From Subsistence to Commercial Farming: My Transformative Journey as a Farmer

From Subsistence to Commercial Farming: My Transformative Journey as a Farmer

My name is Simba Mboma and I am a 48-year-old farmer from Svondo village in Chivi District, Zimbabwe. All my life, I have been a subsistence farmer relying on selling excess produce mainly vegetables. However, I always desired to generate extra income but lack of knowledge and skills held me back. As the breadwinner of my family, I would take on piece jobs in my community to supplement my income but selling excess crop yields remained my main source of income. Unfortunately, this became increasingly challenging due to uneven rainfall and crop destruction caused by global warming and climate change. My farm’s productivity began to decline and the sandy soils on most of my farms which dried out quickly due to poor rainfall made matters worse.

My life took a dramatic turn when I joined DAPP Farmers’ Club Chivi in September 2021 with financial support from GAIA USA. The market informed production and climate-smart practices advocated for by the project saw a major shift on my crop production. I embraced climate-smart technologies, conservation farming principles and diversified farming production. I also leveraged on the symbiosis between crops and livestock, using animal manure to fertilize my garden crops. With DAPP’s guidance, I gained the confidence and expertise to transition from subsistence to commercial farming.

As I stepped into the DAPP demonstration plots, I discovered a treasure trove of knowledge. These plots became my classroom and I faithfully replicated every technique and strategy on my own land yielding astonishing results. The lessons, which focused on best practices for loam and sandy soils, not only improved my farming skills but also empowered me to become a champion of sustainable agriculture.

My production flourished as I grew a variety of vegetables, which I sold in the community and local markets places. By adopting unseasonal gardening techniques, I capitalized on market gaps and increased my profits. This year 2024, I even expanded my land from 0.1 to 0.2 hectares and planted 2,000 cabbage heads, anticipating a $1,000 USD from the yield.

Every harvest is a testament to conservation agriculture and climate-smart practices and my family enjoys the fresh and wholesome goodness of our homegrown produce. In the community and marketplace, people rush to buy my organic vegetables. For value addition, I started drying and preserving the vegetables, creating a culinary delight sought after by many, thereby boosting my income significantly.

Despite the challenges posed by Cyclone El Nino-induced drought, I’m confident in my ability to provide for my family’s nutrition, food and income security through farming. My success is a testament to the impact of DAPP’s initiatives, which have empowered me with the skills and knowledge to thrive in sustainable agriculture. By sharing my experiences and expertise, I hope to inspire others to adopt climate-resilient farming methods, boost their yields and improve their livelihoods. Together, we can build a more food-secure and sustainable future for our communities.

HUMANA Shares TVET School Good Practices Across Africa at CoVES International Conference in Morocco

HUMANA Shares TVET School Good Practices Across Africa at CoVES International Conference in Morocco

Humana People to People (HUMANA) will participate in the Role of Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVES) in VET in Africa International Conference, from 25th to 27th of June 2024 in Casablanca, Morocco. This forum, organized by the European Training Foundation (ETF) and ENABEL, will provide a platform for discussion and reflections on CoVEs policies and practices as well as facilitate exchange, networking and encourage transnational cooperation between training providers in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.

The three-day event aims to foster the exchange of ideas, practices, and experiences among centers of vocational excellence within Africa. It will highlight good practices, tools, and resources across various topics, including governance, funding, economic sectors, work-based learning, and the green and digital transitions.

Through its 16 Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) colleges spread across   Angola, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe— HUMANA has equipped more than 30,000 young people with the skills needed to thrive professionally and contribute to the sustainable development of their communities. Both our formal and informal TVET programmes are designed to be practical and provide real-life experience. Additionally, the programmes have a strong entrepreneurship component.

Four representatives from our TVET colleges in Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, will be sharing practices and pedagogies that significantly impact sustainable and inclusive education, as well as youth access to the labor market.

Zechariah Viano, Deputy Principal of Mikolongwe Vocational School in Malawi, will showcase business-support services in agriculture to fosters an entrepreneurial culture, nurture talent, and develop a skilled, industry-responsive workforce among youth in rural areas in Malawi.

Chipo Zuze, Education Sector Leader at Ponesai Vanhu Technical College in Zimbabwe, will explain how the college has developed an innovative and sustainable public-private partnership (PPP) model centred around in curricula design, work-based learning opportunities and social inclusion aspects.

Fernando Angelo, Headmaster at ADPP Polytechnic School in Angola, will focus on how their schools have successfully integrated circular economy principles and green skills into the school’s curriculum. Some of the initiatives he will share about are on efficient charcoal stoves production and textile upcycling, among others.

Lastly, Rui Baloi, Partnership Officer at ADPP Mozambique, will present how ADPP Polytechnic Institutes in Nhamatanda and Nacala play a crucial role in bridging the skills gap in the agricultural job market by enhancing the technical capacities of TVET students, including through hands-on experiences such as demonstration plots.

