By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
MASVINGO – The people in the six different districts of Mwenezi district in Masvingo province have seen themselves benefiting from the various food and nutrition projects that are being implemented by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe and Mwenezi Development Centre (MDTC) and being funded by USAID.
Rumwanjiva, Chebani, Domboshava are small dams that have been built, thereby creating a green ward as at each of these dam, nutrition and fodder gardens were also set up. In addition to constructing the three small dams, WFP also rehabilitated Gwamatenga dam in the same ward, through dam scooping.
Speaking on condition of anonymity a respected development worker applauded WFP’s approach of concentrating development projects in ward compared to having dotted projects all over the district. “In development work, this is called the watershed approach. The approach ensures that an area is covered comprehensively leaving no one behind as every corner of the ward has now equal access to water for various use,” noted the development worker. A visit to Rumwanjiva dam, nutrition and fodder gardens revealed that 670 households, of which 406 are female headed households benefited from the project. The Rumwanjiva dam has a capacity of 21462m3while the nutrition and fodder garden measure 1Ha and 0,5Ha. The people of ward 6 also got construction and garden tools, fence material and thousands of bags of cement to construct the dams and gardens from WFP.
The water from the dam is being used for crop and livestock production and domestic purposes. This has also lessened the burden of people and livestock travelling long distances to a water source as they used to travel 8-19km to Mwenezi River. A nearby primary school, Chikwalakwala is also benefiting from using the water from the dam.
There are 112 households (100 females and 12 males headed) who have individual plots at Rumwanjiva nutrition garden. The plot holders grow a variety of crops for both household consumption and commercial use. Crops being grown include covo, rape, cabbage, tomatoes, onion, carrots, beetroot, green pepper, groundnuts, sugar beans and green mealies. Fruit trees such as such as avocadoes, lemons and peaches were also planted for an improved nutrition and dietary diversity.
One of the beneficiaries of the Rumwanjiva, Anna Mbelela told Radio VOP how the project has benefited her and made a positive impact in her life.
‘I never went to work before and this is my first time. Now l can make money for myself from the produce I sell and this has empowered me. Now l can take care of my family and our diet has improved as well, this project has helped us a lot and if only it had been started way back our lives would be much better because as it stands now there is a huge positive impact the project has bought for the ward,” said Moyo.
Not having a water source nearby proved to be a burden for the people as they had to travel long distances and Elsina Shoko said how the dam has made it easy for her. “We used to travel for 8-10 km to fetch water but now it is different, the dam is close by and even watering the garden is now easy for us and can do all my laundry.
“l am taking care of my kids as l am a widow. Life before has not been easy but now l am happy l can provide relish for my grandchildren, a thing l could not afford before. The produce we sell, l use to buy all the needs my grandchildren need,” said Shoko.