By Leah Klemm
Earlier this year the 1st Manzemba Scout Troop (Supported by Keep The Dream 196) in Limpopo organized a “Food For Life” project in their area. Local community members, 115 Scouts and Cubs and Scouting parents learnt about healthy eating habits, how to identify certain vegetables, how to sow seeds, nurture seedlings and establish and maintain a vegetable garden. Young leaders were also taught how to transfer skills and educate their peers.
The seeds were sown at the LGAMC Garden. Planting areas at the participant’s homesteads were developed and once the seedlings were ready for transplanting they were distributed to all. Through this project the participants learnt how to grow their own vegetables at home and how to teach their neighbours to do the same. Mphaho Vhulenda, one of the participants, was very exited about planting his own vegetables “Reaping the benefits of my own labor for the first time was a moment that I will never forget in my life.”
26 gardens were established which now has increased the vegetables intake at the respective homesteads as well as in the neighbouring communities. The final activity in this project was facilitated by Dietician Michael Mugeri who delivered a healthy eating workshop about food safety principles, nutrition principles, managing food allergies and proper cooking skills. Participant Netshiwketa Tshilidzi Grace said, ” this Food for Life project is a life changer because of all the new information I received about healthy eating and food born diseases.”
To ensure that the gardens continue to bare fruits the trained Scouts will be paying regular visits to the homesteads and centres. The Scouts will then write a report about the development of the garden, which will help them to measure the success of the project.
At the end of the programme 25 Scouts/Cubs qualified for Life Starter badges, 13 for Silver Interest badges, and 4 for Gold Interest badge. Above all 40 other scouts were qualified to be awarded with food for life interest badges because they were encouraged and trained to stark their own food gardens.
The 1st Manzemba Troop Scouter Deon says ” we learnt that you don’t need to have millions of Rands to empower the community, all you need are willing hearts and unity. We are very pleased with the success of our project. In the end I am glad that our community was happy too. Most of them wish to have a second project soon!”
Their future plan is to expand this project to other villages and other community organizations. They would also like to get an open land in Mazemba village, where they can start a community food garden. It is with this project wherein they hope to create an employment opportunity for women and unemployed youth, especially those who are in position of heading the families.