Ward 5 Mufiri, Shurugwi District, Midlands Province Outreach Programme 

Project Location

Ward 5: Mufiri, Tongogara Rural District Council (RDC): Shurugwi Rural District: Midlands Province: Zimbabwe 


One thousand and six (1006) households with and without cattle in 5 Village Development Community Areas (VIDCO).

Brief Background

The HLLM project evolving at Njeremoto Biodiversity is demonstrating the Indigenous Shona Knowledge on Grazing and Land Management. In the Shona culture, the land evolved with herding animals. Hence the absence of one results in the destruction of the other.  
The conventional grazing management belief that too many animals result in overgrazing is a misconception of the semi-arid savanna environments of Southern Africa where these environments evolved with thousands of herding grazers such as wildebeests and buffalo. The Shona believe that overgrazing is caused by inadequate recovery period for grazed plants. Further, they believe that in conventional western grazing management practice, overgrazing is a result of domesticated animals overstaying on the same piece of land (continuous grazing) or returning too soon to the grazed area (rapid rotational grazing systems).  
Opportunity existed on vast areas of degraded land to utilize animals (domestic and wildlife) to heal the land, improve water cycles and build biodiversity, while enhancing food security, reducing poverty, and establish ecological stability at a landscape scale hence positively changing peoples’ life.  


This project is exploring and evolving new technology for semi-arid rangelands management as well as empowering and capacitating the humans with skills and tools to sustainably manage the ecosystem while ensuring sustainable livelihoods for the present and future generations. 


Use of a research and development action model. Its participatory approach and skills transfer on managing arid and semi-arid rangelands. Activities are based on the Major Programme Components:

  1. Rangelands Management (planned grazing and combined herding) 

  2. Livestock Management (improved productivity and bull schemes) 

  3. Community Development (empowerment, capacity building, support for organizational and management structures).

In each of the the three components, NBI seeks to carry out the following:

Rangelands Management Component 
  • Foster grazing planning and forage assessment;  

  • Develop reliable and clean water sources for livestock;  

  • Instil Fire prevention & response;  

  • Stop Deforestation;  `

  • Foster Land use planning;  

  • Resuscitate herding and any other best rangelands and livestock management practices in communities;  

  • Instil sustainable natural resource usage and management;  

  • Monitor rangeland health;  

  • Accelerate over-seeding (Planting grass through animal dung/ grazing and overnighting animals in spots where the grass is to be dropped) 

Livestock Management Component
  • Train on Bull/cow ratio; Herd structure; Vaccination and health programme; Animal safety; Mortality management;  

  • Implement Trials on strategic nutrients supplementation (sampling, analyse and apply);   

  • Assist farmers identify marketable livestock for various sectors of the market (formal and informal);  

  • Coordinate with project committees and buyers about availability of marketable livestock from the farmers;  

  • Share marketing related information with farmers & advise them correctly; Improve quality livestock for marketing;   

  • Resource mobilize and construct Community Abattoirs and Milk Processing Parlours 

Community Development Component 

Involves Ward and Village Level Grazing Governance  

  • Support for organizational and management structures;  

  • Building trust and credibility;  

  • Liaise with all stakeholders;  

  • Assist community to explore issues; train on organizational development (enhance visioning, planning, monitoring and feedback skills)  

  • Develop capacity on group rights to address and control grass and water poaching;  

  • Enhance decision making, joint budgeting, implementation and capacity building skills;  

  • Develop business ethics, co-operative and social entrepreneurship organizations in communities  

  • Develop and establish sustainable partnerships for scale-up and replication and share experiences. 


Intensification of community empowerment on the use of grazing plans by herding clusters in the ward was enforced.  
The waterpoint coupled with improved grass saved the community cattle from dying in the severe drought that was experienced during the period.  
Other areas without the programme lost cattle from the drought. Also, the cattle produced more milk and manure. The manure was then used to fertilize the vegetable garden at the water point. Thanks to Tudor Grants the Mufiri community cattle were saved from the devastating drought.  
Locally, NBI received an award entitled Communicator of the year 2013 from the Banga Chieftainship in Shurugwi District, Zimbabwe.  The citation is, “For his efforts to communicate directly from Ward Level to Village Level on the Holistic Land and Livestock Management Program in Ward 5 Shurugwi District, Zimbabwe. He is a real Community Empower and Capacity Builder”. 
 Internationally, in 2014 NBI received Teach A Man to Fish Pan-African Award Winners. NBI was Country Winner for ZIMBABWE. The citation of the award is, “Njeremoto Biodiversity Institute (NBI) integrates land and livestock management in its teaching.



NBI became an active Partner of the UNEP/FAO 10YFP SFS Programme by invitation from December 2015. NBI attended the First Global Conference held in Pretoria in June 2016 and was invited to make a presentation of its HLLM Programme

“Community mobilization is something done by community rather than for the community”. Osmond Mugweni


NBI achieved much in line with implementation of planned project Outputs
on Land Management, Livestock Management and Community

Land Management

  • Restoration of healthy grasslands was achieved to a greater extend

  • Rehabilitation degraded rangelands was demonstrated and achieved

  • Restoration of natural water sources was being continually achieved

  • Also, being achieved was recharging of underground water

  • There was marked improvement in reversing desertification

Before and after treatment photos

Photos shown are from one of the land rehabilitation sites. In the photos below, the first picture in each row denotes adjacent area that did not receive treatment. The ones in the other one column per row show the land recovery after treatment where cattle slept over the 50m x 100m site for four (4) nights. There are also areas which received half summer recovery periods from February to May 2016.


VIDCO 2 Area that received normal grazing in summer 2/09/2014


VIDCO 3 Area that received normal grazing in summer 4/09/2014


VIDCO 2 Area that received summer recovery from February to May 2/9/2014


VIDCO 3 Area that received summer recovery from February to May 4/9/2014

More Photos

Ecoliteracy and rangeland monitoring with community


Ecoliteracy and rangeland monitoring with community


Land regenerating. Grass growing under bushes/trees


Ecoliteracy and rangeland monitoring with community


Paroma Cluster Herders with cattle in grazing area


HLLM Training Session


Jiri Cluster livestock. Healthy and productive. See the bull, cow and calf