We’re immensely proud that the government of Zimbabwe has recognised the value of our Pfumvudza model for agricultural plot management and has asked us to see it rolled out to 1.6 MILLION houses. We’re to be training 6,000 extension officers who work in communities and soon we’re know that in addition to project work in schools, so many others will be getting the benefit of seeing one hectare of land yielding 450kg of maize through traditional framing methods going up to 800kg per one sixteenth of a hectare!
There’s a flip side to the coin, but with every disaster comes opportunity, or so they say. As Coronavirus put Zimbabwe into lockdown this left staff teams confined to their homes often unable to work due to lack of internet or IT equipment. However we’re proud to say that this did not stop us from getting some work of real value done. The Foundations for Farming method has taught people for years on the leading methods in climate smart agriculture, teaching stewardship of the land for a sustainable future in the face of climate change whilst simultaneously providing better crop yields to feed the people we work with. This lockdown gave us the opportunity to review how we are delivering our programme and we’re happy to say that work is underway to build on our delivery methodology and make it into something even stronger. We’ve been looking at how communities adopt the lessons we teach in schools. How to overcome reticence to adopt farming methods which are lot in line with what people were brought up to do. The answer of course has many routes but at their core it’s about involvement. With on-going funding support going to make it happen. In schools it’s about proving crop yields and inviting parents and communities to see it. We aim to involve communities in support the development of nutritional gardens and share in the lessons we teach schools. Building on the success of the Pfumvudza adoption we’re working to ensure that this invaluable knowledge is adopted as widely as possible. This is indeed an exciting time for our work.
Nest Literacy Project - Chicken Project for Sustainablity
On the 10th of January 2020, a Foundations for Farming team visited Nest Literacy Centre to deliver 20 laying chickens to support the school as part of this Income Generation Initiative. Previously, the FfF trainers had built a chicken house to accommodate the 20 birds and delivered the chicken feed and supplements.The students from the school benefit from the project as they will learn how to rear chickens and make money from the eggs they lay. Dry spells and and difficulty in planting a maize crop have made the school's chicken project all the more important.
There has been some change in staffing at the school and one of the teacher's we previously trained in Conservation Agriculture is now taking a lead. They will continue to share this knowledge with staff, students and the wider community.
The Nest Literacy Centre, with our fundraising support is planning to place a water borehole on-site which would revolutionise thier conservation agriculture activities and create a far more sustainable future for the hundreds of students who attend this impoverished facility.
This has been an exciting quarter for FfF. They have successfully built a Chicken Layer Unit at the Nest Literacy Centre which can accommodate 20 birds. The unit is part of a small-scale egg production project that fits into FfF's wider objectives of sustainable development: the project has the potential to encourage sustainable income generation for the school through selling the eggs; four teachers have been trained how to grow crops using Sustainable Agricultural Methods (Conservation Agriculture) to promote increased productivity; this training will complement the egg production project, as well as sustain it for up to three years.
The Chicken Layer Unit Process:
Due to a sudden increase in the price of the building materials, the construction process took a little longer than expected. However, the pupils from the school assissted the FfF trainers in the process, sharing the workload and ultimately reducing the time taken to construct the Unit. It was encouraging to see how hard the students worked during the process, and how they took ownership of the project for the benefit of the school and the their fellow students. It was particularly important that they understood that the success of the project and its sustinably for future cohorts was dependent on their commitment to it, but their eagerness to see the project come to life demonstrated their appreciation of this.
FfF is currently in the process of acquiring the 20 layer chickens and the required feed to support the project for a year. This will help support the school in the initial stages of the project until it is able to generate enough income from the eggs to either expand the project or erect learning facilities for the students, or a security fence around the school premises. The students at the school have been busy gathering the bedding material required for the chickens to lie in. This can be found in the form of dry grass or wood shavings. Once the project is up and running, the students will also be able to learn about entrepreneurship from the project, and start to gain experience to start their own small projects at home.
The main target is to ensure that the project starts to generate income by the end of 2019. Other targets include:
Increased income generated by the projet by April 2020
Incorporate yield from the fields to support the project by April 2020
Construction of proper learning facilities to commence by September 2010
These milestones are expected to be met by the school by December 2020.
This quarter saw a period of consolidation and planning as we look to raise funds to take on the next stage of our work.
We're in the process scoping and costing out the resources we need to prepare the farmland and chicken's area to allow the NEST School to develop their sustainable farming methods and produce crops which will support their own needs and with a surplus they can sell and use to by educational resources. This will support the local economy so everybody wins.
Watch this space for more detail to follow but please help us now by getting the fundraising ball rolling.
Foundations for Farming has over the past year been involved in the training of Tertiary Education students from several Agricultural Institutions in Zimbabwe. The objective of the trainings has been to introduce as well as complement any Conservation Agriculture (CA) teachings or programs, that may be in the educational curriculums in the institutions.
To date Foundations for Farming has trained close to 400 students and 60 staff members from the participating institutions. Most of the students trained have been women and girls with a percentage of 65% and men and boys contributing 35% of the students trained. This statistic shows how women contribute immensely in Zimbabwe’s Agricultural sector, which is considered the backbone of the country’s economy. Therefore, their role in the rebuilding of the Zimbabwean economy is undeniably significant.
More students are expected to be trained, as Foundations for Farming drives to eradicate hunger and poverty as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for Africa and the world. Hopefully, Climate Smart Agricultural practices such as CA will become part of policy to reduce environmental degradation as well as carbon emissions released into the atmosphere.
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