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This project ensures that hundreds of people will receive food from veggie gardens planted in homes, schools and communities,particularly people who can’t grow food for themselves — like orphans, vulnerable children, the sick, the elderly and the desperately poor. Additional Agricultural training helps strengthen farmers’ groups with improved management skills and provide for advocacy work to help to access more government support.
Throughout 2012, local program partner the KwaZulu-Natal Regional Christian Council (KRCC), was granted funds to create 10 community food gardens.
They erected 4 new vegetable 'tunnels' and 4 water harvesting tanks which were set up in 4 schools, 3 primary schools (Saroni, Mathibelana and Donsintaba) and 1 secondary school, Bagibile High School.
The new tanks are more durable than plastic tanks and also environmentally friendly. This was achieved with training assistance from Operation Hunger and the Department of Water Affairs, who trained the women from the garden groups to successfully build the tanks on their own.
KRCC representatives also attended a workshop on "agro-ecology". Participants reported that the training workshop was beneficial as this style of farming practice takes into consideration the environment and the quality of produce. The organization planned to subsequently visit Biowatch, to learn further farming skills.
It emerged that women working on community gardens needed ongoing support to keep their projects running. Most of the garden groups had committees that were not functioning, and needed assistance to elect new people, provide clarity around the functions of the committees and revive the spirit of togetherness and continuity.
Additionally, groups were advised on financial management of their veggie garden profits, as they need to re-invest in new inputs to sustain production levels.
Following this work, these groups are now functioning well and some of them have managed to re-plant using profits from their previous production.
Additionally, in Thengela there was a disaster where wild fire burned the tunnels and everything that was in the garden. As this garden was feeding a lot of terminally sick and orphaned children, KRCC are checking on the group, and communicating with Mthonjaneni municipality to see whether they can provide assistance.
Improving food security and nutrition are long terms goals. To understand how KwaZulu-Natal Province is changing, a nutrition baseline survey was conducted amongst 2,314 district households. The methodology used was a cell-phone technology survey which was found to be a quick way of collecting and analyzing data.
A brief overview of the results:
The results from the Household Nutritional Survey will be used to help make better programs.
Oxfam Australia has worked in South Africa since 1999, building better lives for poor rural communities and marginalised people. The uMkhanyakude Partnership (Food Security) Program focuses on livelihoods and food security. The Program was started in 2005 with the aim of strengthening community food and nutrition security responses within the context of HIV and AIDS in the uMkhanyakude District, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
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