Zimbabwe Women Empowered in Business (ZIWEB) empowers women in Zimbabwe with the
opportunity to start and sustainably run their own business by becoming sub-distributors for Nestlé
East and Southern Africa (ESAR)
If rising above adversity was a person, then that description would best fit 56-year-old Martha
Mazengera who when life threw curveballs at her, she found ways of taking care of her family.
When Martha Mazengera’s husband passed away, she suddenly became the breadwinner to her
four children who were all still at school. The now grandmother of three who describes herself as a
hardworking woman who did not believe in hand-me-downs, had to find ways to keep a roof over
her family, put food on the table and ensure her children went through their tertiary education.
Martha heard about a pilot project that empowered women and did not hesitate to join as she saw
this as a steppingstone to success. In 2015 she became a member of ZIWEB – Zimbabwe Women
Empowered in Business – a Nestlé ESAR initiative seeking to empower women to start and
sustainably run their own businesses. The women become sub-distributors for Nestlé’s range of
products such as NESTLÉ CREMORA, NESTLÉ CEREVITA and NESTLÉ CERELAC.
Martha was trained in critical aspects of business management in entrepreneurship skills, financial,
selling, product knowledge and customer care skills. She also received her ‘start-up capital’ from
Nestlé in the form of products for selling.
Armed with the necessary skills and product, the 56-year-old Martha sought to work hard for herself
and her family as all her children were still dependent on her financially. Through savings made from
her sales, she saw through her children’s tertiary education which was now being paid for in foreign
currency. She has managed to renovate her home and buy new property.
Martha’s journey has not been without challenges – “the Covid-19 pandemic really hit me and the
other ladies hard. A lot of small stores in the neighbourhood we used to supply were demolished
and we didn’t have many customers to supply. Despite the demolitions, I managed to soldier on as
regular customers would call me and I would deliver with limited movements due to COVID-19
She managed these challenges through her working relationship with Nestlé, who assisted her with a
letter to allow her to service her customers.
What began as a mission to provide food for her family has grown into a family business as Martha
has recruited her two children to distribute if she is not available to avoid disappointing her
customers. Her wish is to grow from being a sub-distributor to a micro distributor getting products
direct from Nestlé.
For Martha and the other 250 women under ZIWEB, the programme has positively impacted their
lives as they have found ways to succeed as women entrepreneurs who can take care of their
families and live a life they could have only ever dreamt of.
For more information and to watch Martha’s story visit www.nestle-esar.com.