Unilever has embarked on a programme to rehabilitate the recreational park in the high density suburb of Glen Norah as part of their environmentally friendly sustainable living plan. The programme began in 2013 as a tree planting initiative but has now gained momentum to include furnishing the children’s playground with a jungle gym, swings and slides.
A section of the ten hectare facility that has been re-furbished includes the children’s study area. Unilever Human Resource Business Partner Takura Bwiti said that this came after realising that most of their employees reside in areas around Glen Norah. She also stressed that Omo, one of their brands, has a motto which promotes encouraging children to learn through playing. However she noted that there are few places in Harare that offer children that opportunity as local authorities are failing to maintain the existing recreational facilities.
“Unilever therefore partnered with Black Crystal, an environmental organisation, Junior Council and the City Council to give back to the community,” she said.
Bwiti said that another phase of refurbishing will include the dressing rooms servicing the park’s football pitch. Through their various products Unilever aims to promote hygiene awareness among younger members of our society. The provision of proper sanitary ablutions in the park, so that children learn about good hygiene practices, is in line with the organisation’s policy of helping to reduce infant mortality rates. Junior MP for Glen Norah Hon Primrose Masawi said that this is a welcome development as it now offers young children a safe space to play away from the streets where they are exposed to many dangers. She also thanked the various stakeholders for the services they have rendered to her community and urged residents to be responsible for the park. The park had succumbed to vandalism over the years and had become a den of thieves and a place where people were mugged because of the overgrown bushes and tall grass.
The playground had also been vandalised and some equipment stolen. A concerned parent, Mr Chikilivao, expressed the hope that this initiative would go a long way but urged residents not to vandalise the newly installed apparatus since it benefits the minors and the community.
Tinotenda Chingwa, a student from the same area, expressed satisfaction with the renovations saying that the newly installed benches now offer a better place for students to study rather than in the tall grass which many dreaded.
The park is one of the few found in Harare’s high density suburbs in the High Glen district.