Mambanje Community Garden
Food security and access to healthy food and produce are major challenges faced by communities surrounding our camps. The Mambanje community is located near the Hwange National Park border. This community has about 160 households in the community. The scarcity of food in this community has a massive impact on the livelihoods of the communities with many struggling to feed their families.
Many 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 also a barrier to seeking employment opportunities in sectors such as the tourism sector or venturing into entrepreneurship opportunities.
About our Project
In 2018 we started a local community garden. The garden has 50 beds 3x3m that can support about 50 families. We currently have 36 families that are making use of the community garden with 20% of the produce that is harvested at the garden being used for commercial purposes. The other 80% is used for subsistence farming. The crops that are currently growing in the garden include tomatoes, onions, okra, vegetables, and lemongrass. We installed the boreholes and solar power in the garden to ensure that the garden has an adequate water supply and fences the property.
The community is currently in charge of the upkeep and maintenance of the garden including cleaning up, fertilizing the soil, and removing the weeds and they have employed a security guard for the garden.
An analysis conducted on the progress of the garden highlighted two main challenges:
- The garden is currently not being used to its fullest potential and capacity
- 30 of the 50 beds are currently not occupied/producing any crops
- The community does not have the correct harvesting and planting techniques to use for the garden. They are currently self-teaching through trial and error and planting what they think will grow and repeating based on the success
- The garden is still being used for subsistence farm and not commercial farming with each family still focused on feeding their own and not the collective benefit that the garden can provide for the whole community
- The water supply from the borehole is not providing sufficient water to all the beds in the garden and one of the taps is not working
Our long-term goal for the garden and the impact we want to have:
Our focus for the garden is to conduct soil assessments at the garden which will assist us in identifying the right crops that best grow in the area. We also want to provide harvesting and gardening training to the community to assist them to make the best use of the garden. This training will assist the community to plant produce that will best grow in the garden and to use the correct harvesting technics for their crops. The training will provide the community with new skills and tools to utilize the garden to its fullest capacity which will contribute to the sustainability and longevity of the garden, especially once we progress the garden to focus more on commercial farming.
We will be improving the flow of water in the garden by installing drip irrigation so sufficient water can flow to all the beds in the garden. We will also be building ablution facilities and a tool shed in the garden as well.
Impact measurement and tracking
- Number of families/people benefiting from the community garden (number of beds in use and how many families the garden in supporting
- Training sessions are done (harvesting, gardening, and entrepreneurship)
- Change in use of the garden (increase in commercial farming)
- Access to commercial/business opportunities for produce harvested in the garden
- Improvements made to the garden (water, toilet, tool shed etc.)
- Income generated for the community through the garden
- Sustainability of the garden