Backyard Gardens- A Source of Food Production and Livelihoods

 Nsugeni Community Basesd Organization believe that women have a strong sense of community and they are always helping others. This is true with community gardening, a project being funded by Global Health from the Methodist United Church in USA.  These gardens are often established at the back or side of a home or school /community property because families or children are keen to become involved with the communities they live and work in and where they are daily confronted with poverty or nutritional challenges.

As a women led organization, we are committed to support families who are interested and engaged in low-cost food production as community gardens make ecological sense. We have seen local ruralfarmers plantting hedges and other flora around their plots. Community Gardens The gardens can be anything from 1,000 to 5,000 square metres in size.Mary Kombe is leading by example- She strongly fees that eating vegetables regularly, has improved her health.

Early Rains Calls for Early Planning and Planting

Our first touch of 2017 rains dropped. What that means is a sign that we may need early preparation of our fields for farming. At Nsugeni Community Based Organization we are getting ready with 6-7 women groups to grow additional food to support their families. We are planning to hold agriculture plot demonstrations, mentorship with Ministry of Agriclture and most importantly to ensure that we grow ecological sustainable agriculture and nutrition food. We are also going to ensure that we follow through and visit our groups to ensure they get the necessary support and that we track their progress so that we can report to our donors on the changes happening to their lives.

Image by Daily Mail- Example land preparation after first rains

Image by Daily Mail- Example land preparation after first rains

Planning Ahead For The Next 6 Months

With less than 6 months left before the year end, Nsugeni Community Based Organization had it's mid term planning to prioritize its work. We are going to focus our work on three key priorities.

1. Agriculture support to Women Groups. We want to continue to help women as our priority so that they produce additional food to support their families and children. We intend to reach out and support 5-6 groups.

2. We are hoping to find sponsors for 9 of our young girls we are still in need of educational support. We are appealing to the community to join us in helping these young girls go back to school .

3. We also want to continue empowering ourselves at Nsugeni Community Based Organization so that we have the necessary skills to help the communities we support even better and document what we do.

4. Finally, even though this has been a challenge, we still want to help our community schools by rehabilitating some of the dilapidated schools so that children have access to better, safer and heathier facilities such as toilets and drinking facilities.

Conservation Farming- Solution for Increased Food Production

Nsugeni Community Based organization believes that Conservative Agriculture (CA) helps to improve soil management practices that minimize the disruption of the soil's structure, composition and natural formation. At our organization, we have seen that conservation farming has the potential to improve crop yields, while improving the long-term environmental and financial sustainability of farming. In doing so, during the month of July/August, (the beginning of the farming season) we conducted a series of training to local rural farmers on how to practice Conservation Farming. Mr. Constantine Mwape, a local farmer provided his skills on how to prepare the land. It is anticipated that 7 community farms will be initiated that will practice CA for improved food production in Mpima Scheme.

Constantine Mwape- Teaching Farmers on Conservation farming

Constantine Mwape- Teaching Farmers on Conservation farming

Supporting Women Impactfully

It is totally true when Womankind Worldwide articulate that, “Without financial independence, women are less able to escape abusive relationships or influence decisions in their communities. We work with our partners to deliver training for women to earn their own income, to help girls continue their education, and give rural women access to loans and credit.” This is totally a reflection of what we are all about as a local organization. Our promise and commitment is to reach 50 women groups by the year 2020 and offer the necessary tools and skills to get them out of extreme poverty by embarking on a continue programme that includes : Education/Livelihoods skills; Loans/grants for Small Business to help them increase their income and finally, we want to make sure that women and young girls have access to local assets and control some of them as well.0

Supporting Women Groups to Keep and Sale Chickens - An Intergrated Approach

Women Community Groups are becoming even more smarter here in Zambia. They are embracing the idea of “integrated” food security and working on a combo of various types of projects. Health, Education and now food security. With continued support from Global Health, a US based organization, Nsugeni Community Based Organization is working with these women groups to fulfill their dreams. Our newest friend is in Natuseko Community that have unanimously agreed to raise chickens for meat (healthy food) and for sale (livelihoods to raise income).

