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Humanitarian response, Food security and nutrition, Agriculture, Climate Change and Resilience
Department of Home Affairs, Australia
Community Garden, Drought, Failed Crop, Food Insecurtiy, Hunger, Rural Community
© John Hewat/CARE
© John Hewat/CARE
16 January 20
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
42-year-old Moreladies lives with her husband and three children. She loves farming, and is the vice-chairwoman of the community garden, established with CARE’s support through the Enhancing Nutrition and Stepping Up Resilience and Enterprise (ENSURE) program. She cannot afford to pay her children’s school fees because her livestock are all dying so she is no longer making enough money. She does other piecemeal jobs like sewing and cutting hair to try to earn enough money to get by.
Moreladies’s story in her own words:.My name is more Moreladies Mutanda. I was born on 26 May 1977. I have 3 children; 2 boys and 1 girl. The youngest, now is in Early Childhood Development (ECD) and is 7 years old. I am married.
I used to be just poor, since my husband also doesn’t work.
I love farming. I have chickens and eggs, rabbits and rock rabbits. I have learnt under the ENSURE project that farming is a business and now I know how to run a business. This garden has taught me a lot and has promoted us as women.
My role as the Vice Chair in this garden is to organise meetings and to encourage others to farm well. I love working with the land, I used to be just a member of the agronomy committee because we are 5 committees here and I loved the farming part.
By leading you gain knowledge and learn from others so that when you share the knowledge it is the correct knowledge that you’re giving others. And by being in a leadership position you get to at-tend a lot of trainings and workshops and you gain more knowledge.
I got nominated for my position in the garden. In a meeting, people just put up their hands to vote for me, which is the same as with my position in the garden; people voted for me as well. I think people just like my character, which is why they voted for me.
Some women are not able to read and write and I believe God might be trying to give me a message through nominating me. My character is God-given from heaven
.I especially support women so that we don’t always have to ask for money from our husbands or partners, but we now are even able to give them money to go and enjoy themselves - even for drink-ing beer (because it’s allowed, and you can afford it)
.Here in this garden we have 60 participants and, 21 of whom are men. Under the ENSURE pro-gramme they have taught us the importance of having partner support, so even here we have our partners coming to help us in watering the plots.
I like the truth and honest work, like at the food distribution meeting, my name was not even regis-tered to receive food aid – I don’t meet the vulnerability criteria - but because I like honest work I do not even feel bad that I am not included in the list
.Previously the rains would be good, there would be bumper harvests and people would eat well, but these last years the seasons have changed. There are no rains - livestock are dying, the vegetables are dying because there is no water. We don’t know what to do, we just sit around now because there is no water.
It’s very painful to see the crops fail. After investing in crops and having nothing to harvest, it’s really painful.
Usually by this time when schools open, we would have paid our children’s school fees by now, but we have not, because we do not have vegetables to sell like we used to.
I believe when there is drought there isn’t much you can do but look up to God. But you can also try non-agricultural investments, like myself: I am a barber and I invest in cutting children’s hair, like now they are going back to school. And I also sew. I’m also involved in the buying and selling of fish
I’m also a member of the sanitation group and I can construct latrines. I encourage members to also construct their latrines. I also generally encourage community members to work, to just work, so that they don’t just sit around.
It’s important to help each other because one can be affected by their neighbour’s behaviour. For example, if they don’t have a latrine. It’s their own personal development but it can also affect my family. And also, it is part of the community development.
I have heard about climate change and for me it is quite painful because even as human beings we are made up of 75% water, and water is critical for us, but to be honest I don’t really understand how we can change the situation
.My message to the world: I want to tell people to stop wasting resources and I would like to find an opportunity to teach them the importance of managing resources such as water.
In as much as men and women are all affected by the drought, women are more affected. Like in my case, I have a child who would be looking after livestock. If she comes home and says ‘I am hungry’ my husband will not be at home. I am the one who has to deal with the hungry children. And as women, we are the overseers. I sleep last and children and men eat first and I will eat after they have been fed.
It is painful to feel hungry. Your stomach hurts and you feel weak, like right now I feel weak, but I have to struggle on because I have nothing left at home. But for myself if I have 3 consecutive days while cutting children’s hair, then I can raise some money to buy maizemeal.
I hope I will be able to live long and support my family. I pray to God that he blesses my family and they pass exams because education is very important. For my community I hope we can remain strong and united so that we are able to develop.
When there is drought there is no food, we are hungry and we’re not able to pay school fees, and children will not have uniforms. And if you get sick the medical bills will be too high and you won’t be able to pay it. My 7-year-old son broke his hand and it was very painful for me to see how much pain he was in, but I couldn’t afford to help him.
Our health status is significantly reduced, even our blood count, because the nutritious food we used to have is no longer available. Right now, I could have given you carrots which we would have harvested from this garden. And when you’re hungry you’re weak and you don’t have the energy to go sell fish like I have to.
Personally I don’t want to be given cash money, because I know that can be finished, but what I would appreciate would be a project - like being given pigs, and I rear them and sell them and invest back in buying more pigs to sell - because I can invest in it and continue investing back in my family. I would like to be involved in more income generating activities such as chickens, even rabbits would be ok.
I lost over 100 rabbits out of a total of 200, I lost many rock rabbits. The remaining ones I had to ex-change with chickens, but I also had chickens and I lost over 20. For those that survived, I would splash water on in order to try and revive them if I saw them struggling, after laying the eggs
.It’s very painful to see my animals die. I always pay my children’s fees using my profits from the sale of the rabbits and chickens combined with the sales from the vegetables. It’s really brought me down, because now I don’t have much, and I have not paid my children’s school fees.
The social welfare department announced a 50kg bag of maize is going for ZWD $210 (USD $12.35) now (Jan 2020). In 2018 the same bag went for ZWD $15 (USD 88c); in 2019 the same bag was ZWD $70 (4.11 USD).
Most men run away from their families when drought strikes. Most men don’t like to hear problems. Most women work hard to make sure their children are fed. Women don’t run away from their chil-dren. Women don’t run away because when we have babies, we have that inner conscience that says we should protect what we have received from God.
If you are a weak woman, the family suffers and children won’t go to school. But I would like to ap-preciate the men’s fora which was part of the ENSURE initiative because they really encourage men to work together with women. I used to have a garden, but some men in the community would come and tell my husband he has been bewitched because he was supporting me in looking after that garden, but because he had been raised by a father who also held the same values as him he didn’t listen to them. But that improved greatly in the Ward (her part of Zaka district) because of the men’s fora.
Interviewed by Lucy Beck, John Hewat, Emily McGuinness in Zaka on 15 January 2020.
Scene-setting information: .Zaka District is enduring the worst drought Zimbabwe has seen in a decade, with nearly 8 million people (rough-ly half the country’s population) suffering food insecurity. Climate change has led to a lack of rain, which has led to many failed crops and families struggling to feed themselves. Compounded with high inflation leading to impossibly priced food and seeds, sourcing food is a challenge. It is anticipated that the conditions for families will get worse over the coming year, as their next harvest will be untenable for so many.
Project information and major issues: .Lean Season Assistance is helping highly vulnerable families by providing:.Maize Cereal - 7.5kg per person per month.Cooking Oil - 0.75 ml per person per month .Peas/Beans - 1.5 kg per person per month .Porridge - for under 5s (which they estimate will be 13% of the caseload) at 3kg per person per month.