While in Zimbabwe this summer, we decided to incorporate small, personal gardens into the overall project to help 400 families who are suffering from food insecurity. We visited 24 families who were selected to be part of this pilot project and took at look at their current gardens. What we found is that while the families have the good sense to know that they need to be growing their own veggies, they don't always have the ability to purchase seeds or the knowledge of how to grow a garden in arid areas.
This is where Mr. Ncube walked in - he is a dear Zimbabwean friend who is also an avid gardener with a heart of gold. He took it upon himself to properly train the grannies and children who head up the households so that they learn conservation farming, perfect in areas with little rain. We purchased seeds and held trainings. Now, two months later, veggies are sprouting up and families are getting excited.
Foliage goes to their animals. Veggies are for the family members. Manure from the animals feeds the garden. Thick, thick mulch protects the earth and little plants from the harsh sun and keeps moisture in. What a simple, but life-changing project!
As we continue to move forward, our plans are to expand this project in 2013 because we've already seen what is possible. When we have hard facts of how the veggies are helping livestock and humans, we'll grow this program to include as many families as we can.
Thank you for being part of this, friends. You are truly giving hope and life to many folks in desperate situations. Don't hesitate to tell others about this great project and to ask them to support it as well.
Friends, we are hanging on to first place in the Global Giving photo contest, but by a thread. Can you please help us win by voting here http://www.globalgiving.org/poll/vote/?pollOptionId=21 and by asking friends to vote and to share on Facebook, Twitter, and by email?
At this point, we have $6,000 in prize money and matching grants hanging on winning this photo contest, so please help us win. Voting ends on Wednesday at noon EST.
Thanks so much, all.
On behalf of the children,
One of the photos taken by the American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA) has been selected as a finalist in a contest hosted by Global Giving. Here is the link where you can vote for our photo http://www.globalgiving.org/poll/vote/?pollOptionId=21/. I took this photo while in Zimbabwe during a goat distribution to grandmothers who are raising AIDS orphans.
The photo which receives the most votes by noon on August 15th will win $1000 for the organization from GG, plus $3000 extra in matching grants we've been pledged AND it will be highlighted on the Global Giving home page, which opens us up to many more donations. Voting starts on August 1 at noon EST, so we must get ready to vote and to ask others to vote as well.
Only one vote will be accepted per email address, so voting more than once from the same email address does not count.
Please send out emails and post on social media as soon as you can. Think creatively, too. You can take your laptop to a café and you can ask people to vote for us right then and there. Or, take your smartphone to work and ask all of your colleagues to vote.
On behalf of the kids,
My family and I are spending the summer in Zimbabwe, seeing first hand and in detail how the projects AFCA has supported are doing. We are also having the amazing opportunity to deliver livestock and experience the joy felt by the guardians and children who receive the gifts. We are simply loving every minute of this adventure, even when we don't have electricity or water for 24 hours at a time. Wednesday is a good day because we have both water and electricity all day long...the only day of the week.
Yesterday, we delivered 60 goats to 20 families in a small village called Coronation, outside a town called Masvingo. It was so exciting! I got to tag ears while a veterinary vaccinated the animals. We handed them out to the families and rejoiced as they sang, clapped and stomped, showing their happiness at the gift. They know that if they follow our process, they will soon become self-reliant, able to pay for their own medicines, school fees, rents, and food. This is our goal - work ourselves out a of a job. We have a long way to go, but little by little, we will get there.
Thank you for being part of this great work! We couldn't do it without you. If you'd like to follow our adventure, please check out http://afcaids.blogspot.com/.
There are two components to the Livelihoods Program in Zimbabwe: one is the provision of small livestock (goats, chickens and rabbits) and the other is the provision of food so that the animals get a chance to produce and reproduce before they are sold, bartered or eaten.
The wait can seem long in some cases, as a family must wait THREE years for its goat herd to grow before they can slaughter or sell an animal. But, they do get to drink the milk and they do get to use the manure in their gardens, so not all is waiting and waiting and waiting. The wait time for chickens and rabbits is only one year, but again, the manure is used for gardens and children benefit from eating some of the eggs while the others are left to become chickens. All in all, the kids DO have to wait a long time before they can move to the next step of their program.
That in-between time can be tough, even with gardens growing from the manure and with the milk and eggs. To supplement their diets, AFCA also provides a monthly food basket to the most needy of the orphans with whom we work. The basket includes oil, salt, flour, fish, and beans. This rounds out what the children already have at hand and gives them a more balanced meal, helping them get healthy and allowing them to return to school now that their bellies are full.
I will be heading out to Zimbabwe for the entire summer of 2012 and I just can't wait to see the kids and how they are doing! It has been a year since I was there, chasing goats and chickens and watching people's faces light up in joy as they received their animals. Now, I get the chance to go back to visit and to see how the programs are running. We'll be introducing a new reporting system and I am excited about that, too. Ah! It is always nice to go to a place that feels like home, isn't it? I promise to come back with photos and stories to share!
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