includes traditional music and drama experts, while the food committee is responsible for food processing and marketing of the products of surrounding forests and orchards. According to African cosmovision, these different natural experts are linked to supernatural powers, either through dreams or the interpretation of natural signs. Each committee is responsible for documenting the knowledge in its own field of expertise, exchanging the knowledge with other groups, testing selected practices, and imparting the results to local communities, visitors and tourists. Links with other institutions. AZTREC has been one of the training organisations within PELUM (Participatory Ecological Land Use Management) College Zimbabwe. This mobile training institution is made up of community-based organisations and high- er learning institutions, such as the University of Zimbabwe, Africa University and the Forestry College of Zimbabwe. AZTREC facilitates the use of indigenous knowledge sys- tems, culture, cosmovision and community organisation, while Zimuto eco-cultural village hosts the trainees during their visits to the area. In 2000 AZTREC was appointed by the Government CREATE programme, (Community Based Resettlement Approaches and Technologies), to assist in training 400 resettled farmers in sustainable agriculture and natural resources management. In the Mushandike Conservancy, AZTREC will implement research on biodiversity and wildlife management, traditional medicine and eco-tourism. Activities in the communities Woodland and mountains. AZTREC decided to take woodlands and mountain ecosys- tem management as the starting point for its activities in the communities. This was due to the obvious importance of these natural sites for the farming families. People consid- er these habitats of the spirits and places where rituals and ceremonies can be performed to appease and communicate with the spiritual world. Some of the tree species in these woodlands and mountains, such as Brachystegia and Ficus spp, are used to forecast the weath- er, the types of crops to be grown during each season and the times of sowing. As has been described earlier in this chapter, the work on woodland improvement started off with discussions between spirit mediums, chiefs and kraalheads on re-estab- lishing the traditional rules and regulations. Together they started to identify the different sacred sites in their area, and held meetings with the communities to discuss these issues.
- Spring '16
- endogenous development