Zimbabwe, which is currently facing its worst drought in forty years, is rampant with food insecurity. Lack of food greatly affects not only the health of children, but also their ability to get an education. However, malnutrition is a global concern that can actively be combated with successful interventions. Unfortunately, interventions in developing nations don’t always account for all of the barriers to entry; in the case of a nutrition garden: skilled workers to maintain the project, a lack of time to invest in the project, lack of space for the project, and lack of resources for the project.
2 Seconds Or Less supports the implementation of large scale nutrition gardens at primary schools.
In order to reduce the barriers of entry, we start with appreciative inquiries at the schools to understand the needs of that particular community. Then, we recruit and assign ownership to local community members and farmers; each member sharing responsibility for building and maintaining the garden. We work together on the build, and at the end, put in a borehole well for irrigation (which helps with sustainability) and a clean drinking source. Within a few weeks, teachers are able to use the food production to feed their students, and it’s not uncommon to see attendance rates soar because of the availability of food at the school. Whatever food is left over, the school can market and sell to purchase more seedlings and tools to replenish the gardens each season. Money has also been used for additional nutrition dense crops from the market, as well as books for the classrooms. Our partners on the ground monitor and evaluate the gardens each season, and support when challenges arise. After 3 to 4 years, almost all of our sites are self sustaining, and we’re able to pull out entirely. Our last cycle finished in 2020, and we will not be taking on additional schools at this time. We’re excited to pass complete ownership of these gardens over to our Zimbabwean friends and communities.
All of the gardens we’ve worked on in partnership with the Zimbabwean communities have met the following series of goals:
Furthermore, while all of our schools are feeding every student in the ECD grades, most schools are feeding on average 66% of their entire student body. For the schools that have an excess amount of crops for selling, on average they’re making an additional $345 per term to spend on additional cooking supplies, food, and resources for their classrooms.