The great strides made by Progressive garden members in Ward 14 Gwanda District, bear testimony to the fact that indeed Hand in Hand Zimbabwe is transforming livelihoods through Climate smart interventions.
The 43-member group which is being supported by Hand in Hand Zimbabwe under the Green Enterprise Project (GEP) has established a flourishing garden and a tree nursery since its inception in 2018.
Prior to intervention, members say they were living in abject poverty for years as a result of poor harvests induced by drought in the district, but upon meeting Hand in Hand Zimbabwe their fortunes quickly changed.
After members had completed their trainings, on business management, horticulture management, natural resources management and tomato production, the organisation swiftly erected a fence and installed a solar water pump for the group.
Within a short space of time, the group increased production as they were no longer reliant on wells and natural rainfall, which is erratic in the region.
To date, group members boast of having planted and sold an array of crops such as butternut, tomatoes, sugar beans, chomolia and onion. The group has also planted 63 types of fruit trees that include mango, banana, orange, guava, lemon, grape and pawpaw which are a refreshing sight in the garden.
To complement the crops, members of the garden also planted Vetiver grass as the plant helps to stabilise soil, protect soil against pests and has favourable qualities for goat and cattle feed.
From the crops and fruit tree seedlings they have sold so far, group members have received an income of ZAR4,300 and have channelled some of the money towards starting a poultry and goat project.
Apart from selling their produce to community vendors and restaurants, schools and a nearby hospital, the group sets aside a small percentage of their produce for family consumption and this has aided in providing basic nutrition for their families.
One of the group members Getrude Ndlovu (45) said the garden project has greatly transformed their livelihoods.
“Hand in Hand Zimbabwe has empowered us with knowledge on how to run a good business and provided for us with technical support.
“Through the garden project, I now have financial freedom and can take care of myself and my four (4) grandchildren.
“We used to live on food hand-outs but we now have a sustainable source of income,” she said.
Green Enterprises Project is one of the economically and environmentally viable projects that has been adopted by Hand in Hand Zimbabwe as a pilot venture in Gwanda district. The project was incepted in September 2018 and is expected to run until August 2021. The project seeks to achieve improved sustainable economic activities and strengthen resilience to climate change for the resource-constrained communities – particularly women and young people