Water, Veg and Honey
In October, The Rochester Diocese Poverty and Hope Appeal paid out small grants totalling £6,000 to our three Companion Dioceses in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. This was to provide immediate help in improving food security through community programmes.
With East Africa facing continuing drought conditions and a new planting season about to start, the focus was on improving irrigation systems and diversification into a wider range of agricultural products for food and for sale.
In Mpwapwa Diocese in Tanzania, St Philip’s Theological College has for the last five years been establishing and teaching on drip-feed and micro-irrigation systems to help water plants with minimal use of water.
The Rev Canon Agripa, Principal of St Philips Theological College, has developed a great understanding of water harvesting techniques, and this year also saw him oversee a successful borehole project at Mkwala School (linked with Crockham Hill, Kent) which will support the 1,000+ children attending the school, along with 700 neighbouring families.
He says “Thank you Rochester for providing the funds for this new solar powered water system! The work is almost finished. There is now no need to pay for electricity to use water from our borehole. This is such a huge blessing!”.
The £2,000 released to St Philip’s will help fund a solar panel array to power their borehole, allowing water to be pumped during the day into the neighbouring village of Mlanga to help irrigate crops, as well as increasing the acreage of agricultural projects at the college. The solar array should be in operation before the end of this month.
In the neighbouring Tanzanian Diocese of Kondoa, funds were used immediately in October to provide a four-day training course for pastors/community leaders on Food Security and Climate Resilience led by the Diocese of Central Tanganyika’s Development Officer.
Over 60 pastors attended the seminar and were able to go back to their parishes to give practical advice on planting new crops that can grow with relatively small amounts of water, such as papaya, tomatoes, aubergines and onions.
In Harare, Zimbabwe, the emphasis is on boosting incomes by making food products for sale. The Poverty and Hope grant will help kick-start a Diocesan bee-keeping project in up to four rural parishes.
Selected parishes will be provided with training in all aspects of bee rearing and harvesting and supplied with all the necessary equipment, including 10 good quality hives per village at a cost of US$25 each.
Once the programme achieves sufficient scale (10+ parishes), the Diocese will invest in a central processing, packaging and marketing operation.
These practical ways to improve livelihoods in increasingly challenging climate conditions have been made possible by the generosity of donor parishes and individuals in Rochester Diocese. Thanks to you all for your continuing support.
Peter Kettle, Poverty and Hope Appeal Coordinator
To find out more about the Poverty and Hope Appeal, and to donate, please visit: www.rochester.anglican.org/everyday-faith/ourfaithinaction/poverty-and-hope-appeal/