The Nhimbe-Ilima Collaborative for Development is a networking platform for grassroots-focused organisations in Zimbabwe.
Among some language groups of Zimbabwe, the ‘nhimbe’/ ‘ilima’ is a labour mobilisation practice for tasks of a size or urgency that cannot be handled by one person or family unit. In the nhimbe/ ilima practice, a member of the village enlists the assistance of other villagers with his/her field work or other task; all (s)he has to do is provide them with food and drink (usually home-brewed beer). The villagers willingly provide their labour ‘free of charge’ on the understanding that the favour will be returned should they also require it. The currency in use here is social capital.
In the development field, no one organisation can adequately cover all wished-for geographical areas sufficiently enough within a given timeframe and financing framework. This is where the Nhimbe-Ilima Collaborative for Development (NICD) comes in. Through the NICD framework, a particular organisation can reach more of the would-be beneficiaries of its project in different geographic areas more cost effectively by enlisting the services of other organisations in a mutually beneficial way.
There are two parties to a hosting arrangement. There is the initiator organisation which is the owner of the project to be collaborated on. And there is the hosting organisation, the organisation that houses the implementation of the project in a particular locality. The initiator organisation approaches prospective hosting organisations with a proposal to host the project. The would-be host decides whether or not to accept the hosting responsibilities depending on its capacity to do so, the extent to which the said project adds value to its own core business, and other considerations.
The Nhimbe-Ilima Collaborative for Development (NICD) provides a higher level and more mutually beneficial networking platform while at the same time giving member organisations the latitude to participate or not in a particular project. It combines the freedom of a loose network and the tight regulation of an association, thereby meeting the needs of a diversity of organisations.