Zimbabwe Partnership

The Zimbabwe Partnership officially was formed on June 11, 2010, when Bishop Eben K. Nhiwatiwa of the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area (ZEA) and then Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference (WPAUMC) signed a covenant agreement in the spirit of Chabadza, a Shona word that describes a community spirit of helping someone you know who is already at work.  Hired to spearhead the program was Sandra Matoushaya, a native of Zimbabwe who earned a master's degree in international development with a focus in non-governmental organizations and civil society from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Building on the history of WPAUMC support for Zimbabwe through development of Africa University in Mutare and more recent efforts of The Nyadire Connection, the agreement provides that the two episcopal areas will work together to:

Develop Principled Leaders by:
  • Conducting a bi-annual Lay Leadership School in Zimbabwe led by resource people from both the Western PA and Zimbabwe.
  • Developing a Zimbabwe Immersion program for people from the UMC-Western PA to spend significant time in Zimbabwe to learn church growth, discipleship, and leadership dynamics and to further guide the Partnership 
Create New Places for New People and Renew Existing Congregations by:
  • Assisting in the strategic funding and/or construction of churches, parsonages, clinics, and other facilities to make the good news of God’s love real in Zimbabwe.
  • Ensuring support of the office of the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area (West) Communications and Projects Coordinator. 
Engage in Ministry With the Poor by:
  • Increasing the utilization of fallow, arable land according to the Zimbabwe Farm and Agriculture Development Program, beginning at the Nyadire Mission Centre farm. 
Stamp Out Killer Diseases that contribute to the Cycle of Poverty by focusing on primary health care issues through:
  • Providing better, continuous, safe, and sustainable water and electrical supply, starting at the Nyadire Mission Centre Hospital.                                                            
  • Providing mosquito bed nets for distribution in seeking to fulfill the goals of the Imagine No Malaria – Nothing But Nets programs.
  • Working with the UMC-Zimbabwe Health Board to achieve their goals and objectives for a healthier Zimbabwe. 
As we grow in our relationship, we will seek to respond to future calls of support as the Bishops of Zimbabwe and Western Pennsylvania might liaise and determine. When we communicate with each other, we will channel communications between our two conferences through the agreed structures of the United Methodist Church. As people formed and led by the Spirit of God, we will keep this covenant partnership open to review, evaluation, and adjustment as seen fit through mutual agreement.


Sandra Matoushaya

Zimbabwe Partnership
724.776.2300 x249