By participating actively in this conference, HUMANA aims to inspire, exchange and contribute to the development of a robust and inclusive vocational education system in the region that can drive sustainable economic growth and social development.

GOVERNMENT LAUDS DAPP SKILLS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

GOVERNMENT LAUDS DAPP SKILLS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) Zimbabwe’s pedagogical methods are an essential component in the development of human capital skills not only in Mashonaland Central but the nation at large, a senior government official said last week.

Permanent Secretary for Skills Audit and Development, Ambassador Rudo Chitiga said this while officiating a workshop where her Ministry is seeking to understand the realities of the skills landscape.

The workshop’s objectives included the need to get an appreciation of the current skills development in the province, challenges and possible partnership measures as well as understanding resource endowments in the province and the relevant skills in short supply needed in the future.

She commended DAPP Zimbabwe’s methods for improving rural socio-economic development saying they are scalable beyond Mashonaland Central. “I have heard a lot from the DAPP Organisation in Zimbabwe. It is our recommendation and it is sitting on our table and agenda that we want to rope in DAPP Zimbabwe to be part of this program development together with my Ministry, especially in the fight for Rural Socio-economic Development, not only for this province but the entire nation.

“So, DAPP, you are being warned here and please do link with our offices for more collaborations and synergies,” said the Perm Sec.

The government also challenged institutions that do not offer employment opportunities or those that do not open doors to people who did not get good results or grades from various examinations.

“Let us all be inclusive. Let us capacitate our staff. Some staff in the organisations have become redundant hence the need for training,” said the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution of Mash Central Province Hon Christopher Magomo. He also discouraged rote learning in the schools, calling for a relook into the training curriculums which should be linked to meet the changing needs and current challenges people face in various communities or sectors of business.

DAPP Zimbabwe’s projects align with the Ministry’s vision to enhance Zimbabwean citizens’ skills amidst the government’s concerns that educational institutions are churning out degreed students who are not directly serving their communities.

“As DAPP, we have opened our doors for everyone- the disabled, the outcasts from other colleges because of lack of required qualifications such as lack of mathematics and English at ordinary levels, to come and enroll in our vocational school PVTC,” said DAPP Frontline Institute Principal Doubt Musiiwa.

“Here we enroll even those without a subject for as long they can read and write. We have made synergies with institutions like Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE), offered training to the students, made their trade tested and today are flooding institutions in the whole country more to say Bindura in the confectionary undertakings, motor mechanic industries and more.” Said Doubt Musiiwa.

Enhancing Africa’s Early Childhood Education to break intergenerational cycles of inequality

Enhancing Africa’s Early Childhood Education to break intergenerational cycles of inequality

The population of African children is projected to reach 1 billion by 2055, making Africa the continent with the largest number of children. This denotes how critical it is to invest in Early-Childhood Education (ECE) to achieve Africa’s development agenda. This emphasis is reflected in the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25), which identifies ECE as “the next frontier for Africa to realize sustained quality education”.

However, and despite growing evidence of its importance, ECE remains severely underdeveloped. Some of the sectoral challenges listed by the CESA include inadequate planning, limited resource allocation, poorly trained teachers, and insufficient materials. These issues result in educational disparities, poor management, and a lack of a coherent curriculum across Africa. This situation disproportionately affects children living in rural or underserved communities, where there are few or no preschools to provide quality education during their early stages of life.

As we commemorate the International Day of the African Child weat Humana People to People (HUMANA), recognize the indispensable impact of ECE in breaking intergenerational cycles of inequality. Engaging children in educational activities from a young age equips them with critical thinking skills, literacy, and numeracy, which lay the foundation for academic success. Furthermore, by nurturing emotional and social skills, ECE empowers children to develop resilience and navigate social environments effectively.

We urge Africa’s Heads of States to prioritize invest in Early Childhood Education, to prevent millions of children from starting school at a disadvantage every year. Transforming teaching and learning is paramount in this endeavor, necessitating a shift in classroom practices to foster creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills among preschoolers. The time has come to elevate Early Childhood Education to the forefront of Africa’s education agenda, laying the groundwork and continually enhancing it as the cornerstone for meeting the demands of 21st-century skills.

Our Approach

We recognize the critical role of ECE as the foundation for sustainable development and its power to ending inequalities. We recognize the pivotal role of early childhood education (ECE) in laying the foundations for sustainable development and its potential to break intergenerational cycles of inequalities.

For more than 30 years, HUMANA, in collaboration with our dedicated members, has placed a strong emphasis on Early Childhood Education together with its members. Through three main people-centred and community-led flagship initiatives – Preschool of the Future (POF) Movement, Preschool of the Future Teacher Training (POFTT) and Child Aid – we have consistently prioritized and invested in the holistic development of young learners and community education programmes.

