Project Title: Supporting Community Action in Addressing Land Degradation and Income Generation in Mfiri Village
Project Location: Mfiri village in ward 5 of Tongogara RDC
The project of Mfiri ward 5 was mainly targeted at rehabilitation of the catchment area of Mfiri dam by reclaiming gullies and curbing siltation into the water source.
The catchment size is approximately 2000 hectares and yields an average of 70 000 cubic meters of water annually with severe run off. The catchment did not have functional mechanical soil and water conservation structures resulting in excessive gullies forming. The silt yield of the run off is approximately 452 cubic meters (700 tonnes) of silt into the dam and downstream annually.
The dam was the only water source for the community garden and for their livestock. UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme allocated USD50, 000 to Women in Communities (WICO) which is the local NGO working with Mfiri village. In terms of technical support, Mfiri received assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and irrigation department (MoAMID). The Department produced the design of the Gabion Silt trap, conducted training and pegged area for gabion to curb further siltation of the water source.
The Community was taken through Dam maintenance and catchment management training and awareness and 317 people were trained. The whole community of 78 men,203 women and 19 youth who are the beneficiaries embarked on an exercise to build a 140m cross section of silt trap to prevent the gullies growing and reduce silt from getting into the dam by construction of a stone filled gabions wall.
Initial stages of constructing the gabion
Both men and women participated during construction of gabion
Completed gabion to curb silt into the dam
Lack of access to clean water for gardening and domestic purposes
After rehabilitation of catchment of dam through construction of silt trap, WICO realised that the water problem had not totally been eradicated. The women needed to carry the water by head in buckets and in wheel barrows to water their garden. This was very labour intensive as the garden was at a steep ascent and nearly a kilometre away from the dam. Their crop yield remained very low as this process did not allow them to fully utilise the 1.5 ha garden. The women could only produce for subsistence and nothing left for resale. They also did not have water for domestic consumption.
Fetching water from the dam for watering garden by women at Mfiri garden
“We always used to have this problem of fetching water from the dam and carrying it to the garden. It is really steep and easy to fall on the path that comes from the dam to the garden. This was a very tiring and hard thing to do because we could only use buckets and drums to water our crops in the garden and it would take a lot of time. I could only water a small part of my patch in the community garden because of having to go to the dam many times. These days, the weather is too hot and the rains come late. Some of the things I planted did not grow very well because the water we were fetching from the dam with our buckets was not enough,” said Mrs. V Mkandabvute a member of the community garden.
78 year 0ld Mrs Mugwagwa also said,” Now I can work in the garden happily because the water is coming from the tap and I can even grow more vegetables and other crops because it is easy to get the water.
The taps and water tank in the garden also mean that I don’t have to spend half the day fetching and watering my plants. I now have more time to spend around the house, doing things that help me and my grandchildren and working with the other women in my community. I also do not have to depend too much on the rains to plant my crops and vegetables that I use in cooking and selling. This is very good for me and I am happy about it. I now hope that as women who have been helped by WICO and the other community members in putting the tap, tank and water pump close to us, that we will work together to look after these things so that even our children will be able to grow their own food and sell it in this same garden project.”
Through the funding support from GEFSGP and facilitation by WICO, the District development Fund (DDF) drilled and installed a solar powered borehole and reticulation pipes into the garden. The women now no longer have to carry water from the dam as it is now piped into the garden. The water is clean and is now suitable for drinking and other domestic purposes thereby reducing the cases of water borne diseases. The project will also help in increasing the yield of the garden and improve food security situation. Women will be able to increase production for sale which will in turn increase their income from $3, 00/month to $50, 00/ month.
Water tank and one of the taps in the garden
Women beneficiaries in the garden