the program interventions strives to alleviate hunger and malnutrition among communities through enhanced access to appropriate agricultural technologies, farmer innovations, local knowledge systems and natural resources management in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way. while our interventions encompass a wide range of activities, all are customized to meet the strategic gender needs of each community.
The Extension and Training for Rural Agriculture (EXTRA) project is a three year programme being implemented in three districts in the Midlands Province (Gokwe South, Kwekwe and Shurugwi). The project is under the Livelihoods and Food Security Programme (LFSP) funded by DFID through FAO, whose overall goal is to improve food and nutrition security. The EXTRA project is being implemented by a consortium of five local and international non-governmental organisations (ICRISAT, Heifer International, We-Effect, Welt Hunger Hilfe, CTDO), CTDO is responsible for the delivery of the nutrition component of the project.
The annual project achievements are detailed below
A Nutrition Contextual Analysis and a Nutrition Barrier Analysis were conducted during the inception phase of the project. The findings from these two analyses were useful in directing nutrition programming particularly the development of the EXTRA Nutrition Behaviour Change Communication strategy.
One of the major roles of CTDO in the EXTRA project is to spearhead the mainstreaming of nutrition into agricultural production. The concept of nutrition sensitive agriculture was introduced to the EXTRA project areas through the FAO 2015 Healthy Harvest training manual. The purpose of the training was to show synergies between agricultural production and nutrition; explaining negative impacts agricultural production can have on nutrition; how rural households can grow and consume diverse nutritious foods; and preserve surplus produce for future consumption. Other topics covered included infant and young child feeding, basic hygiene and feeding during illness.
In rolling out the Health Harvest, CTDO used a Training of Trainers approach for provincial and district level staff from the EXTRA project, Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development (MAMID) and the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC). The training was cascaded to ward level extension workers, to lead farmers and community based mobilisers and eventually the farmers. The table below summarises the extension workers and lead farmers trained on the Healthy Harvest.
Small livestock demonstration plots were set up to increase the sources of protein for consumption by communities.
The „Pass on the Gift’ model will be used to increase the number of beneficiaries and rabbit demonstration plots. After the rabbits reproduce, the first litter will be passed on to other farmers within the group. A total of thirty rabbit demonstration plots were setup throughout the three districts. Standard rabbit housing was provided for the rabbit demonstration sites.
Garden days were held in the three districts with the aim of showcasing good agricultural practices. However, in addition to that, the EXTRA project’s intention of garden days was to use it as a learning platform; sharing not just agriculture issues but various other subjects particularly relating to health and nutrition. The Healthy Harvest was used to facilitate nutrition topics that included basic food groups and nutrients, malnutrition, better agriculture for better nutrition, safe harvesting, handling and storage; safe food preparations and better food for the family.
Most of the gardens were observed to be having the usual green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and onions. These are important for supplementing the household food basket; however diversity in terms of the availability/production of various food crops/vegetables (according to the food groups to ensure a balanced diet) is relatively poor in all the three districts. In order to emphasise the importance of variety in the gardens, EXTRA managed to provide seed packs for tomatoes, peas, carrots, cabbages and beetroots.
Number of garden days and attendance per site
Nine combined seed and food fairs were held across the three districts (5 in Gokwe South, 4 in Kwekwe and 2 in Gokwe South). The fairs aimed at exhibiting different seeds and foods that are in the communities. Various recipes were also showcased through the different foods exhibited. These recipes were documented and will be compiled into a recipe booklet for sharing with farmers in the EXTRA districts.
The evidence that some learning had taken place (through the Healthy Harvest and BCC trainings) could be seen through the exhibitions as farmers used the event to showcase their acquired and inherent knowledge of the importance of dietary diversity, indigenous foods, balanced meals, basic health and hygiene.
The farmers had an opportunity to exchange seeds by barter trade or cash sales. The importance of producing indigenous foods in light of Climate Change phenomena was emphasised by extension workers and seed houses and agro dealers who attended the fairs.
