WesBank generously provided funding for a 3 year food security project in the Mtubatuba area (2012 – 2014). Some 600 beneficiaries from four communities (Khula Village, Cinci, Khayelisha and Ezwenelisha) now benefit from the sustainable food gardens established at their homes. The region is an area severely affected by climate change. Soil erosion, overgrazing and widespread food insecurity pose daily challenges to residents and exert great pressure on the natural protected areas around which they live.
As well as garden establishment, ACT provided the beneficiaries with training and ongoing mentorship in agro-ecological food gardening practices. The diverse and nutritious food these gardens provide is essential for those living with HIV/AIDS as it boosts immunities and is critical to the success of antiretroviral treatment. Beneficaries have been eager to learn; one gentleman has increased his garden ten fold and is now living completely off the profits.
ACT provides monthly information days to assist with any difficulties the growers may be having, and these are always well attended. Four disabled beneficiaries were also assisted, and teams created specially designed gardens with raised beds and wider pathways for wheelchair access. In 2014, Wesbank also provided funding for a rainwater harvesting component. ACT installed tanks and guttering systems at 100 of these beneficiaries’ homesteads. As residents need to walk to communal taps to obtain their water, these rainwater tanks have made a tremendous difference to their lives.