Gogo Project – COVID19 Diaspora Response
The Mbare Gogo project started at the mark of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, with the sole aim to assist grandmothers in Mbare who are struggling to take care of their orphan grandchildren. Global Health Dorcas Initiative was created by Dorcas Gwata, a Zimbabwean mental health specialist based in London.
What is the Gogo Project?
The story of pandemics is the story of inequalities, the poor and vulnerable are always most affected. The Gogo Project started a couple of weeks after the COVID19 impacted on us all. In the Zimbabwean context, the pandemic had landed on an existing economic hardship and it became apparent that grandmothers who were otherwise able to make a small living out of selling goods were hugely affected by the lockdown arrangements. On close analysis, we found that many grandmothers in Mbare are looking after grandchildren with little support. Many of the children’s parents have died or migrated within the region. As Zimbabwean diaspora, our hearts were moved by the stories that some grandmothers shared, we were compelled to help, the Gogo Project is an innovative project, was borne out of the desire to give back to Zimbabwe and support the most vulnerable in our communities. We are all passionate about the project.
Why the need for the Gogo Project?
The Mbare community is incredibly innovative and resilient, however as all of us, we are vulnerable and sometimes we need a little bit more support to get by. Our project provides a small relief for these grandmothers, who may not have access to food otherwise. Providing mental health awareness for these Gogo’s provides a small intervention to reduce the effects of trauma and educates them on mental health, a subject that is often stigmatised in many communities.
Vulnerability and resilience
In Zimbabwe family is a big part of our culture, and women play a big role within this structure, many women are breadwinners, they hold the families together and are often the nucleus of decision making and cultural practises. They are of course also vulnerable. The Gogo’s who we support are often the primary source of income for their household. They are not only responsible for themselves but for their grandchildren, usually an average of 6 and some may even have up to ten grandchildren. Many of the Gogo’s that we helped consistently told us that the support we provided them had made a difference in their welfare and they wanted us to help more Gogo’s and grandchildren. We source our groceries from female traders, they in turn get to support their families, a win-win for climate change in Africa.
Who initiated the project?
In some ways, it’s fair to say that the project was initiated by the Gogo’s in Zimbabwe, they demonstrated their courage and needs, the Zimbabwean diaspora responded to that need and today we are supporting people in Zimbabwe and impacting vulnerable lives. The structures fall into place once the core values have been established. The project was initiated by Dorcas Gwata, a Zimbabwean Global Health Consultant, we love that everyone feels part of it. The project demonstrates the power of the collective.
How does it work?
Our Community Champions on the ground who are Mbare residents and know the community well, are a strong and diverse group of men and women, whose interests lie in mental health awareness and support, community-based projects, poetry, graphic design and skateboarding. Their individuality is what makes them Champions who are keen on assisting their community in their own unique way.
Our project runs purely on donations, which we use to buy the groceries and essentials that are needed for each grandmother. After each distribution we come together with feedback and go again finding a new set of Gogo’s to support. We are constantly evaluating our work and impact.
How to get involved
Please Visit Our Just Giving PageClick Here: Our Just Giving Page
Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
To drop off groceries in Zimbabwe or donate please contact our Project Manager, Lynn on 00263 778145982
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Instagram – @globalhealthdorcasinitiative