High unemployment and poverty means that many families don’t have enough food. Good nutrition is essential in helping those who are HIV positive to stay healthy. There are three types of projects under the Sustainable Livelihoods Programme: farming projects (vegetables, eggs, village chickens), women’s self-help groups, and income generating craft projects: hand-embroidery, cards, knitting/crochet and sock animals. All these projects help to ensure that families have access to good, fresh food in sufficient quantities, and some income for basic household necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing, school, clinic, etc. 90% of those who participate in our Sustainable Livelihoods programme are women.
The Ufafa Valley crafters are all local women who have been identified by our Community Care Givers as being in urgent need of income. The project started in 2007 in direct response to People Living with Aids (PLWAs) who were defaulting on their ARVs. People had no money to pay for taxi fares to go to town to collect their medication. PLWAs are from vulnerable households, with many dependents, mostly young children. Woza Moya provides ongoing training and support to enable these women to create beautiful craft products.
CRAFTS Champion: Star Ndlovu
WOMEN’S SELF-HELP GROUPS
Woza Moya began Self-Help Groups (SHGs) for local indigent women in 2015 in partnership Sinamandla the ‘mother’ NGO based in Pietermaritzburg. 160 vulnerable women in the village of Mashakeni, in Ufafa, 20 women per group, meet every week, saving R2 each per week. 5 years down the line, from these humble beginnings, these groups are now banking over R60, 000!
There are four main components in the SHG approach:
· It focuses on the poorest and most vulnerable households in the community, organising women into strong Self-help Groups (SHGs) so that the women are no longer voiceless and powerless individuals.
· It assists women to realise their potential as individuals through initiating a savings and loan scheme whereby the members in the group save from their own limited resources and administer their own fund each week.
· It builds capacity and competence through a series of training modules provided by Woza Moya SHG Manager and Community Facilitators, which supports the processes that increase self-confidence, develop self-reliance, and help SHG members to set their own agenda. (Our SHG staff travel to Pietermaritzburg to receive on-going training and support from the mother organisation Sinamandla)
Each SHG meets weekly, follows simple rules, saves a small amount weekly, has group leadership on a rotational basis, and has book-writers to keep records.
SHG members are encouraged to take small loans from their group's savings for urgent consumption needs, development needs of their children, and for micro-business. 10% interest is charged and is added to the group income.
Training and capacity-building is provided to SHG members through community facilitators to improve their self-confidence and self-esteem as well as to enhance their skills. Each SHG sets its own annual action plan, implementing its own activities and projects within the community.
Principles of self-help, mutual help and self-reliance are encouraged.
These Woza Moya SHGs have now reached a level of maturity where they are ready to expand and grow their businesses, but in order to do so, safely, these women need further training and support with basic business skills. Woza Moya has found an excellent training service provider. We are currently searching for a funder to support this training initiative.
The agricultural programme began in 2004 with vegetable gardens, progressing to egg-laying hens, then to milk producing goats in partnership with the Heifer Project. The annual 'Passing on the Gift' ceremony was the highlight of this programme. After almost 8 years of working with Heifer, most of these farmers moved on to the Village Chicken project which has now become our main agricultural project.
Woza Moya also partnered with Durban Botanical Gardens, doing permaculture gardens. Botanic Gardens provided on-site training at Woza Moya, for all the Community Care Givers, key Sustainable Livelihoods staff and local farmers. As a result Woza Moya has a beautiful permaculture demo garden which provides fresh nutritious food for our 50 crèche children daily.
Village Chicken Project has been our greatest success story at Woza Moya!
Rural village chickens, indigenous, traditional, foraging Zulu chickens are the true free-range birds, naturally organic. They are found throughout Ufafa and comprise an enormous potential resource. They find most of their own feed, are good at hatching and mothering young chicks and they have the ability to survive under harsh conditions. Chickens are sometimes sold or bartered; important in the socio-economic life of our community, being used as gifts and for traditional and ceremonial activities. (Village chickens are the equivalent of the traditional Zulu Nguni cattle)
When Dr Ed Wethli aka the Chicken-Man first came to Woza Moya he found the Ufafa Valley chicken production system to be a low input/low output one, not reaching its full potential. He found that families seldom ate chickens and almost never eggs; the mortality rate was high with few eggs being produced, so it was difficult to even maintain the average family flock size (about 5 hens and one or two cocks) on an on-going basis from generation to generation.
Ed explained how to improve the productivity of these chickens with simple management interventions that require little or no monetary cost, considerably increasing food security by uplifting the nutritional levels and living standards of households.
Ed ran x2 formal basic 4-day outline courses, 3 months apart for the Woza Moya CCG team and key community farmers interested in improving their flocks, covering the topics below:
Disease control: Interventions to reduce mortalities due to common diseases such as Newcastle Disease, and impacts on production of other diseases such as Fowl Pox.
Parasite control:Interventions to reduce the impacts on production from external (fleas, lice, ticks, etc.) and, particularly, internal (intestinal worms) parasites. Local solutions should be carefully investigated.
Provision of improved housing: Construction of simple structures can reduce predation and improve ease of management.
Protection of chicks: Interventions to reduce the mortality in the village chicken system, which generally occurs during the first 4 to 5 weeks of a chick’s life.
Improved feeding: Supplementary feeding can considerably improve productivity of household flocks.
Management of eggs: To improve hatchability of eggs and to ensure more eggs available for human consumption and increased nutrition.
Selective breeding: breeding from phenotypically superior and healthy cocks and hens and culling the inferior types.
Record keeping: The keeping of some simple records is of great benefit to the farmers and extension workers.
Marketing: Since interventions generally lead to increased chicken productivity in rural villages, at some stage it will become important to improve marketing.
Ed also arranged for more mature Village Chicken farmers, in the nearby Mzimkulu area, to mentor the Ufafa valley farmers for one more year. The results of this project have been phenomenal, with families increasing their flocks from 5 to 35 chickens, whilst still eating eggs and chickens themselves, and having some disposable income from sales of chickens and eggs.
This programme has become almost self-sustaining with local farmers now understanding well how to better manage their flocks.
SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS PROGRAMME LEADER: Thulisile Mtolo