Food security and access to healthy food and produce is a major challenge faced by communities surrounding our camps. The Mambanje community is located just 2km away from the Hwange National Park border. This community has about 139 households which an average of 1200 people living in the community. The scarcity of food in this community has a massive impact on the educational development of learners as many are missing schools, having poor academic performance, and poor concentration because they had no food to eat.
Food scarcity has a massive impact on families. Many of the families do not have a stable source of income, which limits their ability to provide food for their families. While some large families are relying on one source of income to cater to all the financial needs of the household. The lack of education and technical skills is another barrier to seeking employment opportunities in sectors such as the tourism sector or venturing into entrepreneurship opportunities.
We have planted a food garden at the local school that is subsidizing the feeding scheme that provides meals to the learners that attend the school. This food garden is increasing the supply of fresh produce to the school feeding scheme to ensure that learners are receiving nutritional meals daily.
We planted a community garden to feed the broader community. We are using this garden to educate and empower the community on how to grow a sizable vegetable garden as a source of healthy food and improve livelihood through trades of the produce farmed in the garden.
The accessibility of food for learners at school is ensuring that learners are coming to school, they are well-fed, and they can function, concentrate, and focus better on their school work. This is having a positive effect on the school pass rate and the number of learners completing their schooling and progressing to high school.
The increased supply of healthy and nutritional products available to the school and in the community will go a long way to improving the quality of life of the community.
This project is not just feeding schools learners and the community, we intend to utilize this project to educate learners and their families with critical business skills that will enable them to earn an income through the trade of goods and services. They will acquire new agriculture and gardening skills by learning new technics on gardening and irritation.
Through the school garden, we can educate young learners with practical skills in agriculture and entrepreneurship. By educating them on how to plant and maintain the garden and empowering them with practical entrepreneurship skills, they can grow a garden at home as well as educate their families on the trade of goods and services which can be applied to a variety of goods and services.
Our long-term focus for the community garden is to integrate it into the supply chain of the African Bush Camps as well as surrounding businesses, hotels, camps, and international trade and exports. This would be achieved through helping the communities to farm-fresh, fast-growing produce (3-6 months from seed to harvest) that is used regularly, such as spinach, peppers, beans, onions, and high-demand products like herbs, spice, chilies, ginger, garlic, etc.