Hybrid chicken in Zambia in generally more expensive to keep, but communities tend to get higher returns than the local breeds, popularly known as “Trotter’s” . Nsugeni CBO is more confident that Women Groups keeping chickens will get a return on their investment in just two months compared to our traditional “Trotters” that require at least seven months before they can sell the birds off as food. 

Community Health- Backbone for Development

Nsugeni Community Based Organization continues to implement an integrated approach to development that forsters health at the center of all it's work. We believe that if communities are healthy, they can do more and improve on their economic livelihoods. As a priority on our work relations with communities, we continue to promise them and support them with access to basic health care information and nutrion as a fundamental process of development. In July, our Health Director,Mr. James Milunga, conducted a series of primary health care/nutrition trainings that focused primarily on:

1. Nutrition and Health Care

2. Relationship between water/sanitation (WASH) AND healthy living

3. The role that community members can play in helping spread good health standards among families, children and farmers.

Angels Making A Difference With ZKW 100 ($10) /Month

Every month our donor Alexis commits Zkw100 ($10) to support our work in Zambia. As little as it may seem, this money goes a long way in helping changing he lives of children. For instance just the past 4 months, Alexis has been able to help 3 children go back to school while we continue to look for additional donors.

Please click here to read this amazing report on how your donation of Zkw 100 ($10)month can make a difference.

The Pride OF Hard Work

Twice a week, I join my women friends to walk about 200 meters to our local community garden where we spend our valuable time. We not only work on the farms, but we interact and share stories of love joy and learning. Last week, one of my friends shared a story how her grandchild finally made his first baby step- a proud grandmother of 4. It’s these movements that we cherish despite all the hardship we face. These communal gatherings at the local farms brings us together and help us embrace our traditions and love. We also learn a lot from each other.

The most important aspect is what we hope to get out of these community gardens. At our group, we are very positive that this vegetable garden season will produce beans, cabbages, rape, tomatoes and cowpeas. I know for sure we will support our families with food on the table and will be able to sale some of these produces. Nsugeni Community Based Organization is doing a great job helping us engage in these activities as it helps us improve our health and increase our food production.

Women Group at Tubombe Preparing field for Vegetable Garden

Women Group at Tubombe Preparing field for Vegetable Garden

Progress Made Through Backyard Gardens

By Teresa Bwalya, Director Nsugeni Community Based Organization

Every day is a challenge for most of our families in rural Kabwe. We wake up and not knowing where the next meal will come from. Income is erratic as there is no formal employment or informal source of income other than sporadic income activities scattered around with family’s members. When communities and donors tell us whether it’s true that we survive on $1 per day, I used to think that was the most shocking mockery of all time. But it’s the truth.

Working and being part of Nsugeni Community Based Organization is a life changing moment for me. I’m responsible for education programme supporting young children, particularly young girls in school and working with Parents Teachers Associations. Recently I have also been assigned a tusk to identify and work with women families that are struggling to put food on the table by helping them engage in “small backyard vegetable gardens” during the lean season when vegetables are prime source of food and income. Our goal for 2017, with support from a faith based organization in the USA called Global Health, we are aiming to reach out to 50 families either as individuals or communal groups with a goal to contribute in food production at community, household and national level.

Nsugeni CBO is providing inputs such as seeds, hoes, trainings and access to basic information on markets so that some value is added to the produce that the families grow. Selection of these families will be based on vulnerability, orphans at household level and ability to work on the small back yard gardens. Our target is that out of the 50 families, we anticipate to reach 300 individual beneficiaries by the end of the project. If you would like to join our movement to help support these families, please visit our website on www.nsugenicbo.org or send us an email at nsugenicbo@gmail.com . For a donation of ZKW270 ($30) you can make a difference