In 2008, Zimbabwe AHEAD, in partnership with Mercy Corps started a Community Health Club program in Buhera.
PROJECT AIM: to sustainably improve agricultural production, income and the productive asset base of vulnerable households by providing opportunities to acquire knowledge and expertise in a wide range of areas, such as public health and hygiene, nutrition, food production, irrigation farming and farming as a business to enhance the security of their livelihoods
THE ROLE OF ZimAHEAD was to provide all software relating to Health and Hygiene Education and the creation of Community Health Clubs (CHC’s). Once the clubs had completed the hygiene training they moved to Stage 2, transforming into Food, Agriculture and Nutrition (FAN) Clubs.
- Country: Zimbabwe
- Donor: European Union & Big Lottery Fund
- Partner: Mercy corps
- Province: Manicaland
- District: Buhera
- 5 Wards: 1, 2, 10, 31
- Number of Villages: 32
- Number of households: 3,237
- Number of CHCs: 32
- Number of Members: 3,237
- Percentage CHC coverage:
- Number of EHTs: 5
- Number of CHC facilitators: 32
- Number of beneficiaries: 19,422
- Cost of Project: US$ 29,191
- Cost per beneficiary: US$1.50
Food Agriculture and Nutrition Clubs (FAN) Management Training
After the first year the CHC which have completed their hygiene training progress to the next stage. They become FAN clubs with members who have completing all 20 sessions invited to join a communal nutrition garden. Fencing material, seeds and implements are provided and the members identify a large communal area and clear the ground. Each CHC member is given 5 beds to grow vegetables, using organic intercropping methods and deep trenching to ensure high crop yields. Garden committees are trained in their roles and responsibilities and to harmonise the activities with the main CHC committee, an umbrella committee is established at ward level. A monitoring and reporting system is introduced. The establishment of an income generation project such as a nutrition garden is part of the exit strategy to capacitate the community which will enable members to sustain the projects, and ensure long term food security.
The project target of 30 gardens in Buhera was reached and exceeded with six extra gardens voluntarily started without any project support. This indicates that this approach is appropriate and appreciated by the community. and even spreading outside the project area.
PROJECT RUNNING AND SUSTAINABILITY:
One FAN member commented:
“The end of program or exiting of ZimAHEAD will not take away our knowledge, our smart/clean homesteads and our local facilitators, neither will it take away our gardens!”
DECREASE IN DISEASE
The increased availability and consumption of food as provided by the FAN Club gardens has been noted by health/clinic staff at the Kushambidzika club garden as greatly reducing the cases of malnutrition in this area. In ward 2 of Buhera, a significant drop in the reported cases of diarrhoea has been witnessed over the previous 2 year period which has been attributed to the intervention. The lack of Cholera outbreaks in project areas has also been attributed to the Clubs
FUTURE CHALLENGES. These flourishing gardens have increased the burden on water resources and creating potential competition between domestic, livestock and garden needs. FAN Clubs and CHC’s should continue to work with the wider community to overcome this issue dedicating a borehole solely for FAN Club usage, ensuring continued livelihood and food security
Reference: Zimbabwe AHEAD Annual Report 2010