Bulawayo - The end of the year often brings with it joyous festivities and celebrations as individuals and families alike, reflect on their journey throughout the previous twelve months. In that same spirit, the Zimbabwe Development Democracy Trust (ZDDT) family recently gathered at Greenfield Gardens, Emganwini to honour market gardens that have excelled in 2019.
In attendance at these garden awards were ZDDT staff led by the National Development Officer (NDO) Mr Simon Spooner, Emganwini gardeners and representatives from the other three ZDDT supported gardens, Sizinda Community Gardens, Kirimuva and the Women’s Day Care Centre.
In his address, ZDDT NDO, emphasised the importance of treating the various community developments as a co-investment by both the Sally Foundation and the local beneficiaries whose combined efforts have produced such promising results.
“According to 2013 Zimbabwe constitution, the gardens don’t belong to anyone else but all the beneficiaries who are members of the garden,” added Mr Spooner.
Sally foundation, through ZDDT and facilitating partners, GDG, has been committed to the gardens and various other self-help projects within Bulawayo since 2014, helping to confront the poverty pandemic that has ravished the people of Zimbabwe in recent times.
Unlike the norm with many other aid organisations, since the inception of their work in Bulawayo, Sally Foundation has been resolute in their mantra of investing rather than providing hand-outs to the less privileged. This has propagated the mind-set of self-help and independency, strengthening the self-belief of the individual.
Emganwini Greenfields Garden, which won the much coveted first prize at the 2019 awards, is the epitome and manifestation of the goal of the programme and, having started out as a rubbish dumpsite in 2017, has become the most productive community garden in Bulawayo with over 140 beneficiary families.
“A few weeks ago, the Greenfields committee approached ZDDT with ZWL$1000 in hand that they had raised from the sale of their red onion crop and said they wanted to increase their drip irrigation acreage. ZDDT consulted with Sally Foundation which acknowledged the initiative and responded with their own contribution to ensure that the full investment could go ahead. Together we managed to install the irrigation on another of their commercial sections,” said Mrs Yvonne Berkhout, who is the ZDDT horticultural consultant.
This is a clear demonstration that the ZDDT has been able to create a paradigm shift in the mind of beneficiaries who use the little they already have to try and better their situation and add value to the assistance that has been afforded to them.
Other gardens, such as the Women’s Day Care Centre in Pumula, have also achieved a successful milestone with their first export of carrots to Livingstone in Zambia which were supplied through Bulawayo-based vegetable produce wholesaler, Paddys.
Gogo Matshuma, who is the vice chairperson at the Women’s Day Care Centre, said “The year was difficult as we were struggling with buying diesel for generator (To power the pump) but now that Sally Foundation has installed solar, we can look forward to a prosperous 2020”.
Ever since being established, ZDDT has also promoted democratic principles at community level and Sizinda Community Garden, which came second at the awards, were applauded for fighting to gain control of their garden through legal means from an errant board of politicians, a development that continues to empower communities to hold authority to account.
The 2019 garden awards thus became a celebration of the co-investment that Sally Foundation continues making and how the nutritional gardens have become a food provider and major contributor to the financial livelihood of beneficiaries and the communities in which they are situated.
In a four-way partnership, Sally Foundation, GDG, ZDDT and participating communities, plans have been put in place for 2020 which promises a brighter future as the spirit of cooperation and self-help has become the blueprint to enable impoverished people to dig themselves out of the mire of poverty that has beset a Zimbabwe driven by selfish and irresponsible politics.