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Unveiling the Journey: A Conversation with Patience Magodo

Meet our doctoral candidate, Patience Magodo, who has recently completed her academic journey with The DaVinci Institute. We recently engaged with Patience, and in this Q&A, she enlightens us about her career progression, her doctoral study, and what kept her going throughout the journey...

Founder and Managing Consultant of Tafadzwa Ne Chiedza Development Trust, Patience Magodo is an international banker and a certified lender. She has been working in the commercial banking industry for 23 years, locally in Zimbabwe, regionally in Africa, and internationally for an emerging market bank. She is now establishing regenerative agriculture in rural Zimbabwe through social banking for the economic benefit of smallholder farmers. Through intermediate and Afrocentric Nhimbe Technologies, she is pursuing poverty alleviation through technology justice, writing the new narrative on behalf of the small-scale farmer at the bottom of the pyramid. Patience also runs a for-profit social enterprise in Zimbabwe. Her business processes oilseeds, small grain-based breakfast cereal products, and dried fruit. The products it processes are organically cultivated and supplied by local small farms.


Your thesis is entitled: “An integral ecosystem: A case study to holistically establish sustainable socio-economic development for smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe.” Please provide us with a blurb on the purpose of your research and its contribution.

The research sought to understand the causes of the abject poverty instigated by many issues in the smallholder farming community in Zimbabwe. The research trajectory focused on the importance of smallholder agriculture for ecosystem-based economic development, poverty reduction, and sustainable livelihood enhancement in Zimbabwe. The integral bottom-up methodology motivated the affected to determine the factors required to guide agriculture development to sustainably end or reduce poverty in Zimbabwe as the nation pursues the ambitious plan to become an upper-middle-class economy by 2030. Farmers at the bottom of the pyramid were given a safe space to write their stories and narratives and, through social innovations, contribute to the research and, more importantly, communally own the process and solutions to their daily felt challenges.

In a few words, describe your journey to completing your qualification.

The journey made me realise I will always be a learner, and there is so much benefit in collaborating with like-minded people for societal impact. The research journey challenged me on aspects like rootedness as an African and how, over time, by accepting socio-economic global systems as a people, we have short-changed ourselves. It's time to write our narrative unchecked and transform ourselves.

What would you say your three greatest attributes or characteristics are as a person that aided you on your journey?

- Passion for positive change.

- Innovative solution seeker.

- Love for communities.

How did your journey impact your way of thinking and (or) life?

I had many questions and deep-seated anguish arising from witnessing poverty wearing an African rural face, and the research proffered hope that poverty can be eradicated through social transformation and collaborations with other researchers and innovators. It is not a one-man job, and through multiple research networks and communities of practice, I am looking forward to more research work and innovative social learning that speaks to the common person.

What is next for you on your path of remarkability?

I look forward to deepening the integral research space with DaVinci. The journey has just begun. I hope, with DaVinci, to establish our Afrocentric research model rooted in the global South, as we have borrowed foreign-based research methodologies for too long. Three concepts arose from my research journey. I am furthering work on the following:

a) Universities as a centre of enterprise development in Africa and renovating the education curriculum of certain university degrees and curricula so that the adequacy of the Minimum Body Knowledge of students is impacted.

b) Establishment of the Heritage Communiversity for small-scale farming in Zimbabwe, and hopefully, it will one day develop into a regional ethos.

c) Development of intermediate technologies and mechanized farming to shift the mindset from employment to productive and sustainable livelihoods.

If you could advise a student embarking on this journey, what would it be?

Be yourself, be sincere in research, do not seek to justify a methodology, and just be content with interpreting results. Multidisciplinary research offers more ways of looking at issues and challenges the mind, demanding practical, socially transformative solutions, which Africa needs.


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