Moving toward self sufficiency

We have 103 children enrolled in our lunch feeding programme, five days a week.  That’s a lot of ndiwo (relish) and masamba (vegetables) every day to fill hungry bellies! We buy our food from Songani market at 6 am every Monday, but we’d like to be growing it all ourselves.

Since January, we’ve been moving toward a more sustainable vision of food production and resource management. Our activities so far have included;  one of our staff, Moses Mumba, Community Coordinator, undergoing a week long local Introduction to Permaculture course and taking the learning back to Sparkle, identifying new growing spaces onsite so we can oversee and manage our growing spaces better, sourcing local horse manure for improving our soil so we don’t rely so much on chemical fertilisers, sourcing a place onsite to make our own compost, and planting 7 different types of vegetables (mpiru – mustard leaf, chinese cabbage, bonongwe – armarath, tomato, aubergine, green peppers, green beans).

We are also hoping to develop some ‘edible shade’ areas where we can use the grenadilla (a type of passion fruit) vines that have been cultivated from seed to grow up into areas where shade, as well as fruit for the children, can be provided.

Ultimately, we would love to combine our growing programme with our education programme, so the children can learn how to care for the seedlings, make their own compost rather than burn green waste at home, and also, make some paper briquettes from waste paper for their mbaula (small at home cooking stove).  We’ve been saving our paper waste since January to have a paper briquette making session with our children before the end of July so they can take briquettes home over the school holidays and learn at home.



Written by Laura Hamilton, Sparkle’s International Director.