Bulilimamangwe is one of the poorest and most marginalised areas of Zimbabwe. In 2001 a community driven project was started under the Kellogg funded Integrated Rural Development Programme, to utilise the indigenous Marula trees found in the area. From the onset project members were mostly women. This paper documents the early years of the project. Achievements are given, problems faced examined and possible solutions put forward. Challenges, opportunities and conflicts are discussed in the hope that these may be of interest in the study of future projects utilising natural resources in poor communities.