The richness of the diversity of seeds and foods that are available in Gokwe South, Kwekwe and Shurugwi communities is impressive. As a project, EXTRA can take advantage of this diversity and use it to promote the production and consumption of diverse nutritious foods by more and more farmers in these communities. An interesting observation was that most of the middle aged and young farmers attending the food fairs were not producing indigenous foods but showed interest in producing and consuming indigenous foods in the coming farming season. On the other hand elderly women farmers were the major exhibitors of indigenous foods. Such women have vast traditional knowledge on producing, preparing and consuming such foods; they stand as custodians of culture in all aspects including food and seed.
A DVD was produced for one of the food fairs. This will be shared with implementing partners and stakeholders and will serve as a benchmark for EXTRA food and seed fairs as the project aims to improve in the following year.
AACES- SHARED FUTURES PROJECT
The AACES – Shared Futures Project is being implemented in five selected wards of Mutoko District, focusing on three main interventions which are Food Security, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Maternal Child Health (MCH) with Policy and Advocacy and cross cutting issues of Gender, DRR and disability inclusiveness. The primary objective of the project is to achieve measurable improvements to the sustainable livelihoods and well-being of 3,000 vulnerable households in 30 communities in Eastern Zimbabwe (Mashonaland East). The principal focus of the project is to build on existing capacities and strengths through a strength-based approach and to support decentralization processes by increasing opportunities for marginalized people to advocate for the services they require. In that year, our major thrust was on sustainability of all AACES – SFP assets to ensure continuity and ownership.
There has been an improvement in the maternal sector services received by the target community. Key attributions being the projects support on the construction Maternal Waiting Homes (MWH). To date 3 homes are being utilized by the community at Kapondoro, Kawere and Makosa clinics of which Kapondoro was completed early in 2014. The project constructed maternal waiting homes as a way to bridge the geographic gap between the home and the health centre, as well as addressing PMTCT issues such as drug adherence in the case of HIV positive pregnant mothers and constant check-up of pregnant mothers. This year 2015, 160 women have utilized the MWHs and it was noted through the experience of the medical personnel at the three clinics, that it was easier for the nurses to monitor foetal progress and early detection of pregnancy related complications when the mothers were in the MWH.
The project carried out a number of men’s dialogue sessions in 5 operational wards with men as the major decision makers in households. The aim of the sessions was to encourage men to spearhead exclusive breastfeeding (in the HIV/AIDS context) up to the age of six months for the benefit of both mother and infant. The sessions were also promoting locally available foodstuffs for nourishment for the households and the use of MWH. A total of 191 males attended the sessions.
Key success of the project in the WASH sector in Mutoko has been the rehabilitation of non-functional water points and reviving water point committees. To date 20 807 individuals (10 957 females & 9 850 males) have access to portal water from 73 rehabilitated bush pumps, 1 solar driven pump and 1 electrical driven pump. The project has trained 75 water point committees (525 members) on sustainability of water points and were introduced to key service provision offices, such as the District Development Fund (DDF) for continued interaction and for purposes of receiving back-up technical water point management support.
The project used School Health Clubs (SHC) as a vehicle to disseminate health and hygiene messages in 10 schools. This is being done at schools where we constructed disability friendly latrines. The project extended support and strengthened school health clubs through health and hygiene education sessions to the teachers in collaboration with MoHCC. Teachers disseminate information to the SHC members and SHC members would in turn spread the information to other school children and their parents through dramas, poems, songs and clean up campaigns at schools.
and enhancing household food security. Mechanized conservation agriculture, solar driven pump for irrigation, the Farmer Field School (FFS) extension methodology and post-harvest storage structures (granaries) were the major technologies introduced. All the technologies have been accepted by the Ministry of Agriculture through Agritex, as a key technology in improving crop yields. Agritex phoned CTDO enquiring on contacts for the solar pump supplier and have since introduced their own FFS, this is a sign that the technologies are being adopted.
The project worked in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture extension officers to extend technical support to 35 existing FFS and nutrition gardens. The strategy to carry out the task using a collaborative approach was employed so as to strengthen the capacity of extension officers as well as to instil continuity post the AACES – SFP.
