The Dako Garden, a rural farming plot run by a cooperative affected by HIV/AIDS in the Monde area outside Victoria Falls, is going from strength to strength. After struggling with a broken borehole and a locust infestation, the garden now seems to be flourishing as covu (a traditional Zimbabwean green vegetable), recently planted in many of the plot’s beds, is growing well.
This year, ALERT aimed to bring the gardening group together for at least two workshops every quarter. These workshops aim at creating a stronger bond of support between the garden’s members, and seek to educate the group on various topics that affect their everyday lives. Our first workshop featured fellow gardener Rebecca, who runs a successful garden at the Victoria Falls Old People’s Home, who gave tips to the members on how to improve their harvests.
After working alongside the members to tend to the garden, we settled down for our second workshop, which featured ALERT staff and volunteers from our partners at African Impact running a group discussion on positive living and HIV/AIDS. An interactive lesson was prepared that featured a Question and Answer section, which tested the members’ knowledge on the topic of HIV, and a second Mind Map lesson, which had members suggest ways that one can live positively with or without HIV.
Members demonstrated their grasp on the topic of HIV well, giving great answers when it came to how to live positively, such as eating vegetables and getting exercise, although they did have to be prompted about such positive living techniques as ‘avoiding drugs and alcohol’ and ‘seeking support and supporting others’.
Lasting about 45 minutes, the workshop was met with a glowing review from the members in attendance. All agreed that, although they had prior knowledge of HIV/AIDS and how to live positively, it’s important to refresh their knowledge and to remind them of the positive impact of supporting one another.
About this project
The Dako Garden is a subsistence-farming project that assists the families of 38 men and women who are either affected or infected with HIV. This community garden is located in the Monde Village, about 20km from Victoria Falls Town. Not only does food grown provide for the needs of the garden’s members, but excess produce is sold to generate income for them. ALERT is dedicated to ensuring food security for the communities in which we work, and this large farming plot assists the rural community with vegetables and fruits during the long, harsh dry season.