Developing skills for unemployed youth through creating community gardens and small business opportunities.
Despite tourism and conservation being the biggest income stream to the area, most youth community members do not benefit from this tourism, largely due to the lack of education, skills training and access to information to allow them to apply for jobs. In addition to this, a lack of knowledge on the local environment and how to protect proves a threat to the natural wildlife and environment.
We are currently working in partnership with Maputha Ditshaba High School who have offered us a piece of land that we will create a community garden to help local community members sustain themselves and their families and increase income generation. Initially high school graduates will have the opportunity to learn new skills and a sustainable way of feeding themselves and their families. It will be a self-sustaining model where the youth will receive equipment and training in the garden to be able to produce vegetables for their own sustenance as well as producing seedling boxes for others. As a second phase we will provide training in basic business skills to assist with future income generation and further education.
Long Term Impact: The youth will create seedling boxes and vegetables to sell for income generation and so they can start their own garden at home. These youths will be using seedlings to start their own garden at home or continue into commercial farming to maximize income generation and partner with local businesses.
Many of the local residents live with family or extended family in basic housing due to the levels of poverty in the area, and the level of education is low with many of the population aged 20 years and above having no formal schooling. Although rates of Primary School attendance are improving, further and higher education in the area remains a challenge. This, in turn, increases the high unemployment rate, which currently sits at over 50%.
August 2017 We are more than half way through building the fence and it already looks really nice. The gardeners are really proud of it! They are also taking good care of the garden by removing aphids very often and by keeping the path clean. The vegetables are growing super fast, it’s amazing to see the differences each week. The team have also started to put in place an innovative watering system with 2L plastic bottles. By planting them upside down in the soil, we won’t lose water through evaporation and because the water goes deeper in the soil the plants will grow deeper and stronger roots. The gardeners and the volunteers are already collecting them and we have already planted 15 of them. Adding to that, we put in place mulching. The idea is to cover the soil with a layer of hay/dry grass in order to retain the water in the soil and to keep it protected.
The next steps are building the compost bins and to get some aromatic herbs to fight against some pests.