When we started working with rural communities in rural Lwengo and Lyantonde, we created SCOBAs to improve income levels of community members in order to empower them to educate their children. We saw this as a more sustainable way of solving the rampant school drop outs and absenteeism that had become common place in the communities we were operating in.
However along the way, we have learnt that it is not enough to just create SCOBAs – School based lending and borrowing groups or empower members with just business skills. Most of the members are struggling because they are food insecure. They do not have enough food because they do not have land where to grow this food.
To co-create a solution with the SCOBA members, we recently started a demonstration gardens initiative to equip members with sustainable farming methods and provide seedlings for members to have household based gardens. These gardens are helping members to produce their own food at home and do not have to spend foods like vegetables and can instead save it.
The members are empowered with skills on how to create home based gardens that save space, making their own fertilsers and how to plant and care for the crops. This is ensuring that their small land is maximised to have high yield crops and a good harvest. Some of the nutritious foods needed in these families is now produced in their backyard and they are also able to sell the surplus to increase their incomes. We see that with more food being produced at household levels, food security improves and household incomes improve.