Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

The ThinkBIG Initiative

Project #
Carleton College
  • Anesu Masakura

The ThinkBIG Initiative

The ThinkBIG Initiative

The oldest of five children, Anesu Masakura once sold bread to finance his education. He saw his father search out a series of menial jobs after losing his position as a bus driver in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. That same emergency, Anesu writes, “crippled the Zimbabwean economy” — it led to widespread severe, 95 percent unemployment and a 20 percent high-school dropout rate.

To help build youth entrepreneurship, and in hopes of reducing his country’s incidence of drug abuse, violence, and human trafficking, Anesu recruited 200 young people with financial need and academic aptitude into a project that trained them to run a chicken-raising business.

With additional funding from Carleton’s Robert E. Will ’50 Fund for Social Entrepreneurship, Anesu sited his “ThinkBIG Initiative” in his home community of Mutare, a farm town “that has been consistently plagued by social and political violence for the past 20 years,” he writes.

The local Beulah Heights School offered land. Working with a local steering committee, three teachers and many volunteers, Anesu expanded an existing chicken run, bought an incubator and supplies, and organized classes on basic accounting, chicken husbandry, mentoring, and more. Students also learned how to mix and deliver feed to the operation’s 1,000 birds.

“ThinkBIG is now a nonprofit organization registered as a trust in the Republic of Zimbabwe,” Anesu reports. “The organization ... should be able to assist more than 500 students by the end of next year.” The proceeds are paying school tuition for all of last summer’s participants.