Green Schools – Water Wells & Nutrition Gardens

“Water – no matter who we are, what we do, or where we live, our lives depend on it.”

 

HIV and poverty are the two main killers of children and adults in Southern Africa, leaving thousands of orphans unable to attend school and in the care of their elders and community members, many of whom are malnourished or ill themselves.

The Rotary Club of Hunyani, has partnered with Environment Africa to work together to improve  the lives of  children and local communities through the  implementation of nutrition gardens and water wells in schools.  The ultimate goal is to enable these vulnerable communities to sustain themselves and to keep children in schools.

Ownership of  any project is essential  if  long term sustainability is to be achieved, hence  the involvement of the community is critical.  Water wells are dug and constructed by members of the community and an elephant pump is placed on the top.  The pump utilises simple technology that is easy to operate  enabling children to use it.

 

 

 

Once the well  has been dug and installed, Environment Africa assists the school together with community members  on how to optimally plan, design and plant  nutritional gardens, taking local conditions into consideration.  Areas of focus and education include:  water harvesting techniques,  fruit, vegetable and herb production, including uses, processing and storage. Training on low input cost techniques, alternative methods of pest and disease control  incorporating permaculture and integrated pest management.  Small livestock production, livestock fencing and composting methods are also taught.

“Before this project, we were not able to  produce anything on our dry barren land, but now we have water and flourishing gardens” says a form 3 pupil at Kwayedz Secondary school in Chakari District of Zimbabwe.  Chakari is in the agro-ecological region 3 and 4 characterised by erratic rainfall patterns and frequent crop failures.   Environment Africa has established a GREEN Schools Programme in this area which has the full support of the Ministry of Education  together with local councils, local leaders and the community.

The success of this project has resulted in Rotary recently securing  support from Rotary Clubs around the world for 30 more wells and nutrition gardens in the area.  25 wells have  already been dug to date.   The schools have become Centres of Excellence and members of the community are now replicating the gardens in their homes.  The gardens are managed in partnership with the community and in one school, cuttings were taken from a nutritional garden and 30 more gardens were then established in the area.  Mupamombe and Montana Primary Schools have already become water provision centres for the community.

We need more funding to extend this project to other areas in Zimbabwe with our next focus being schools and communities within the Green Zambezi Alliance (GZA) www.greenzambezialliance.org.   It costs £6000  to support a school with a water well and nutrition garden.  Our target is to support 200 schools.  38 schools have received support to date.

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