What we’re about to highlight to you is a remarkable example of how a small group of seven entrepreneurial women from Kariba, Zimbabwe are driving significant change in their communities. Specifically, improving food production and security, and providing access to education, creating better opportunities for orphaned children in ward 8 Nyamakate within the Hurungwe Rural District Council.
The Tashinga Community Garden – locally known as the ‘Garden of Mothers’ – is administered through a seven-member committee, comprised of Media, Lillian, Plaxedes, Janet, Jeniffer, Spelile and Hilda. They give the majority of their yield to local orphans providing a nutritious and reliable source of food, and sell the remaining harvest to raise funds towards their schooling.
The women manage the garden using sustainable conservation farming techniques (e.g. mulching and crop rotation), helping to conserve nutrients and water in the soil and increase crop yields. Thanks to this, less land is cleared for agricultural purposes meaning deforestation is drastically reduced. Additionally, the provision of locally sourced food helps reduce emissions compared to food from further afield. These organic techniques also mean there is no need for the use of harsh pesticides, so insects and other small animals can thrive helping to support biodiversity and a strong ecosystem.
The woman harvest maize, sorghum and groundnuts are harvested in the rainy season. Other gardening activities and small scale crops provide sustenance during winter and dry months. Following the seasons this way helps to enhance food security by providing a food source for all times of the year or during unpredictable weather. With increasing periods of drought, people are realising the vital importance of gardening not only for personal food security but also for improving livelihoods through selling the produce.
The women teach local children about the environment, nutrition and sustainable farming, ensuring these good practises are passed on to future generations.
The efforts of these exceptional women in directly and actively supporting orphans by providing healthy food and education, is changing young lives for the better. Their work also indirectly supports the grandparents of the orphaned children by reducing their burden of providing food in turn allows them to spend more time caring for the children and helping them with schooling activities.
We’d like to introduce you to a couple of the members of the community garden…
Being a single parent staying in a rural village does not mean that you are to depend on relatives in towns to educate your children. With nutritional gardening, I am paying school fees and buying stationery for my children as well as clothing.
My name is Media Chiyangwa in ward 7 Nyamakate, Hurungwe Rural District Council. I started gardening in 2012, when the Kariba REDD + Project was introduced by CGA (Carbon Green Africa) in Hurungwe. During previous years, before knowing about CGA, I was poor both financially and mentally but now I am rich. CGA trained me in how to use surrounding resources and my own hands in order to be independent. I use manure to feed my vegetables and control pests naturally using chilli, garlic, liphobia etc.
I am selling my vegetables throughout the year. I am travelling as far as Chirundu, Kariba etc. where green veggies are scarce. I also cook for my children and donate to the infants feeding schemes at our nearby school.
With the knowledge I gained from CGA, I can now pay school fees for my children without defaulting even a single school term with the funds I am getting from nutritional gardening after selling vegetables.
My name is Lilian Manyanga from ward 7 in Nyamakate under chief Chundu. I joined Kariba REDD+ project in 2011. I am participating in Tashinga garden. I was chosen to be a champion farmer so I lead by example. At first I was doing it for my family’s consumption and selling a few vegetables in my neighbourhood but now with continuous training and education, gardening is now my business.
I sell the produce in my neighbourhood and other towns as far as Chirundu. I am raising enough to support my family. I am planning to join an apiary project thanks to the training I attended in Magunje where I was taught about bee farming. I am aiming to quit tobacco farming and stick to projects with less labour but more income.