Families continue to crack marula nuts to sell the kernals to Kudvumisa Foundaiton for money for essentials. Kudvumisa Foundation has begun searching for external markets for the oil we press from the marula kernals. As we are able to find markets for the oil, the volumes we can sell increases. This allows us to expand the number of communities we can buy the kernals from, empowering even more families.
As Covid lockdowns and even civil unrest have upset the "normal" economy, those that are already impoverished and isolated have an even harder time surviving. Being able to sell the wild and locally harvested marula nuts provides a sometimes critical cash income to help with food and other essentials.
As we purchase higher quantities of the marula kernals, we will be purchasing a second manual oil press, designed and built here in Eswatini. This should be a higher efficiency press, increasing the percentage of the oil we can extract form the kernals.
Maria, a volunteer trains on the electric machines
Covid lockdowns were more than an inconvenience for many that we work with here in eSwatini. One project we champion was hit especially hard. We have worked with a group of women who live in an informal settlement in northern Lubombo for almost ten years now. A sewing project was started where the ladies in the group received training to be able to make products that could be sold in a local shop that catered to higher end patrons and tourists and was exported to the US and sold there.
Making the products, these women gained a sense of dignity and independence from the sometimes appalling circumstances of where they lived. The income gave them the ability to make choices about their lives and families they never could have otherwise.
Covid changed all that. Border closures, grounded flights, total lockdowns all contributed to a complete collapse of the markets they typically would have sold to. They are survivors though.
Since the beginning of this year, we’ve restarted the project as we anticipate a post-covid return to some type of normalcy. We’ve been able to add two electric machines for two ladies to use at our facility. So some work is still done on their hand crank machines, but finishing is done on the electric machines.
Kudvumisa Foundation strives to empower the surrounding communities to participate in economic development projects that will empower them to take control of their circumstances and lives. For several years, we have encouraged local participation in trapping Australian Redclaw Crawfish for resale into a local market. We buy live crawfish from local community members who catch them from the surrounding dams and waterway. We cook them and freeze them for resale.
Every emalangeni ($) we are able to put back into the community is an opportunity for people to take back control of their lives. To choose for themselves their priorities for schooling, health care, food etc.
Join us in empowering an impoverished, isolated and marginalized community by creating the space for community and economic development in Maphiveni and the surrounding communities.
Economic empowerment requires two things: identifying under or unutilized local resources or skills and then connecting them to markets where the resources and skills have value. That is Kudvumisa Foundation’s model. Covid-19 has thrown a wrench in being able to access local resources and broken the connection to markets. In some case, the markets have completely disappeared as borders have remained closed for months now.
Until things begin to return to something close to the old “normal”, life has become very hard for many that Kudvumisa serves.
An example is Phindile in Vuvulane in eastern Eswatini. She is unemployed and raises her children alone. She relies on the Kudvumisa mobile health outreach for her health care. On this day, it was their second day going to bed without food. Thanks to donors, Kudvumisa is able to battle food insecurity caused by the complete breakdown of markets that Covid-19 has caused. Phindile shared "The Bible says we should not worry about tomorrow because God will take care of it." She thanked Kudvumisa Foundation for what they have done for her and added they must continue doing it for others as well.
Unfortunately, Phindile and her children’s situation is not unique. Kudvumisa Foundation will continue to try to develop markets and open opportunities for Phindile and the hundreds like her in eastern Eswatini. In the interim, malnutrition and food insecurity are the major daily hurdles. Your donations help families weather this storm and prepare the way for future economic empowerment.
The corona virus continues to impact everyone worldwide. In Eswatini, the country has cycled back and forth between full and partial lockdowns. Essential services were allowed to continue operating and crossing roadblocks (with proper documentation of course). Public transport (which most everyone relies on) was shut down, allowed, and then restricted again. Mask had to be worn by everyone, which led to mass confusion as people were just sharing masks as they got on and off the busses and khombies (vans).
But the population Kudvumisa Foundation serves usually don’t have the resources to travel to the closest real grocery store anyway. So life hasn’t changed that much.
Kudvumisa Foundation still receives numerous people from the surrounding communities selling the marula nuts they have shelled or moringa seeds they’ve collected. While our markets have dried up altogether during this time, we continue to but the nuts and seeds from the surrounding community. The money they make can be critical even in the best of times as to whether they have food or not.
Kudvumisa Foundation is also upgrading our economic development work area during this time to become more hygienic for processing and storing the nuts, seeds and oils. Please help us come out of the Covid-19 season stronger and better able to serve the most impoverished, isolated and marginalized.
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