Eastern Cape project : Cofimvaba District, St Marks Village
In the attached pictures you will see a water pipeline that was established over 9 kms from the Lei Dam 18 to the village of St Mark’s in the Cofimvaba District, Eastern Cape in 2012. MENNGOS has been working with this community since 2007. Growing vegetables and fruit trees were identified as a point of entry into development for the community. Until 2007 no other organisation had undertaken working with the community of St Mark’s. In the ensuing years the plot garden project grew in leaps and bounds and more villagers and structures got involved. Between 2007 to 2010 permaculture training that took place on site, in the communities by MENNGOS, and the community had to undertake to only grow organically. Natural cow dung compost was freely available and the community plot farmers were taught skills in how to use it to first break down the bacteria by spreading it out in the sun to dry before using it and to consistently compost their gardens. To make liquid manure to nourish the vegetables,herbs and fruit trees. In the ensuing periods the growing community were taught by a local to make seedlings from seeds with special soil she taught them to make and MENNGOS taught the community to save seeds for re-planting, maintaining the organic seed trend. But, sadly it was always punctured by a serious lack of water intermittently causing the crops to fail and in the hot sun burn when no water was available. Water conservation methods did not work due to the serious absence of summer rain.
By 2009 a serious drought affected all growing in the area and MENNGOS as an organisation had to review their ongoing support if we were to be adding value to this community. It was resolved together with the local leadership, which in St Marks is the Tribal authority,to try and raise the necessary funds to run a new pipeline from the Lei Dam 18 to the community which is 9 kms away. By 2012 sufficient funds were raised by MENNGOS to facilitate this endeavour and the local leadership undertook to get the Youth who were unemployed to clear the dense bush terrain to make way for a clearing to lay new water pipes from the Lei Dam 18 that would directly, to the community.
This arduous task took place over 3 months with the youth been paid on a weekly basis. This work was conducted under the leadership of David Mfebe, a Tribal member of the community. David managed the workload with MENNGOS financial support and some technical expertise from the Department of Rural development. More in depth technical expertise came from from the contracted company who was to assist with the final 9 km pathway from the dam to the community and who was responsible for laying the new improved water pipes to the village and the technical workings of the water flowing to the village as the end result. This procedure took another few weeks and the contracted company moved into the village to conduct the work. All accommodation and food was supplied by the community as part of their personal investment into the project.By 2013 with various adaptions the water started flowing and the community was able to grow again.
To increase the ability to grow and expand on the project, MENNGOS, initiated a Big garden competition which culminated in September 2013. 34 plot gardens took part and the prizes included 10 water tanks of 10 000 litres that could be won for using previously trained methods of permaculture and water conservation methods. Other smaller prizes which related directly to gardening and growing of vegetables. Other categories included most improved gardens, gardening under harsh conditions as some areas it was very difficult to grow in as the ground is very rocky.
The overall winner who was awarded a water tank and garden implements had not only planted wisely, by inter-planting his crops with different vegetables, but included ducks with a duck pond all made by himself to ward off the snails. he also raised goats and chickens for natural fertilizer which he used in his plot garden and applied various water conservation methods. The water tank would assist the winners to harvest rain-water which could be used for home and garden use.Thus adding another 100 000 litres of water when it was full to the water resource poor area.