Vegetable venture proves key to meeting immediate needs and beyond
Poverty, illness and food insecurity run rampant for HIV positive women and the disabled living in Mzimpofu, Swaziland. Limited resources and seemingly more limited options trapped these individuals in a constant fight to provide for themselves and their families. That is, until the Enactus team at UNISWA Kwaluseni devised a plan for vegetable production that would meet immediate needs as well as generate profits.
Recognizing the extremely limited resources, the team worked to secure sponsors for seed, water pumps and fencing to keep out livestock. In all, the donations covered the planting of 28 hectares of land. In an effort to further reduce costs, they introduced the concept of using paper and other waste material to make compost. Finally, the team partnered with the National Agricultural Marketing Board who assisted in finding international markets and area retail stores for the produce. In all, this effort generated $6,423 in profits and due to the success of this first harvest, the group was able to hire eight people to work for them.
Today the “Green Gardening” project is combating food insecurity and the waste paper compost aspect of the project is serving to reduce pollution. Most important, however, this effort has transformed 140 disabled and HIV positive individuals into entrepreneurs who have the skills and knowledge to run a profitable vegetable venture. This, in turn, is helping individuals afford everyday necessities and much-needed health care.