The Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust, in partnership with the European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe, has unveiled grants worth more than US$117 000 to the creative sector to facilitate projects that artists are implementing in various parts of the country.

Nine projects, classified under bigger and smaller grants, will benefit from the funds that will be disbursed soon to artists, cultural practitioners and institutions.

In a statement, the Culture Fund noted that the beneficiaries make the first part of grants allocation with another call for project proposals expected at the end of the year.

“The Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust in partnership with the European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe continues to support the creative sector in Zimbabwe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. CreativeACTIONs will award grants to new and innovative projects from artists, cultural practitioners, institutions and private operators involved in creative industries,” reads the statement.

“A total of 131 eligible and highly competitive proposals (104 under Lot 1-bigger grants) and (27 under Lot 2-smaller grants) were received. Culture Fund and EU Zimbabwe awarded an initial nine grants worth a total of US$117 416 out of an available US$300 000. Another call for proposals will be announced at the end of the year

“Grant recipients will soon commence implementation of their creative activities, sensitive to Covid-19 measures.”

Among projects that benefited is the Sisterhood Music Training Project that aims to train 63 young females artistes in music recording and production, audio engineering, live performance and music management.

Another project seeks to support capacity building of theatre artistes to better engage with digital and online technologies. It will draw participants from Manicaland, Midlands, Matabeleland and Mashonaland West. This initiative has a special focus on digital skills.

Hanzvadzi/Umnawami is another initiative that got funding. It aims to use murals as dialogue engaging spaces. It targets high traffic areas such as shopping malls and bus terminals within high density suburbs of cities such as Harare, Bulawayo and Chitungwiza. It seeks to provoke conversations and interactions around pertinent social issues such as those affecting women and youth.

Avuxeni Craft centre, which also benefited, aims to strengthen creative engagements with 75 artistes within the Great Limpopo Heritage Centre in Muhlanguleni, Chiredzi. It will offer skills training opportunities in areas such as product quality, marketing and exhibiting techniques to create viable craft businesses that seek sustainable natural resources exploitation. It further aims to improve the livelihoods of creative sector women and youths

Another initiative seeks to enhance creative, innovative and unique designs among Kunzwana artisans in Chilelema Village in Binga district. The project aims to work with women based in Binga; in particular, the Chilelema Village visual creative arts hub. It will tailor product marketing for their intricate basketry weaving, impart financial literacy and create links to micro-financing institutions. The women will also receive training in World Fair Trade Organization rules and compliance procedures.

Simuka Futi/I Am Funny Too project will be funded to create opportunities for building a network of up-coming and established comedians from Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru. A workshop and master class are proposed to help strengthen the comedy craft and business skills of selected participants. Mentors will be engaged to coach the participants and help connect them to local and international festivals and events.