‘Bulawayo Community Gardens’ opened by Australian Ambassador
Her Excellency the Australian Ambassador, Suzanne McCourt, officially opened Global Development Group project J839N ‘Bulawayo Community Gardens – Building a Sustainable Future ’ recently, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The gardens have been established by in-country partner Zimbabwe Development Democracy Trust (ZDDT).
Her Excellency, Australian Ambassador, Suzanne McCourt said, “It’s my honour to be here as a representative of Australia to support our fellow Australians who have contributed here, but also take time to see the work that the Embassy has also been supporting.”
“There are so many vegetables grown here that you can use for your own families and use to earn an income. I congratulate you on what is really a tremendous and successful collective effort. Congratulations!” said Ambassador McCourt.
Project J839N ‘Bulawayo Community Gardens – Building a Sustainable Future’ aims to improve the household income, food security and nutrition for the people of Sizinda, Bulawayo. There are several facets to this project including addressing the water supply quality and efficiency and establishing a village bank, but the main thrust is training and mentoring in management and agricultural practices. There are currently 172 ‘plot-holders’ benefitting from the program and experiencing increased and sustained income.
Sizinda is an impoverished community of 4,000 households in Bulawayo, with most adults unemployed. On average, each breadwinner supports up to eight dependants. Social welfare is virtually non-existent and local residents are forced to fend for themselves. The project aims to address the needs of the target community through self-help and self-sustainability.
Women play a large role in the success and effect of this project. One of the plot-holders, Masibanda, says, “We are now able to buy bread and meat from our sales of produce. We are now able to pay our bills and rates after selling our produce, so I must appreciate what the donors have done,” she says.
Her Excellency, Ambassador McCourt continued, “We have been asked many times to fund poultry projects, but not all have been successful. Sometimes were not confident of the sustainability of the project. We know Zimbabwe Development Democracy Trust is a good organisation that lives up to their commitment. We are very confident that this project is the one we can support, and now it is my pleasure to open it,” said Ambassador McCourt, cutting the ribbon to the poultry project gate.
“We are pleased and humbled by the opening of our garden by Her Excellency the Australian Ambassador, Suzanne McCourt. We say ZDDT and the people of Australia have changed our lives. We are very grateful for the life changing project,” said Chairman Chiwara on behalf of the garden members.
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Photos by Chrispen Tabvura.