M.M: We really would LOVE to know more about you Tim so please tell us something about your background?
T.R: I am from Australia. I have lived in Zimbabwe since 1999. I enjoy being outdoors, play sporting, reading, listening to music and I love Italian food.
M.M: How long have you been working for World Vision International?
T.R: I joined World Vision Australia in 2003 as the Programme Officer for Zimbabwe and Kenya. I then joined World Vision International in 2006 and became the Programmes Team Leader for World Vision in Zimbabwe.
M.M: It is so good to have you and your team visiting Ebenezer. What are your links with Ebenezer Agricultural Training Centre?
T.R: I first heard of Ebenezer through Renee Cunningham. What interested me most was that the center deliberately targeted young people between the ages of 18-25 and aimed to give them practical skills that would enable them to become self-sufficient. For World Vision we are often very child focused but have very little to offer young people.
M.M: Do you see this as a long term partnership?
T.R: I think the partnership between Ebenezer and World Vision has great potential. If the pilot project here in Kezi proves to be successful (which I am sure it will be) then I would like to think it could be replicated in other districts where World Vision operates within the next 3-5 years.
M.M: After being taken on a tour, were you surprised at what you saw on site?
T.R: I was pleasantly surprised at the scale of the training center. I could not believe that there was so much land under cultivation. It is really exciting to hear from Lance and the team all the plans Ebenezer has to expand in the future – my guys were really blown away by the vision the team has to develop a processing plant and a juicer to enable large scale production of canned vegetable and fruit products for the local and export markets.
M.M: What potential do you see with the apprentices in terms of their field crops and did the standard meet your expectation?
T.R: I am very impressed with the high yields that the apprentices are managing to achieve using the conservation farming (farming God’s way) techniques. Many people will tell you that keeping livestock is the only profitable livelihood in hot, dry places like Matobo District and Matabeleland South but the apprentices have shown that with limited amounts of water and by keeping the soil covered that you can produce good vegetable crops.
M.M: With this being your first visit to Ebenezer, and we hope to see you here often, do you see the Centre impacting young people’s lives as well as the surrounding community?
T.R: It is obvious to me that Ebenezer is already having a huge impact on the lives of the young people at the center. They seem full of confidence in themselves and they have a hope and a vision for their future that so many young people today in Zimbabwe seem to lack. My hope is that as they graduate from Ebenezer and move back into their community that they do not lose that passion and vision to be independent. I hope that they will be able to encourage other members of their community to practice conservation farming so that the community becomes more productive and food secure.
M.M: What words of encouragement do you have for the apprentices?
T.R: I think the apprentices can be very proud of what they have achieved. If they continue to apply themselves and persevere they have a bright future ahead of them.
Thank you so much and we look forward to your next visit.
A relaxing moment with Tim over lunch
interviewed by molly manhanga