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Empowering Communities

Planting Seeds for Strong Communities Program

Developing sustainable solutions for long-term food security and agricultural economic growth in Gokwe North, Zimbabwe.

Facing Socioeconomic challenges in Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, Gokwe North faced food insecurity and a high primary school dropout rate of 40% due to socioeconomic challenges from low agricultural production caused by a severe drought.

Developing home-grown school gardens

The Planting Seeds for Strong Communities initiative, a five-year partnership with ADRA Zimbabwe, developed sustainable solutions for long-term food security and agricultural economic growth.

Increasing school attendance and food security

Since the launch of this program in Zimbabwe, Gokwe North has seen a 35% increase in school attendance, where meals are now provided up to five times a week from home-grown school gardens.

Zimbabwe Celebration Series
Kids eating a meal
One of many programs

Developing Solutions for Long-Term Food Security in Zimbabwe

Real solutions exist to end global hunger — it starts with a meal™. It leads to resilience and bright futures in remote, last-mile communities like Gokwe North, Zimbabwe. This district once had a high primary school dropout rate of 40% due to socioeconomic challenges and faced food insecurity due to a severe drought. Through a five-year partnership with ADRA Zimbabwe and Gokwe North communities, the Planting Seeds for Strong Communities initiative supported long-term food security, increased school attendance and stimulated the local agricultural economy. By working closely with parents, as well as community and school leaders to determine local solutions, this program has outstanding results:

  • Attendance for children has increased up to 35%, and schools are now providing meals for students up to 5 times a week.
  • Schools with water access successfully source food from their gardens, including leafy vegetables, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, beans and onions.
  • Increased access to diverse foods has improved students’ emotional, physical and social well-being and discouraged bullying. 
  • More than 32% of participating households are now able to meet their own food requirements.

What began as an emergency school feeding program evolved into home-grown school gardens and income-generating initiatives — providing an opportunity beyond education and nutrition that also tackles community resilience and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe.

It Starts With a Meal

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Hear from Program Participants

In partnership with ADRA Zimbabwe and local community members in Gokwe North, including parents, local farmers and school leaders, this district now has access to nutritious meals and agriculture opportunities due to the Planting Seeds for Strong Communities program. Watch the videos below to hear from participants in the program, empowering their families and local community.

Godfrey, Deputy Headmaster, Manyuli Primary

As the Deputy Headmaster for Manyuli Primary School in Zimbabwe, Godfrey has seen students and their parents’ lives transform. From local income-generating activities for parents to support their families to home-grown school gardens and a water system providing students with nourishment, the school is now self-reliant. With a significant improvement in agricultural skills, parents are equipped with the skills they need to thrive, children succeed and the entire community benefits from locally grown foods.

Watch the video here

Taurai, Headmaster, Nenyunga Primary

Taurai, Headmaster of the Nenyunga Primary School, which is now considered one of the best schools in the district, says he has seen an 80% increase in student attendance. Since participating in the program, the school has established a home-grown garden where parents volunteer to grow staple crops and vegetables and cook meals for the students. In addition to more children attending school, parents have also significantly benefited from the program because they can provide meals daily to their families.

Watch the video here

Siphiwe, Farmer and Mother

Siphiwe, a farmer and mother, learned how to farm sunflower crops and convert them into cooking oil using an oil-pressing machine in her community in Zimbabwe. She sells the cooking oil and other sunflower plant by-products to the community. With the income, Siphiwe has been adding to her family’s household income, improving their quality of living and empowering other women in her community, too. Siphiwe can now also cover her children’s school tuition fees, where they receive nutritious, locally sourced meals.

Watch the video here

Pedro, Farmer 

Pedro, a farmer, father and program participant, learned the Zai pit farming method. This new farming technique significantly increased his yields, and he shared this gained knowledge with other farmers in Zimbabwe. Since he began using the Zai pit farming method, his crop yields have increased, and he’s become a lead farmer in his community. Other farmers have started visiting his farm to learn from him. He’s using his harvest to provide meals for his family, the local primary school and the community.

Watch the video here

Blyberg and Jacquelyne, Parents and Farmers

Blyberg and Jacquelyne, a married couple and parents of two children, received training on crops and livestock, savings and lending schemes, and farmer market opportunities. With the knowledge Blyberg learned from the project, he now sells produce for a larger profit. Jacquelyne also earns money for her family through developed entrepreneurial skills by participating in a Village Savings and Loan Association group. With their increased income, Jacquelyne and Blyberg are supporting their family’s future. Their children now attend school and receive nutritious meals. 

Watch the video here

Nervous, Husband, Parent and Chigariro One Village Head

As the Chigariro One Village Head in Gokwe North, Zimbabwe, Nervous, a husband, father and farmer, learned Zai pit farming, poultry rearing and profiting techniques on how to scout local markets for selling produce in Zimbabwe. Nervous now produces quality harvests and sells produce at local markets, generating income to feed his family and support the community. He uses the money to not only feed his family, but also to support his community.

Watch the video here