Rural Zambian Sustainable Agricultural Project REMIX
My name is Heather Corinne Cumming; I was a Peace Corps Volunteer from 2004-2006 in Zambia, Africa whereby I helped in a rural community to do an outreach education project via the radio. In 2006 I re
The intention is to alleviate hunger through the community's proactive efforts in planting seeds for respective community gardens and to use the excess food to feed their families, to generate income and to further projects in their villages. Additional emphasis on working with arts and crafts to preserve traditional Tonga culture near the Lower Zambezi River in Zambia, Africa. Other project model in the future to be implemented in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Aims of Project
- To alleviate hunger through people's proactive efforts of planting seeds in community gardens and through a sustainable agricultural activity
- To bring water to a relatively dry rural area
- To empower local people through their own ideas
- To encourage local income-generation through vegetable growing, traditional African medicine, and arts and crafts
- To display interest in helping develop at the grassroots level of a community
- To desire the betterment of the lives of those in indigenous communities
- To increase interest in empowering both women and men, individuals and groups to uplift the living standards of the people
- To consider other people who are less-fortunate than they and to proactively work to enhance the quality of those lives
Short Description of Project
Simwatachela Community - located approximately eighty kilometers from Kalomo, Southern Province, Zambia, is a hard-working, industrious community. I lived within this community for two years, and I speak their local language (CiTonga). In April 2008, the community gave me land specifically for the purpose of starting a sustainable agricultural program. My goal is to create community groups that will each farm a small portion of land and grow vegetables on community gardens which will aid in problems with hunger and malnutrition in the village. The two in-country directing counterparts working for this program are Gibson Sinan'gombe and John Dickson Siandwa. (Simwatachela Sustainable Agricultural and Arts Program - Sibooli Branch)
In the last year, another community has arisen in the Simwatachela Area that is anxious to use the same development model. This community is located about ten kilometers from a small town called Zimba, which is sandwiched between Kalomo and Livingstone, the tourist capital of Zambia. The in-country directing counterpart for this program is named Elijah Chikoma. (Simwatachela Sustainable Agricultural and Arts Program - Zimba Branch)
The same project model, which thus far has been helping to serve many in the Southern Province of Zambia, if proven to be highly successful will be implemented in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where I have family (my child is half-Sierra Leonean) as well as many counterparts in the Eastern Province, a small village called Daru. The in-country directing counterparts for this program are Israel Koroma, Mohamed Clifford Kamara and Bockarie Kamara. (Simwatachela Sustainable Agricultural and Arts Program - Sierra Leone Branch)
I returned to Zambia after having lived in Simwatachela from January 2004 to April 2006 with the U.S. Peace Corps. I returned to the Simwatachela Rural Catchment Area in April 2008 as the villagers and headmen of the villages had requested me back. I had been given land, about 140 hectares, and asked to return by numerous friends in the village specifically for the sake of completing a large-scale sustainable agricultural and arts project.
The project will consist of the various community groups, already formed - examples: Womens' Groups, Bee-Keeping Groups, HIV/AIDS groups, Malaria Groups, Arts & Crafts Groups. The groups will organize themselves and will form committees within their prospective groups. After organizing, each group will receive a small plot of land on which to raise vegetables. We use the term 'Community Garden', similar to those in the U.S.A. and other developed countries, however minus the fee for the plot of land. A friend in the States donated a large portion of seeds entirely for the sake of this project, as did seed exchange groups and a few other established seed companies.
After the land has been cleared, and the people indicate their seriousness about the project, the organization's coordinators will distribute the seeds to those who are willing and want to work. Growing vegetables will help, ideally:
- to aid in hunger problems in the village
- to provide a source of nutrition
- to provide income from sales
It is a large-scale project whose duration will endure ten to fifteen years. It is a large-scale project whose duration will endure ten to fifteen years. The predicted issue is a lack of water within the land - especially from August to October which is the season of heat and draught in Southern Province, Zambia. Finding sources of water in which to aid this project will be instrumental in its success.
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