Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
THIRTY households in Umzingwane District, Matabeleland South will soon be raising income and supplementing their diets from a community garden scheme sponsored by World Vision.

Under the project, Matiliwola villagers in Ward 6 now have access to tap water after the non-governmental organisation funded construction of a one-kilometre piped water scheme.

A Chronicle news crew visited the area recently and witnessed beneficiaries of Mbuzeni micro irrigation scheme preparing land in the garden ahead of planting. The one-hectare garden is solar-powered.

Chairperson of the project, Mr Faxen Dlodlo said 30 households had benefitted. He said each member had been allocated 15 beds in the garden which were 26 by 10 metres long.

“We started the project in May by clearing the ground. We are now working on a toilet and then from there we will start planting our seedlings. We are almost done with preparing our land. For a start we will plant chomolia and tomatoes and from there we will introduce more crops.

“This garden will help us in a great way because families that are beneficiaries will have crops to eat while at the same time they can sell after harvesting. World Vision assisted with all the equipment for the garden which includes a perimeter fence, solar system, taps, a 10 000-litre Jojo tank and other resources that were used in setting up the whole project,” he said.

Mrs Jennifer Moyo, also a beneficiary under the project said she anticipated that her food problems will ease once they start harvesting. She added that it was a relief for them to access clean drinking water close-by as villagers had been relying on one borehole which is situated very far for many homesteads. She said the taps were installed a week ago.

“Water has been a challenge for us for a very long time and this project has brought a huge sigh of relief. We used to rely on one borehole in the community and for some of us it was too far and we opted to collect water from a nearby river where we would dig up the sand until we find water. As a result we were drinking unclean water but there was nothing we could do.

“Now we can collect water from taps which are close-by. As for me the tap is just outside my yard. Our livestock don’t have water to drink as dams are dry but since the taps were installed we can now collect water from the taps and give to our animals to drink in dishes,” she said.

A youth from the same area, Mr Thokozani Mathe said it was great that water was now available nearby.

Umzingwane District Water and Sanitation Sub Committee (DWSCC) chairperson, Mr Nkosana Ndlovu said the project was an initiative from parents who raised a concern that they were facing water supply challenges and they desired to have gardens.

He said World Vision came in to assist the community. Mr Ndlovu said there were similar projects in Wards 4 and 12.

“World Vision provided the community with all the necessary material working together with DWSCC. The project has impacted positively on the community. It brought water to the doorstep of villagers. Our water line goes up to a distance of a kilometre from the source to the last stand pipe. There are four stand pipes that cover the community and we have four stand pipes in the garden.

“The garden has a 10 000-litre Jojo tank though we feel it isn’t enough as it’s supplying the community as well as the garden. Once the farmers start planting and watering their crops this tank would be small so we wish to have another tank. If we could get a tank for the garden and another for the community it would be better. We thank World Vision for such a good initiative. It’s a good project that has to be copied throughout the district,” he said.

Mr Ndlovu said the project started in March and the target was to have it completed by last [email protected]