The project piloted Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) as a strategy for information dissemination of market updates such as prices for produce, potential buyers, and updates on best-selling crops as well as upcoming agricultural fairs or events. This was done at small scale and focused on 220 farmers (10 livestock & 210 crop farmers). The 10 livestock farmers are into supplementary feeding (pen fattening) and 210 farmers are into butternut production.
The project has piloted peanut butter production with one group. The group was selected based on the group maturity index rating. The group maturity index tool was administered to the 10 VS&L groups and the best performing group was selected. The project has supported existing Income Generating Activities (IGA) (piggery and broiler production) through provision of technical backstopping and market linkages.
One major lesson during the implementation of the AACES project was that sustainability and efficiency can be fostered through mapping and leveraging on existing community competencies and resources. The project worked with different communities and managed to leverage on existing competencies such as labour and farming skills. This enhanced expanded community involvement and ownership of the interventions by beneficiary communities.
ZIMBABWE CROP-LIVESTOCK INTEGRATION FOR FOOD SECURITY (ZIMCLIFFS)
The ZIMCLIFS project funded by DFAT through ILRI, is being implemented in Murehwa district in collaboration with the Department of AGRITEX and Department of Livestock Production of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Department. The project is being implemented in five wards namely ward 4, 11, 14, 27 and 28. ZIMCLIFS project beneficiaries are communal farmers who practice both crop and livestock production, and focusing on livelihoods and soil fertility enhancement through the growing of forage legumes.
The project aims to improve crop and livestock production in communal areas. To achieve this, trials on the growing of fodder crops to feed livestock are being demonstrated for farmer adoption. The fodder crops are saving multi purposes, including provision of livestock supplementary feeding and soil fertility improvement. In the agronomy trials; farmers are involved in CA practices and mulching with residues promoting minimum soil disturbance and intercropping with legumes which are also important for soil fertility improvement.
ZIMCLIFS initiated Innovation Platforms in the operational wards. The platforms aim to bring new technologies to the farmers. Most farmers are not able to access new technologies in the communal setup due to the challenging economic backgrounds. However through the ZIMCLIFS project they are now able even to search for viable markets and also to link to other fellow farmers.
On livestock improvement, project members and non-members who adopted the project concepts managed to dry forage legumes and making bales for supplementary feeding in summer. Farmers harvested Mucuna pods for seed production and bailing the residues/ biomass for cattle feed.
Field days are used as platforms for information sharing and dissemination where several important issues to do with farming and new technologies can be discussed. ZIMCLIFS staff, stakeholders and farmers organized a field day which was held at Kumbirai Chimbadzwa homestead on the 6th of May 2015.
The main objective of the field day was to show case and demonstrate the value of home grown forage legumes and achieving better results on livestock production. Mr Kumbirai Chimbadzwa the host farmer who is an innovation adopter, explained to other fellow farmers that they should not waste resources by buying concentrates, they should venture into fodder production which is good for livestock fattening. He also illustrated the advantages of cattle which are fed with Lab lab i.e. they can easily conceive, are healthy and can be used for draught purposes. Mr Chimbadzwa told the gathering that he was inspired by other fellow farmers and he adopted the idea so as to improve his livelihood. Immediate results are that his calving rates are higher, cows are weaning early and fertility is higher due to good health of the cows as contributed by pen fattening.
The District Agricultural Extension Officer (DAEO) for Murehwa district appreciated the ZIMCLIFS project which has improved livelihoods through livestock fattening and soil fertility enhancement. He encouraged farmers to jealously guard their livestock since they are valuable and urged project members to share information about ZIMCLIFS project which has brought many changes to peoples’ livelihoods in Murehwa district.
• Farmers highlighted that access to viable markets is a problem as they are travelling long distances to the nearest markets which is expensive for them, there is need for localized cattle sales markets in Murehwa District.
• Their livestock breeds are now very poor. Farmers need improved breeds with good traits. There is no breeding stock (heifers and bulls) in the communities