SHG members sell fuit and veggies at a Market Day
“It’s raining, it’s pouring, the crops are all growing”... This is what many of the SHG members of Zimele, who have food gardens, were singing in recent months. Zimele is Sinamandla’s largest SHG partner, based in KwaZulu-Natal province, and they received significant funding to expand their SHG project to all districts within the province over the next two years – already they have over 350 SHGs and more than 4 000 women in their groups.
The women involved in Zimele’s Agricultural Programme have planted a variety of crops this year that are growing well, thanks to good rains. Most women grow fruits and vegetables for home consumption while many also grow them to sell locally. Many bought quality seed potatoes at the Farmers Day held in Swayimane in June. For those women who planted early there should be a good harvest at a premium price in December. Other vegetable seedlings were purchased too and these will also be ready to harvest soon.
“It is a beautiful sight to see new growth everywhere,” says Hannes Mentz, Zimele’s Agricultural Programme co-ordinator. “In October the Zimele SHG farmers received training in the growing of seed potatoes. Three nurseries were established, each with seven varieties of potatoes, and the farmers will be able to purchase vines from these nurseries. We also have begun the promotion of butternut seedlings. Each farmer received a number of these seedlings to try out and we will be holding a competition for the farmer with the best yield.” Twelve of the SHG farmers recently entered a nationwide competition to grow giant pumpkins.
Forty Zimele farmers will soon have the opportunity to attend a week-long agricultural training course, mainly focusing on increasing soil fertility. Six of the Zimele Farmer Support Groups have each adopted a local crèche and will assist each crèche to create their own food gardens to feed their children from. The children will also be involved in caring for the food gardens.
Many thanks to all our donors, we appreciate your support that enables Sinamandla to support Zimele and another 11 organisations with SHG projects during 2013. Sinamandla continues to work towards reaching its fundraising targets on GlobalGiving so please consider making another donation in 2013 before year-end in order to help Sinamandla promote the SHG project and welcome in thousands more vulnerable women in poor communities to new SHGS in the months ahead.
Please do think of any family member or friends who would be interested in the work of Sinamandla through its Self-help Groups and do forward them this newsletter or our website link.
SHG members receive training on planting seedlings