The women of Mahenye are ready for a second nutrit
By Dr J.Garnier | Project director
The first Mahenye Nutrition Garden
The first nutrition garden of Mahenye has been a real success in allowing around fifty women to grow vegetables and ensure better nutrition diversity and security for their families. In addition, surplus vegetables are sold to the nearby Chilo Gorge Lodge which conservation track record and commitment to local communities is unequaled in Southern Africa and personalized by Clive Stockil, visionary and emblematic conservationist. Thanks to our friend Clive who is also considered as an elder by the Mahenye community, we are in very close touch with the women of Mahenye.
Recently, Mahenye women expressed the need to develop a second nutrition garden in another section of the village, building up on the success of this first project. The funds secured through your support will enable to empower further the Shangaan women of Mahenye – a community who has always lived with a profound understanding of wildlife and the unique ecosystem of Gonarezhou National Park – the Place of the Elephants.
The Mahenye Shangaan community has been engaged in a community-based conservation and tourism programme for more than 30 years which has enabled it to withstand very significant climatic, economic and socio-political over times. Such a resilience is largely due to the vision and committment of the community and of Campfire pioneer Clive Stockil who developed a unique ecotourism experience in partnership with Mahenye. But now that black rhinos are back in Gonarezhou National Park, an even more unique experience can be offered to tourists visiting Chilo Lodge as this crtically endangered and emblematic species roams again in the Park.
But this also benefits the women of Mahenye and their nutrition gardens, as more clients in the lodge also means more income to them, directly and indirectly with surplus vegetables from the nutrition gardens being sold to the lodge. And with our support they can now expand their gardens and generate more income that will directly benefit their health, that of their families, of their animals and of wildlife... True One Health in Action.
The Mahenye community-based conservation programme is one of the few examples illustrating the way forward for the new set of targets for biodiversity conservation agreed at the Montreal-Kunming conference last December. It was agreed that “at least 30% of terrestrial, inland water, and of coastal and marine areas” were to be conserved by 2030, but more importantly, it also provided a timely recognition of local communities’ leading and fundamental roles that they have always played in biodiversity conservation.
The Mahenye One Health programme is a critical component of the whole biodiversity agenda by improving women and their families’ nutrition but by also generating revenues for women. There are currently two nutrition gardens which have now been established but one of them is still missing solar panels for the water pump to be operational, meaning women have to do it all manually with hand pumps and buckets. We need you renewed support to make sure we can improve women’s lives and nutrition, which in turn will help conserving one of the last elephants’ stronghold in Africa.
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