For more than 30 years, HUMANA, in collaboration with our dedicated members, have placed a strong emphasis on Early Childhood Education together with its members Through three main people-centred and community-led flagship initiatives – Preschool of the Future (POF) Movement, Preschool of the Future Teacher Training (POFTT) and Child Aid – we have consistently prioritized and invested in the holistic development of young learners and community education programmes.

Preschools of the Future (POF)

Humana People to People developed the Preschools of the Future (POF) model to provide quality pre-school education to children from disadvantaged backgrounds and support children’s transition from ECE to primary school in a sustainable way.

Humana People to People in South Africa has implemented the POF model to mobilise vulnerable communities to embark on a journey to provide holistic child-centred education for their children in 3 municipalities -eThekwini, Ndwedwe and Maphumulo- in KwaZulu Natal province. Each village forms a Parents’ Committee, collaboratively overseeing preschool operations alongside teachers and a dedicated project leader. Through targeted training in adult literacy, childcare, nutrition, hygiene, and early childhood development, parents become active participants in their children’s education journey. This grassroots approach fosters a ripple effect throughout neighboring communities, representing a significant stride towards achieving universal access to education for all children.

In 2023, more than 1,600 students were enrolled in 43 preschools and as result the students are more active, eager and able to learn. Additionally, these preschools have effectively reduced the drop-out rates in primary schools, showcasing their positive impact on educational continuity and retention.

Preschool of the Future Teacher Training (POFTT)

We recognize the role early-childhood teachers play in helping children to thrive and learn. The one-year Preschools of the Future Teacher Training (POF-TT) programme aims to improve the quality of ECE in vulnerable communities by providing training that enables support of unemployed young people with a preschool teacher qualification.

In Namibia and South Africa rural preschool teachers are recruited locally and trained by our members, DAPP Namibia and HPP South Africa, through POF Teacher Training schools. In the past five years, 482 POF teachers have graduated from these schools.

Child Aid

Preschools are an integral part of the community development that Humana People to People strives for through its members projects. For this reason, the Child Aid programme supports children, parents and the entire community in collaborating to enhance living conditions for children and address the challenges in the whole preschool development process.

DAPP Zimbabwe’s Child Aid Bindura/Shamva project works with 2,000 families organized in 80 Village Action Groups (VAGs). These come together to identify challenges and mobilise themselves to find solutions to ensure that no child is left behind. Additionally, parents form the School Development Committee oversee the preschool and provide valuable support and resources to ensure its sustainability. The project also aids children without parents to enrol in preschools and support them in remaining enrolled.

At HUMANA, we believe that education is every child in Africa, regardless of their location, race, parental status, disability, gender, or any other status. By improving access to quality Early Childhood Education, we are not only addressing current educational disparities but also laying the foundation for a prosperous and equitable future for the continent. We will continue to invest in education and community development programmes to instil communities with hope, promote cohesion and create equal ECE opportunities for all.

The Launch of Farmers’ Clubs Chivi Film: Building Community Resilience Against Climate Change Impact

The Launch of Farmers’ Clubs Chivi Film: Building Community Resilience Against Climate Change Impact

As we mark the World Environment Day, we are excited and proud to announce the release of our film: Building Community Resilience Against Climate Change Impact. The film is based on one of our members, DAPP Zimbabwe’s Farmers’ Clubs Chivi project showing our commitment to tackle challenges and threats resulting from climate change in communities Farmers’ Clubs Chivi project works together with that are hardest hit in the semi-arid region of Zimbabwe.

Fight off climate change to conserve nature is at the top of our agenda as Humana People to People together with our 29 members. Our Farmers’ Clubs programmes in three continents (Africa, Asia and Latin America) reaches out to more than 354,000 farmers annually, targeting communities where the impact of climate change is felt the most, threatening to reverse adaptative progress and to weaken community resilience. We bring people together to identify challenges induced by climate change and support the people to build adaptive capacity using locally led climate actions, a key part of our Humana People to People response.

Since 1996, our member DAPP Zimbabwe has carried out the Farmers’ Clubs programme and has trained more than 60 000 farmers a numerous force to be reckoned with. Zimbabwe like any other places in the world has not been spared from the impact of climate change which has seen more farmers losing yields and livestock as result of depending on rainfed agriculture.

In 2021, DAPP Zimbabwe started Farmers’ Clubs Chivi project in Masvingo Province to accelerate the development of climate resilient livelihoods and ecosystems for 1500 small holder farmers through adopting climate smart conservation agriculture, biodiversity conservation and sustainable environmental management. The project is supports smallholder farmers to create income, food and nutrition security while reducing environmental and ecosystems degradation including biodiversity loss.

The Building Community Resilience Against Climate Change Impact film reflects on the realities smallholders farmers are facing and the climate actions they carryout out to better adapt to climate change impact. Community cohesion shown in the film demonstrates the power of our people-to-people way of bringing people together to forge transformative paths towards building strengthened community climate change resilience.

We invite you to watch the Farmers’ Club Chivi Film on this link: https://bit.ly/3X5imny