COMPLIMANTERY livelihoods activities as one of the strategies used by HOCIC ZIMBABWE in their programming have been a great pillar in fighting gender-based violence through women empowerment. Gardens owned and run by women are one of the assets that has been used under this strategy.
Partners of Oxfam gathered at Sisonke garden in ward 1 Maphisa, Matobo district for a “look and learn visit,” on 18 December 2020.
Present were representatives from 5 organisations, Musasa, Padare, Women’s coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ), Shamwari Yemwanasikana, Women Academy for leadership, politics and excellence (WALPE), Midlands AIDS Caring Organisation (MACO) and Oxfam Zimbabwe as the donor of these partners.
“We are honoured to be in the presence of great organisations all the way from Mashonaland, here to look and learn how we run our garden here at Sisonke projects,” said the ward 1 Councillor, Jabulani Mafu.
Sisonke garden is a project under HOCIC run by the ward 1 Securing Rights Program women. This garden was established in 2017 through the food for asset program by World food programme. Through the Electric Aid fund, Oxfam came in to help boost water production as it is a challenge in the garden.
Water production is very low in Sisonke garden. The capacity of the solar powered borehole struggled to generate enough capacity to supply the 1 hectare garden. The Electric Aid grant helped in the drilling of another borehole, add more solar panels to the system to boost water generation. Water challenge has compromised crop production in the garden.
“When our water level is too low we reduce the size of beds planted to fit the water we have,” said one of the garden members, Sinethemba Nyoni.
Even if there are challenges in the garden, members are cooperative and the garden has been of value in their lives.
“To get seedlings, we pay our monthly subscriptions which we then use to buy anything we need in the garden,” another garden member Nobuhle Gatsheni said.
“This project has been of much benefit in our lives. Through this project we have managed to provide for our families, pay fees for our children, not depending on the man of the house,” she added.
In the meantime, small portion has been planted in the garden, as the members are working on their household fields given the good rainy season.
The SRP Project Officer, Ellen Mhlanga said only a few beds have been planted from the front end of the garden, and from the other end a new initiative is being implemented. They want to use the garden as a teaching tool om community cohesion, conflict resolution and vibrant income generating project.
“All along each member had been assigned to manage a portion in the garden, but we are now implementing the ‘work-together-as-one’ initiative whereby we have the bigger portion of rhe garden planted and managed by the whole team,” she added.
Sisonke garden members seem to be interested in this new initiative.
“Working together as one will be a great idea implemented as it will help bring unity and togetherness in this garden,” said the Chairperson of Sisonke garden.
“As our name says it all, Sisonke-We are together, we will fulfill the mission and vision of this project together as a community,” she added.
Income generating projects are poised to help women and vulnerable households in Matobo’s ward 1 who are far from Maphisa Centre. The establishment will serve as a food supplement o households and the surplus will be sold.