Food and Water Security
Amongst other major social and health issues, food and water security related threats rate high in the region in which the Trust works. The Department of Education has an excellent nutrition programme that ensures every child receives a healthy meal once a day to supplement their diets. Unfortunately, for the many orphaned and vulnerable children of the area, this meal is often the only meal of the day.
We have a two-pronged approach to addressing food security in schools. The immediate need for supplementary food parcels is addressed through the Tiger Brands School Feeding Scheme. The longer-term need for sustainable agricultural interventions is addressed through school-based agricultural projects that provide fresh vegetables to the learners as well as work and training opportunities for unemployed parents.
In addition to food security, water security these communities has become increasingly urgent as the area generally experiences water shortages. With little rainfall, piped water still largely unavailable to community members and water points repeatedly dry, the struggle to obtain water is a daily one.
The Trust has facilitated investment in school-based agricultural programmes in two high schools and five primary schools. Investment by partners has seen the gardens flourish and provide work and training opportunities for unemployed parents in organic vegetable gardening, business management and nutrition. These gardens provide fresh vegetables to the schools and the Department of Education has allocated funding to several schools to hire full-time gardeners. Some schools are so successful they are able to produce a surplus and sell vegetables to the community to raise funds for the school.
Unfortunately, water security, harsh agricultural conditions and high input costs (shade cloth, irrigation, etc.) limits the expansion possibilities of many of the gardens. The garden at Manyangana High School has become commercially viable and the garden is now producing sufficient quality and quantity crops to supply high end tourism lodges. Refer to the section on Enterprise Development for more information on this project.
Our feeding scheme provides monthly take home food parcels for more than 2 000 orphaned and vulnerable children in two creche’s, four primary schools and one high school. The parcels are made up of 1kg bags of Mielie Meal, Flour and Morvite. Additional cans of vegetables and beans are also provided where possible.
These monthly food parcels ensures that children are able to have breakfast every day in addition to the meals they receive at school. Learners must attend school regularly to receive food parcels and educators have noted the positive impact of the school feeding programme on school attendance.
Together with several donors, water is being supplied to 2 villages and several schools. While general infrastructure installed to date remains in good condition, managing water infrastructure in schools, however, remains a significant ongoing cost for the Trust and we are still looking for a sustainable solution to ensure water provision at schools.